st francis statue
St. Francis Statue 

The ribbon was ceremoniously cut for the recently renovated Patricia Gioia Hall on the day of Siena's 85th birthday celebration. The final piece, though, was added on October 28, when St. Francis of Assisi was installed in front of the Welcome Center, leading all visitors in the Franciscan tradition.  

An eight-foot-tall, one-of-a-kind statue of St. Francis is now Leading the Way toward the Admissions building. Designed by John Collier, renowned internationally for his inspirational work that can often be found in and around churches, a younger St. Francis is walking in the footsteps of Jesus, a symbolic invitation for future Saints. 

 "We wanted a youthful and joyful Francis to relate to those arriving on our campus, yet reflect the life he chose to live as a person who embraced poverty and followed in Christ's footsteps. Finally, we wanted the sculpture to engage people on their own journey. This is a sculpture that one should interact with. The sculpture's placement, on the main path leading from the Patricia Gioia Hall parking lot to the front door, and its placement facing the building, is intended to invite all who arrive on campus to join him on the journey."

Ned Jones, vice president for Enrollment and Marketing

Collier, who makes his home in Texas, was chosen as the sculptor because of his past work depicting movement in his subjects, inviting the onlooker to be inspired.

"I was pleased with John's willingness to work with us to design artwork that would be engaging with young adults and welcoming to the Franciscan tradition. As time progresses, I look forward to seeing Francis take on his own life on campus, especially blending in with different seasons."

Fr. Mark Reamer '83, O.F.M., vice president for Mission

A planned unveiling of the statue was canceled when the artist was taken to the hospital for emergency surgery (he has since recovered from an appendectomy). The Siena community was invited to the statue for a special blessing, part of a larger Thanksgiving celebration, on November 22. 

"The idea for my sculpture came from an old story about St. Francis. In a dream, a Franciscan sees Jesus walk in the doors of a church and down the aisle. Everywhere he stopped, he left a footprint.

Later, he saw how many Franciscans came in the church and unsuccessfully tried to walk where Jesus walked. Lastly, Francis came in. He stepped right in the center of every footprint.

My sculpture shows Francis stepping into Christ's footprints. I thought others at Siena would like to do the same thing."

John Collier, St. Francis statue sculptor

From a selected group of more than 30 artists, John Collier was chosen as one of the sculptors for the Catholic Memorial at Ground Zero. His four sculptures, representing the patron saints of police officers, firefighters, and workers, along with St. Mary Magdalene, first witness to the Resurrection, along with the chapel design team and the other chosen artists received the Optimé Award and were dedicated by Cardinal Egan in May 2005 in memory of those who died on 9/11/01 and of those who took part in the rescue effort.