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Year: 2012

Encountering God in the Face of Missioners

While our missioners encounter God in those we serve, we often find ourselves experiencing God through our missioners themselves. Development Director Br. Paul O’Keeffe, OFM, shares how our missioners inspire him: Br. Paul O’Keeffe, OFM, with some of our missioners in Bolivia: Kitzi Hendricks, Lynn Myrick and Joel Vaughn “My ministry with Franciscan Mission Service…

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Encountering God in Godparents

On this Feast of the Holy Family, former domestic volunteer Christine Landau reflects on how she’s encountered God through her godparents.  This summer, I had the chance to visit my godparents, whom I hadn’t seen for about fifteen years. They have always watched over me – we send each other cards at Christmas, and they…

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Encountering God in Our Supporters

Our returned missioners commit to sharing their mission experiences with North Americans. This helps spread the Franciscan charism as well as bring awareness to issues faced by the poor abroad. One of our returned missioners who regularly speaks for FMS is Doug Garofalo, who shares with us today how he has encountered God in those…

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Encountering God in the Innocents

On this Feast of the Holy Innocents, we remember the small children killed by Herod after the birth of Jesus. In more recent years, there are been so many innocent lives that have been lost through violence, from the recent 26 victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., to the 200,000 victims of…

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Encountering God in Onions

During their three months of formation, missioners-in-training spend one morning a week serving in the Washington, D.C. community. Annemarie Barrett of Mission Class 28 reflects on how she encountered God while volunteering at the Father McKenna Center this fall. to On January 16, Annemarie will leave for Bolivia to begin her two years of mission…

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Encountering God in Difficult Times

 “The Stoning of St Stephen” by Pietro di Cortona  Today is the Feast of St. Stephen, who as the first martyr is an example of total trust and forgiving love. His story can be found in the Acts in which he gave a speech and the crowd responded by wanting to stone him: “But [Stephen], filled…

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Merry Christmas!

The FMS staff: (front) Mariam Mitry, Anna Robinson, Naomi Amsberry, (back) Chelsea Tanous, Br. Paul O’Keeffe, Kim Smolik and Bridget Higginbotham Merry Christmas from the Franciscan Mission Service staff in Washington, D.C.! This Advent, we’ve been sharing stories of encountering God this year in our families, friends, strangers and those whom we serve. But there is…

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Encountering God in Community

I encountered God this year in the warmth with which the community I have here has continually expressed to me, comforting me in times of sadness, laughing with me, and sharing themselves and their cariño (affection) for me in so many ways.  Sincere relationships, it is there that I experience God´s acceptance, love and beauty.…

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Encountering God in the Kitchen

Family and friends are gathering around tables these next few days to share meals and celebrate Christmas. Executive Director Kim Smolik reflects on how she has encountered God while preparing for such occasions. I love to cook. Although I have had no formal training, it is one of the activities that gives me the greatest…

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Encountering God in the Goodness of Others

Cecilia and Tim Marcy spent the last three years serving at a hospice and clinic for people with AIDS. Today, Cecilia shares with us the story of one patient through whom she encountered God this year.  There was a patient at the St. Francis Care Center who had AIDS and cancer. She was a wonderful…

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Encountering God in Hindsight

“Hindsight is 20/20” Today’s reflection on encountering God comes from our the manager of our hospitality house, Danielle Walsh. When I think about how I’ve seen God this year, I think of the old cliché about hindsight being 20/20. 2012 has been a busy year and I have to admit that, for me, busyness and…

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Francsican Friday: Humbleness of the Incarnation and the Goodness of God

In the last week of Advent the readings turn to the theme of the coming of the Lord. Readings from the Old Testament remind us of the promises of God that are being fulfilled, and the New Testament readings speak to us of the lives of those who took part in the drama of the…

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Encountering God in Your Eyes

Hermana Chelo and missioner Kitzi Hendricks  When our lay missioners serve abroad, they work alongside religious in solidarity with the poor. Mission Kitzi Hendricks shares a recent conversation she had with a sister at her service site, Madre de Dios, a shelter for abandoned and abused girls:Hermana Chelo is a little Spanish nun who has…

