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Year: 2019

Advent Day 25: Rejoice

 Editor’s note: DCSC volunteer Matthew Fichter concludes our Advent blog series with a reflection on the word “rejoice”.  Merry Christmas!  At the mention of the word “rejoice” during this Advent season, the commonly played Christmas hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” comes most readily to mind.  The lyrics “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee,…

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Advent Day 24: Gather

Editor’s note: Executive Director Elizabeth Hughes uses imaginative prayer to reflect upon the Nativity and shares her experience of modern nativities along the border between Mexico and the United States. Christmas Eve.  Mary and Joseph are traveling to Jerusalem for the census.  A grumpy innkeeper harshly asserts that there is no room at the inn,…

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Advent Day 23: Reflect

Editor’s note: Jeff Sved, FMS returned missioner and board member offers an Advent reflection on the word ‘reflect’.  What we reflect on is ultimately what we reflect to others.  As Sister Clare encouraged Agnes of Prague in her second letter, we are called to  “Gaze upon Christ, Consider Christ, Contemplate Christ, and to Imitate Christ”.…

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Advent Day 22: Call

Editor’s note: Megan Hamilton reflects on a return visit to Shkoder, the city she volunteered in while in the Peace Corps (Albania 2015-2017).  A Balkan Call to a Caribbean Mission In English she is Shkoder. But if you come to know her, if she becomes yours, in Albanian, she is Shkodra, as she will always…

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Advent Day 21: Birth

Editor’s note: Former DCSC volunteer Alessia Catena celebrates day 21 of Advent with a reflection on the word ‘birth’.  I have always struggled with Advent—the idea of waiting for the birth of Christ and preparing our hearts for His arrival seemed a little fictitious. Like the characters in a Nativity play, I’ve always felt like I…

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Advent Day 20: Strengthen

Editor’s note: Becky Kreidler will be embarking on mission to Bolivia in 2020 after returning home from mission in Guatemala due to a knee injury. Becky offers us an Advent reflection on the strength she’s encountered during her time in formation with FMS and the ways it’s helped prepare her for this next journey.  When…

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Advent Day 19: Light

Editor’s note: FMS Missioner SarahJane Cauzillo currently serving in Cochabamba, Bolivia offers an Advent reflection ‘light’.  It is the rainy season here in Bolivia. In just a moment, a clear blue sky can be completely transformed as the dark clouds come rolling over the mountaintops. The sun can be covered in an instant as the…

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Advent Day 18: Growth

Editor’s note: DCSC Volunteer Hannah Puvalowski reflects on ‘growth’ through prayer and personal experiences.  The sun, flowers, and the renowned DC cherry blossom trees all so vibrantly express growth. However, in the current season of winter, a season characterized by dark and cold days, it is easy to feel stuck and not connected to God.…

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Advent Day 17: Speak

Editor’s note: FMS missioner Anna Metzger reflects on the ways the Holy Spirit speaks to us throughout the Christmas Season.  Walking around town during the Holiday season, we see many signs and hear countless cheerful remarks.  When shopping in stores, you’ll read signs that say “O Holy Night,” “Santa is Coming to Town,” “Jesus is…

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Advent Day 16: Celebrate

Editor’s note: Deanna Wolf, friend to former staff member Bridget Higginbotham and previous casa resident and volunteer for the Columban Center for Outreach and Advocacy offers an Advent reflection on the word ‘celebrate’.  Celebrate “Happy Birthday!” they sing through the flickering of candles, the smell of sugar on the over-iced cake lacing the air.  “Cheers!”…

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Advent Day 15: Love

A Love Letter For A Dark Night My Beloved Child, Thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing your deepest thoughts and emotions with me. I hope that by verbalizing and naming them that they gave you a sense of liberation. Being true to your own feelings and honoring them will allow you to discover…

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Advent Day 14: Silence

Editor’s note: Former DCSC volunteer, Kathleen Strycula, offers a reflection on ‘silence’ for day 14 of the Advent season.  I turn off the car radio, pause the music, and close the long queue of podcasts I have lined up for listening. Silence envelops the car as I make my morning drive into work. By turns…

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Advent Day 13: Embrace

Editor’s note: Former DCSC volunteer, Amy Brandt, reflects on the many different parts of her life waiting to be ’embraced’ including a rendition of St. Francis’ Canticle of the Sun.  I am not yet the person I want to be. After responding to something in a snarky way, or wasting hours binge watching Netflix, that…

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Advent Day 12: Peace

Editor’s note: DCSC alumni Amanda Saunders celebrates day 12 of Advent season with a beautiful reflection on ‘peace’.  In May of 1999, I had just finished pre-k at this place called “Tender Loving Care” where I had a teacher named Ms. Rose Mary and she was my absolute favorite.  This story takes place the following…

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Advent Day 11: Forgive

Editor’s note: Missioner Hannah Hagarty currently serving in Kingston, Jamaica reflects on what it means to forgive after the injustices she’s witnessed while serving overseas so far.  Children born with HIV. Children that have been abandoned by their families because they were born with a physical or mental disability. Women and men in my close…

