A “family photo” of FMS staff, board of directors (FMS returned missioners among them), and house managers.

If one could draw a family tree of FMS, you would see an amazing web of connections of hardworking and dedicated people living around the world, standing up for global peace and justice. Over the last two months, we’ve been able to celebrate the FMS family, the connections and relationships we’ve fostered in striving to build community and justice worldwide.

Gathering around the table to make a toast to the efforts and commitment of our board and staff.

In early February, we welcomed the Franciscan Mission Service board of directors to Casa San Salvador. On the Friday night that they arrived, everyone (staff, board, and house managers included) gathered around the table to share dinner and toast to the new horizons for FMS. It was a glimpse of the Franciscan Service Family, brought to the table by common values and the desire to further the global vision of FMS. While our board members include FMS returned missioners (Fr. George Corrigan, OFM; Patrick O’Neill; and Megeen White Testa), we are also blessed to have representation from other communities which includes Pax Christi (Jack McHale), Our Lady Queen of Peace (Evelyn Mercantini), Franciscan Sisters of Allegany (Sr. Cathy Cahill, OSF), and the OFM Conventuals (Fr. Martin Day. OFM Conv.). We are ever grateful to have these committed individuals as part of the FMS family.

In the same month, we also introduced a group of mission volunteers to FMS through a re-entry retreat planned and led by two FMS returned missioners Rhegan Hyypio and Beth Riehle. The mission volunteers, who had just completed two and half years of service in Honduras, were part of an organization called Farm of the Child. The organization leaders had learned about FMS through our 20th anniversary event and requested that FMS lead a re-entry retreat for the volunteers. FMS agreed and seven returned volunteers participated in the program.

Rhegan Hyypio and Beth Riehle led a re-entry retreat for the Farm of the Child volunteers who spent 2 1/2 years serving orphaned and abandoned children in Honduras.

One of these individuals, Ryan Murphy, was able to network through FMS to connect with the Columban Center of Advocacy and Outreach. Ryan now lives with FMS’s long-term volunteer community while advocating for immigration rights in Washington, D.C.

“I truly believe that is was a gift of God that I came on the FMS re-entry retreat,” said Ryan. “I was not intending to participate, but it allowed me to find closure and to transform my bonds with my fellow missioners to an American setting.” Click here to read Ryan’s thoughts about working with the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach.

The final Sunday for the board meeting at FMS was also the final day of the re-entry retreat for the Farm of the Child. Fr. Joe Nangle, OFM was there to celebrate mass for everyone present and we gathered for breakfast afterwards. It was great time to recognize the testament of FMS, but also the people who have shared in this through their faith-based efforts to create positive change in the world.