Last week we welcomed a fourth domestic volunteer and third member of the communications team. 

Michael Carlson had been warned that there is nowhere he could go where God wouldn’t already be waiting.

When he went to Bolivia, he found out just how true that is. Michael first met Franciscan Mission Service in Cochabama as a Jesuit novice where he studied Spanish at Maryknoll Language Institute and also served at Casa Nazareth, a boys orphanage.

Alongside Franciscan Missioners in both study and service, the passion and commitment of such laypeople to mission clearly signified God’s grace to him. Moreover, the Bolivianos he lived with, learned from, and befriended reflected God’s presence in a way that helped eventually lead him closer to the aims of Franciscan Mission Service.

His new lay involvement in the Franciscan charism as a domestic lay volunteer is a graced continuation of opportunities God has provided him to facilitate his desire to imitate Christ in service and prayer. After graduating from Loyola University Chicago majoring in English literature and theology, he joined Lasallian Volunteers and lived in a Christian Brothers community while serving at Christian Brothers Spiritual Center in Philadelphia, Penn.

He also worked at West Catholic High School as an RCIA instructor, freshmen religion teacher, and freshmen advisor. He then taught at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Baltimore, Md., as a freshmen English teacher. While living in Baltimore, he helped found Jubilee House, a faith-based residential community.

He is humbled to now serve the current and returned missioners and help tell their stories to FMS supporters. For Michael, community, service, and faith are worth significantly more than the sum of their parts; one component’s exclusion is tantamount to the remaining components’ individual diminishment.

Living with Christian Brothers, Lasallian Volunteers, Jesuits, and inspired laypeople have made this very evident to him. After teaching high school freshmen that good writing takes detailed work and numerous edits, he is looking forward professionally to practicing that and striving for the same high standards he expected from his students.

In addition to this, he hopes to be enriched by Franciscan spirituality while contributing his own faith and sharing his love of philosophy, American literature, varied music genres, film, and Cardinals baseball with his community. Franciscan Mission Service’s unique incorporation of residential community living and service appeals to his eagerness to live his faith while sharing the journey with others.

We are excited to have someone with Michael’s mix of experience and interests join our community and office.

Fun Fact: “A personal interest is esoteric and hermetic spirituality and essentially how the human desire to worship is innate in our collective unconscious.”

Favorite Saint: “I’m going to subvert the question and respond by saying that I have a devotion to the Sacred Heart. My own faith is inspired by affective experiences and the Sacred Heart espouses how God’s love for us has no bounds in its total rawness and desire to draw us closer through God’s continuing incarnation in the Eucharist.”