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Advent Day 10: Listen

Editor’s note: DCSC volunteer Megan celebrates day 10 of Advent with a reflection on the word ‘listen’.  Throughout these past few weeks, I have been actively repeating the word ‘listen’ to myself as a way to help slow down and really be intentional with my presence. To be a good listener is something I’ve always…

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Advent Day 9: Healing

Editor’s note: Missioner Tim Shelgren serving in Kingston, Jamaica offers an advent reflection on healing by sharing some stories of the “extraordinary healers” he has encountered throughout his time on mission so far and his new found understanding of what Jesus might have meant when he used the term “greater works”.   “And Greater Works Than…

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Advent Day 8: Journey

Editor’s note: Sabrina Porter, FMS missioner serving in Bolivia, reflects on the word journey with a song she discovered throughout her time in formation to serve abroad.  When I was in formation last year Megeen, who was part of the first mission class for FMS and a past director, gave us a few sessions on…

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Advent Day 7: Presence

Editor’s note: Deanna Wolf, good friend to former staff member Bridget Higginbotham and previous casa resident and volunteer for the Columban Center for Outreach and Advocacy reflects on the word “presence”. Deanna discusses the impact a simple engraving on a bracelet has had on her life, as well as her relationship with both herself and…

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Advent Day 6: Trust

Editor’s note: DCSC volunteer Kate reflects on the word “trust” this Advent season through song lyrics and the Annunciation story of Our Lady. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8_475FKJWQ I have traveled many moonless nights Cold and weary with a babe inside And I wonder what I’ve done Holy Father you have come And chosen me now To carry your…

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Advent Day 5: Darkness

Editor’s note: FMS board member Thomas King offers an excerpt from Sr. Joan Chittister for reflection on today’s Advent theme of darkness.    From Joan Chittister:   “Darkness, I have discovered, is the way we come to see It creates the depressions that, once faced, teaches us to trust.  It gives us the sensitivity it…

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Advent Day 4: Patience

Edtior’s Note: In this blog, FMS Board member and secular Franciscan, Laura Rainey, OFS, shares a reflection from “Jesus Calling” that helps her focus and slow down during the season of Advent. ‘Much, much stress results from your wanting to make things happen before their times have come. One of the main ways I assert…

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Advent Day 3: Hope

Editor’s note: Sr. Margaret Carney OSF,  friend and board member of FMS, brings in day 3 of Advent with a reflection on hope and how a title of a play has given her a new understanding of a special courage needed to have hope.  Bigger than Hope Several years ago my niece, Megan Carney, directed…

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Advent Day 2: Await

Editor’s note: Katie Rotterman, a DC Service Corps alumni, reflects on her relationship with God through the word “await”. Each year I struggle with the positive spin Advent puts on waiting. I see devotionals about joy-filled waiting, the wonder in the waiting, the anticipation found in waiting.  I don’t want to wait – I want…

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Advent Day 1: Enkindled

Editor’s note: Associate Director Meghan Meros opens the 2019 Advent blog series, “Enkindled,” with a story from childhood and a reflection of the value of persisting in our efforts to enkindle goodness and light in the world–even in the midst of a storm. The winter and spring of 1998 was an “El Niño” time in…

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Not Where You Go, But Who You Travel With

Editor’s Note: DCSC volunteer Julia reflects on the unexpected, beautiful discoveries she made during a work trip to Chicago. Julia touches on friendship, self discovery, and Franciscan values throughout her writing.  Work Trip in Chicago? Sign Me Up!  This blog idea comes to you by courtesy of Mrs. Nichole Petty. When my site supervisor, Dr.…

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If It’s Not Of You God, I Don’t Want It

Editor’s Note: DCSC volunteer Kate reflects on a sentiment offered by a good friend that has helped re-shape the ways she understands both herself and her relationship with God.  These are the words that a good friend and spiritual mentor of mine, BryAnna, told me to repeat to myself when my soul feels torn. When…

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Love Personified

Editor’s Note: Regular readers of the FMS blog are familiar with the reflections of FMS missioners and volunteers. Today, however, we share with you a different voice, that of Bradley Hagarty, father of first-year missioner Hannah Hagarty. While not serving overseas as his daughter is, Bradley is part of the FMS story because his story…

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Becoming a Franciscan Woman of Mercy

Editor’s Note: Anna Metzger is a Missioner in Formation who will be commissioned for the overseas portion of her mission journey in just a few weeks. In this blog, Anna reflects on integrating the spiritualities of two religious communities as embraces her call to lay mission. Have you ever been asked the question, “what do…

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October 3, 2018 and the Promise of Resurrection

Editor’s note: Becky Kreidler is an FMS missioner who began her journey being present to those she encountered in Guatemala. Upon increased pain in her knee and learning she would need surgery, she discerned to return home to Mt. Prospect, Illinois in late March 2019 where she had surgery. Since then, has been dedicating time…

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The Odd Uneven Time

Editor’s note: Megan, a DC Service Corps volunteer, uses poetry to reflect on change within her present life.  I think change is so scary because it forces us to face our inner demons head on rather than hiding behind comfort. Human beings are all creatures of comfort to some extent. Some more than others, but…

