Update from Mike Fenn, Executive Director, Mt. Irenaeus

About a year and a half ago, we recognized it was time for us to begin a strategic planning cycle to help direct the future of the Mountain. We wanted to take a different approach this time, as we have gone through different iterations over the years. We felt it was a critical time to be deliberative with this cycle and to gain an understanding of our friends’ perspectives about the Mountain life.

We hired Anthony Billoni, a creative problem-solving consultant to take us through a process. He interviewed 40 friends  – board members, friars, major donors and others about the Mountain. We conducted focus groups with students on campus to gain their feedback as well. We also conducted a survey that had over 150 responses. In total, we spoke to over 200 people to get a true sense of where the Mountain is in people’s lives right now. 

This led us to a brainstorming session that took place in mid-September. From that weekend we arrived at six major themes as to where we need to focus our efforts for the future of the Mountain. All of them are under an umbrella question that was central to this plan: Who will live out the Life and Ministry of the Mountain in the future; how will they live here and what will they do? 

  • Reach out to worldwide and U.S. Franciscan leadership about developing the life and formation at the Mountain
  • Seek others and develop a diverse community to live at the Mountain
  • Ensure co-ministry with St. Bonaventure helps foster a transformational student experience.
  • Expand the footprint of the Mountain beyond the Mountain 
  • Design and develop a physical master plan to visualize the future of the Mountain
  • Create a comprehensive advancement plan

While the results were very exciting, there weren’t many surprises. Fr. Dan throughout the process mentioned how we’ve been speaking about many of these issues for some time. What we know from past exercises is that success will come not from a few of us trying to make this happen, but from many friends who care to see this life and ministry continue to grow and evolve. 

For those who participated in the interviews or the surveys, as well as participated in the weekend, we thank you. If you have an interest in helping us with any of the subjects above, please reach out to me or any of the brothers!