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Encountering God in Children

Domestic Volunteers Naomi Amsberry and Anna Robinson have spent their Wednesday afternoons at an after-school program for immigrant families.  Today they share how they’ve found God in the midst of D.C.’s lower-income youth. “For the last several months, I have been volunteering at an after school program with Mary House for children ages pre-K through…

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Encountering God in Family and Compassion

Kent Ferris, OFS On this International Migrants Day, our story of encountering God comes from our friend Kent Ferris, OFS.  Kent supervises the Immigration Office in his role as the Director of Social Action for Catholic Charities, Diocese of Davenport as well as chairs the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission for the National…

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Encountering God in Prison

Missioner Lynn Myrick reflects on a time she and her husband, Joel Vaughn, were invited to an event at the El Abra, the maximum security prison for men, one of the couple’s ministry sites in Cochabamba, Bolivia. “Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of…

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Encountering God in Joy

Happy Gaudete Sunday! As we light the pink candle on our Advent wreath today, we are filled with joy at the coming of Jesus. It is this joy that we are called to share with others so that they might see and encounter God through us. Rodger, a catechist who works with missioner Catherine Giller…

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Encountering God Through Openness

Sr. Cathy Cahill, OSF Today’s Advent story of encountering God from Sr. Cathy Cahill, OSF, an FMS board member and Franciscan Sister of Allegeny. Sr. Cathy lives in Tampa, Fla. and leads retreats at the Franciscan Center. Encountering God is a daily occurrence when I open myself to the experiences of each new day. That…

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Franciscan Friday: Water and Advent

Kedem Waterfall, Judean Desert, Israel (Wikicommons). Those who live in the Middle East know the suffering associated with life in the desert. Their very existence depends on the oftentimes scarce supply of water. In the beginning of the second week of Advent Isaiah bases one of his lessons on this reality. In Chapter 35 he…

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Encountering God in the Wisdom of Others

Program associate and domestic volunteer Chelsea Tanous spends Wednesday afternoons at the Gift of Peace House, a hospice care center run by the Missionaries of Charity. Today Chelsea shares how one resident helps her encounter God through weekly lessons. Chelsea  with a resident of the Gift of Peace House From the the importance of confession…

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Encountering God Through Our Lady of Guadalupe

On this Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, new missioner Jeff Sved remembers encountering God during his time in Hispanic ministry with Franciscan Volunteer Ministry last year. The rain was pounding outside as my friend Carlos and I sat in the back of the van listening to Queen. We waited with a mixture of excitement,…

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Encountering God in a Text Message

Photo by Ian Iott Board member Jack McHale shares how he encountered God in a text message. I was in church earlier this fall when my cell phone buzzed. It was a text from my friend who works at a hospital. Her text read as follows: “My sweet little boy earned his angel wings. He…

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Encountering God Through Memories

Today’s encounter with God comes from Franciscan Mission Service’s associate director Mariam Mitry. Before joining FMS in August 2009, Mariam spent eight months on mission in Lusaka, Zambia with the Coptic Orthodox Church. Lee recommends the chapter titled “Success.” One of our returned missioners, Lee Lechtenberg, recently sent us a chapter from Fr. Gregory Boyle, SJ’s book…

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Encountering God in Faith

  Here is what our friend Fr. Jim Gardiner, SA had to say about where he encountered God this year: This time last year, if I had been asked about a Year of Faith, I would have done my best to discourage it. We’d had the Year of Paul, the U.N. had the Year of…

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Encountering God in Those Back Home

While we all wait and prepare for the coming of Christ this Advent season, the families of Lay Mission Class 25 have even more for which to prepare. Having completed their mission terms abroad, Class 25 is returning to the U.S. this season. They will begin their returned mission to North America by celebrating the…

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Franciscan Friday: Nurturing The Gifts From God

