This week we welcomed the newest member of the Franciscan Mission Service team: Natalie Helfrick, program coordinator!
With her passion and experience with the ministry of presence, we are confident in Natalie’s ability to journey with our long-term overseas missioners from discernment through formation, service abroad, and re-entry. She will also be a great resource to our domestic volunteers and an asset to our office.
Before coming to Washington, D.C., Natalie spent a year-and-a-half in Bangkok, Thailand, with Heart’s Home offering friendship as a sign of hope to those experiencing isolation and desperation. Each day Natalie and her community members would open their home up as a refuge for children to play. In the afternoons, the community took turns visiting those in the neighborhood who were suffering or alone, especially those who were elderly or had disabilities. They also ministered weekly in the immigration prison and in the convalescent ward of a local hospital.
She found this call to the “charism of compassion” and friendship for those who are suffering while bringing communion to the sick and homebound through Nativity Catholic Church in Indianapolis. As an apprentice of University of Notre Dame’s Echo program, Natalie received her master’s in theology while working in different parish ministries at Nativity including RCIA, children’s sacramental prep, and high school formation and youth group.
“I’m impressed by FMS’ well-rounded formation program and resonate deeply with its emphasis on the ministry of presence. I believe that both are essential to any effective missionary service,” Natalie says, “I look forward to the privilege of walking with our missioners as they live and unpack the stories they become a part of abroad. I know I’ll find great joy in discovering with them the mystery of Christ’s love among us when we seek His peace, justice, and mercy.”
A little more on Natalie…
Home State: California
Alma Mater: Notre Dame (bachelor’s and master’s)
Fun Fact: “I enjoyed a stint as my college dorm mascot– The Purple Weasel”
Favorite Saint: Blessed John XXIII
P.S. – Today Natalie heads to Pittsburgh, Penn., to represent us at the Franciscan Federation Conference. If you’re attending too, stop by the Franciscan Mission Service table and say “hi!”