ALLEGANY, N.Y. — Bradford, Pa., native the Rev. Dominic Monti, OFM, a member of Holy Name Province, the largest community of Franciscan friars in the United States, is celebrating 50 years as a friar.
Monti and 18 other Franciscan friars marking milestones were honored at a Mass on Wednesday in New York City, where he lived for nine years.
Currently stationed at St. Bonaventure, Monti is known across the globe as an expert historian. He has dedicated most of his life to educating both religious and laypeople, and his students are serving the church around the world.
Today, he works as a distinguished professor of Franciscan studies at St. Bonaventure, where he first felt called to become a friar. After his sophomore year at St. Bonaventure, Monti enrolled in 1963 at the province’s minor seminary in Callicoon, N.Y. He was received into the Franciscan Order one year later and made his first vows in 1965. As a student friar, he received a bachelor of sacred theology from the Catholic University of America in Washington, before he professed final vows in 1969. He earned a master’s in sacred theology in 1971 from Union Theological Seminary in New York City before he was ordained to the priesthood that year.
After ordination, Monti spent the summer preaching and hearing confessions at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City before being assigned to teach at Christ the King Seminary in Allegany. He moved to Chicago in 1973 to being working on a doctorate with a concentration in the history of Christianity from the University of Chicago, and completed the degree in 1979.
For the next 23 years, Monti taught church history at the Washington Theological Union, also serving as department head during that time.
“I enjoyed all of my assignments in different ways, but I think I enjoyed my years at the Union best because I was doing what I had trained to do,” he said. “I was helping prepare laypeople, as well as men and women in different religious orders, for ministry in the church. I enjoyed that very much.”
Since 1986, Monti has also taught a course on Franciscan history during the summer at the Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University, instructing men and women in training for religious life.
In 2002, he was elected to Holy Name Province’s Provincial Council. That same year, he returned to St. Bonaventure to teach in the theology department, though he was asked to serve in an unexpected role in 2003, when the university’s basketball scandal erupted. Monti was appointed interim president and served for 15 months. In his bio in the SBU Archives, the author wrote that Monti “was able to restore faith and confidence in the university through his strong and humble leadership.”
After Sr. Margaret Carney, OSF, was inaugurated as president in 2004, Monti was asked to become chair of the theology department. He continued to teach at St. Bonaventure until he was elected provincial vicar, or vice president, in 2005. He moved to the province’s headquarters in New York City to complete his term. During this time, he served the Franciscan Order in a variety of ways, including as chair of the secretaries of formation for the English-speaking Conference and the Commission on the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition, and as a board member of the American Academy of Franciscan History.
From 1997 to 2005, he served as the spiritual assistant for the U.S. territory of the Missionaries of the Kingship of Christ. He resumed this role last summer, when he returned to St. Bonaventure after his term as provincial vicar ended.
A widely respected historian, Monti has written numerous articles, and provided translations for two volumes of the “Works of St. Bonaventure” series published by the Franciscan Institute. To celebrate the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Franciscan Order in 2009, Monti wrote “Francis and His Brothers,” a popular history of the Order.