A Franciscan friar who is in regular contact with Pope Francis will join the Siena College community in January to help lead environmental sustainability efforts related to a Vatican initiative.

During a November visit to campus, Br. Michael Perry blessed the new statue of St. Francis and spoke about his recent conversation with Pope Francis. He also announced that he has chosen Siena as the site of a new initiative in support of the 2015 papal encyclical Laudato Si’ (“Praised be”), the comprehensive document on environmentalism and ethics. Br. Michael will begin his residency at Siena in January. 

Br. Michael recently completed his service as Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, which made him the 120th successor of St. Francis of Assisi. He was Siena’s Commencement speaker in May 2022.

Laudato Si’ explores the moral reasoning related to human rights, natural law, character, justice, and consequences, all supported by the twin pillars of human dignity and the common good.

“We’re looking forward to learning more about how Br. Perry's initiatives can prepare future leaders and elevate the sustainability work that is already ongoing on campus, such as the efforts of the Sustainability Steering Committee and its Green Revolving Fund,” said Katherine L. Meierdiercks, Ph.D., associate professor and department chair of Environmental Studies and Sciences. “Sustainability requires an interdisciplinary understanding of environmental problems, including social and economic implications, and a diversified approach to developing and implementing solutions.”