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In the spirit of St. Francis and newly elected Pope Francis — both advocates for social justice and in defense of the disadvantaged — the Franciscan Spirituality Center will present “Intentional Living: A Pathway to Peace” on May 3 and 4.

The conference aims to inspire a spirit of peace and justice through St. Francis’ tradition of simplicity, humility and embracing service. Speakers include Marie Dennis, co-president of Pax Christi International, who will share personal stories of discovering and promoting peace around the world.

Starting at 5 p.m. May 3, David Vásquez from Luther College will explore biblical stories about people “on the move” after the immigration raid in Postville, Iowa, in 2008. FSPA Affiliate Marilyn Pedretti will share her need to discern Gospel living serving the poor and homeless. Mike Desmond will reflect on the realities of mental illness and how “it touches all races and social classes.” Zach Johnson will offer his perspective on why he chose a path of intentional poverty, a core Franciscan value, to manifest peace in his life and community.

Concluding at 8:30 p.m. in San Damiano Chapel at Viterbo University, two musicians from Bread for the Journey, Tom Witt and Mary Preus, will lead a contemplative prayer service of music and meditation in the spirit of the Taize community.

On May 4 at the Lunda Center, keynote speaker Dennis will share her personal journey, as a young wife and mother and co-founding the Assisi Community in Washington, D.C.

The conference costs $120 for the full program, $75 for Saturday only and $50 for Friday. Those who register before April 15 can save 20 percent. Visit to register or for more information. Scholarships are available; inquire by calling 608-791-5295.

The Franciscan Spirituality Center is located at 920 Market St. and is a sponsored ministry of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.

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