1896 etching by William Strutt On Tuesday of the first week of Advent, Isaiah writes in chapter 11 about how God can foster life in situations where death seemingly reigns. He says that: “On that day a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.” In this…

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Encountering God on the Road

Our Advent quest for stories of encountering God went beyond our missioners and staff. Today’s encounter comes from our friend Genevieve Mougey, the associate director of the United States Catholic Mission Association. I have encountered God in random, strange, familiar and comforting places in the last year. God has been present to me in the…

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Encountering God in the Human Family

Our domestic volunteers commit a year of serving full time in our office supporting our organization in areas such as communications, development and programming. But on Wednesday afternoons, the domestic volunteers go out and serve directly in the community. Today’s Advent story of encountering God comes from domestic volunteer and communications coordinator Bridget Higginbotham who…

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Encountering God in Our Hearts

Today, Kitzi Hendricks shares the story of one of the girls she serves in Cochabamba, Bolivia at the Madre de Dios shelter for girls who have been abused or abandonded. Martha is one of the adolescent girls I have been working with at Madre de Dios since she arrived at the shelter in March. When…

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Encountering God in Heartbreak

This Advent, we reached out to our network and asked, “Where did you encounter God this year?” Today’s response comes from Megeen Testa White, a board member who was one of  our very first missioners back in 1991 to 1993 when she served in Zimbabwe. Megeen is now a nurse and lives in Silver Spring,…

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Come, Journey in Love This Advent

This first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of a journey. Around the world, Catholics joyfully welcome a new Church year and start to ready ourselves for the coming of Christ’s birth. And here in Washington, D.C., Franciscan Mission Service comissions our new class of lay missioners. We mark the end of Annemarie Barrett and Jeff Sved’s three-month…

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The Experience of Working with People with AIDS

In honor of World AIDS Day, missioner Cecilia Marcy shares a bit about the HIV/AIDS situation in Johannesburg, South Africa where she serves as a nurse at the St. Francis Care Center. Cecilia and her husband Tim have served in South Africa for three years. The St. Francis Care Center in South Africa Back in July,…

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Franciscan Fridays: God Give Us Courage This Advent

Ring in the new Church year and prepare for Christmas with Fr. Joe Rozansky’s four-part Franciscan Friday series on Advent: Photo by Per Ola Weiberg The Advent readings are beautiful invitations to walk in the ways of the Lord. The reading from Isaiah for the first Monday of Advent speaks about the instruction that the…

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The Christmas Challenge: Getting Creative and Simplifying

Our missioner Kitzi Hendricks shares how she challenged herself in her Christmas preparations and hopes you’ll do the same. As the Christmas season approaches, I find myself contemplating the best way to prepare myself for it during my first year on mission. I have found myself turned a little bit upside down without the sounds, the…

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Mission Monday: Prayer as a Space for Gratitude

Photo from flickr, KateWares How does gratitude open my heart? While at Loyola University Chicago, learning about Ignatian Spirituality, I was introduced to the examen as a form of prayer. Recently, I have returned to this practice. In our sessions on contemplative prayer with Patience Robbins, we have been developing a deeper understanding of prayer.…

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Christmas without Consumerism: The Wise Women of Christmas

For the second post of this series, Fr. David B. Couturier, OFM Cap. reminds us that those gifts we’re exchanging on Christmas do not in fact come magically on a red sleigh, hand-crafted by elves.  Before you buy that gift, take a moment to think about the worker who made it. Several years ago, I…

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Discernment Part 2: Considering Mission

Last week we talked about how discernment allows you to more fully focus on, and recognize, God’s voice in your life.  If you’re considering going on long-term international mission or even a full-time volunteer program in your own country, it’s important to spend time discerning where and how you’re called to serve. Discernment questions for…

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Mission Monday: What it means to be without power.

As Superstorm Sandy raged and roared outside, missioner candidate Jeff Sved found that going without electricity would be very similar to his adjustment to a new culture and a new lifestyle. What does a week without electricity mean for a group of missioners-in-training?A little extra challenge. And a whole lot more to reflect on… For…

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Christmas without Consumerism: Unwrapping some Franciscan Thoughts

Just in time for the holidays, Fr. David B. Couturier, OFM Cap., helps us focus on the reason for the season with a two-part Franciscan Friday series on having a Christmas without consumerism. Christmas is a time for tradition and rituals. Unfortunately, many of the customs we have been developing lately are stressful and inordinately…

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Discernment Part 1: Going Through Changes

 From the turning colors of leaves to the fluctuating temperatures, fall is a season of change. If this season you’re considering making a change in your life – whether it’s switching careers, professing a vocation, going on mission or doing a volunteer year – its important to spend time in discernment. Discernment allows you to…

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Mission Monday: Insights on Interreligious Dialogue (Part 2)

Friday we shared the first half of Br. John Kiesler, OFM’s recent workshop from the United States Catholic Mission Association conference in Los Angeles on interreligious dialogue.  Today we finish his talk on how St. Francis of Assisi’s encounter with the sultan can provide us with insight today. How can Francis’ encounter with the sultan…

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Franciscan Friday: Insights on Interreligious Dialogue

At the recent United States Catholic Mission Association conference in Los Angeles on interreligious dialogue, Br. John Kiesler, OFM, presented a workshop on what insights we can draw from St. Francis’ encounter with the sultan.  Today we share the first of two parts of Br. John’s workshop. Francis Before the Sultan by Giotto (image in…

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Recommended Reads – Francis of Assisi: A Model for Human Liberation

Last week candidate Jeff Sved shared his book recommendation from formation.  This week Annemarie Barrett recommends a book that began with a question, “who is St. Francis?” Coming into formation Annemarie did not know a whole lot about this beloved saint.  She knew he started the Franciscan order and that he lived in Italy.  Beyond…

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Mission Monday: About A Week Back…

We were touched by Missioner Joel’s latest blog post.  A reminder of why working for peace is so important – it won’t haunt you later. Photo by Flickr user Jayel Aheram In Santa Vera Cruz I share some time with people who are terminally ill and living at a hospice operated by the Missionary Sisters…

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Franciscan Friday: It’s All About the Hair

As No-Shave November got underway yesterday, Domestic Volunteer Anna Robinson reflected on the connection between Franciscans and the statement of hair, or lack there of. Photo of monks with tonsures taken by Flickr user waldopics November 1st began a month of many well known U.S. holidays: All Saint’s Day, Thanksgiving, plus all the awareness campaigns…

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Recommended Reads: “Open Veins of Latin America”

Before the formation classes arrive for their fall training, they receive a book list of titles related to their sessions.  We asked the candidates what books they’ve enjoyed and would recommend to others who would like to read about the Franciscan charism, social justice issues, and country studies. How well do you know your American history?  Like…

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Mission Monday: Let’s Talk About Nonviolence

This past week the formation class attended a session on nonviolence, a subject that candidate Annemarie is very passionate about.  For this Mission Monday post she shares her reflection on the training and the connections she had made through her spiritual journey.  Annemarie (left) at anti-war rally in Oct. 2010. Recently, as a part…

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Franciscan Friday: St. Francis of Assisi – The Young Man

After writing Getting To Know the “Real” St. Francis of Assisi, Fr. George Corrigan, OFM. continues to bring to light the kind of person St. Francis was in context of his time, his upbringing, and his faith. St. Francis of Assisi – by dawnzy58 Even in Francis’ day Assisi was a small town, but it…

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Mission Monday: The Act of Grounding

We all can use a check on our humility every now and then. But what does it really mean to be humble? Missioner Candidate Jeff Sved shares his reflection on this topic that was discussed on this past week’s formation retreat. Photo by Ian W Scott I wish there was an embarrassing story of some…

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World Mission Sunday!

We would like to bring awareness to the multitude of dedicated people living out a call to service abroad on mission. These individuals work hard with willing hands and listening hearts to bring God’s light and love to international communities. Please keep our missioners in Bolivia, Kenya, and South Africa in your prayers.  The work…

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