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The Slow Work of God and Cooking Beans

Editor’s note: DC Service Corps associate Hannah reflects on the ways God is slowly moving through her life throughout this new beginning.  According to a recent “guess how many beans in the jar” activity at a social hosted by Catholic Volunteer Network, an average serving of beans consists of 1100 beans.  A few weeks ago,…

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Transitus Speech — Honoring the Life and Death of Saint Francis

Editor’s note: Executive Director Elizabeth Hughes shared the Transitus Reflection at the Franciscan Monastery.  Liz focused on St. Francis’ message of humility, fraternity, and trust and how we continue to live that today. Good evening.  Thank you for the invitation to share with you tonight.  My name is Liz Hughes, and I am the Executive…

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A Concept: 100% Contemplation & 100% Action.. Is There a Word For That?

Editor’s note: Missioner Tim Shelgren reflects on the practice of contemplation and action and the ways this state of being has impacted his journey thus far.  “There’s no word for it in English.” This is a phrase my eldest son Troy, who lives in the German speaking part of Switzerland, often uses when he is…

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Art, Faith, Goodbyes and the Former Rich, Italian Party Boy

Editor’s Note: Missioner in formation, Megan, reflects on her journey in DC so far and the places she’s found beauty “wherever it rests.”   I have been thinking about the intersection of art and faith. I’m wearing a new set of clothes. Bought some at the Goodwill. They fit great, and I love ‘em. But…they’re a…

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God’s Language of Love

Editor’s note: Former missioner Erin reflects on her time in Guatemala and the many ways love broke all barriers during her time on mission as she readjusts to her life back in the states. After being back from Guatemala now almost three months, I have found myself taking the time to  re-read my journals, blogs,…

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Saturday at the Casa

Editor’s note: Missioner in formation, Tom, reflects on his Saturday and the inspiring people he met along the way.  Saturdays at Casa San Salvador are days when our many intentional community members become creative.  Last Saturday was no exception. Many of our housemates went to Salisbury, Maryland, to the National Folk Festival.  The day was…

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Finding Harmony in God and Myself

Editor’s Note: Missioner Anna reflects on her transition into intentional, simple living as she prepares to embark on service for the next 2 years with FMS.  This idea of Simple Living within the context of Franciscan Mission Service is actually not simple at all; it’s quite complex, and I am only just beginning to understand…

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Introducing Marina Jerry: What Matters Most To Me?

Editor’s Note: The DC Service Corps class of 2019 – 2020 introduces themselves through personal reflection on what matters most to them.  “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each…

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Introducing Michael Broughton: What Matters Most To Me?

Editor’s Note: The DC Service Corps class of 2019 – 2020 introduces themselves through personal reflection on what matters most to them.  When discussing what matters most to me, it is hard to land on a single aspect of my life. There are so many things that I am passionate about and grateful for, so…

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Introducing Megan McCarthy: What Matters Most To Me?

Editor’s Note: The DC Service Corps class of 2019 – 2020 introduces themselves through personal reflection on what matters most to them.  When I close my eyes and try to imagine my last days on Earth, there are a few significant figures in my life that immediately come to mind: my mother, my father, my…

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Introducing Hannah Puvalowski: What Matters Most To Me?

Editor’s Note: The DC Service Corps class of 2019 – 2020 introduces themselves through personal reflection on what matters most to them.  The dog days of summer have come to an end, but the significance of dogs in my life does not waiver. When I was younger, I was extremely shy so to help with…

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Introducing Kate Keeley: What Matters Most To Me?

Editor’s Note: The DC Service Corps class of 2019 – 2020 introduces themselves through personal reflection on what matters most to them.  I grew up in a very active church community. Both of my parents work at my home parish in Roanoke, Virginia. Therefore, I spent a lot of time there growing up and church…

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Introducing Matthew Fichter: What Matters Most To Me?

Editor’s Note: The DC Service Corps class of 2019 – 2020 introduces themselves through personal reflection on what matters most to them.  In my inaugural FMS blog post I will be writing a little about who I am and what I care about.  I will start with who I am. My name is Matthew Lawrence…

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Introducing Julia Pinto: What Matters Most To Me?

Editor’s Note: The DC Service Corps class of 2019 – 2020 introduces themselves through personal reflection on what matters most to them.  My thirteen housemates and I have had to process through an incredible amount of transition. New jobs, new home, new friends, new city. Figuring out the metro system (finally got it down!), cooking…

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Honestly, a Continuous Work in Progress

Editor’s note: Missioner SarahJane reflects on her personal privileges and what that means while serving others in a different part of the world.  “We don’t go to the margins to make a difference. We go to the margins so that folks at the margins make us different.” “We want to bridge the gap that exists…

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Faces of Jamaica

Editor’s note: missioner Hannah Hagarty reflects on the people and experiences she’s encountered in Jamaica through a series of photographs.  Here is a collection of photos of people who I have connected with so far during my time in Jamaica. These photos show my typical week during my time on mission in Jamaica.  [unitegallery Augblog1]…

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Between Two Complexities

Editor’s note: Sabrina Portner, FMS missioner in Cochabamba, Bolivia, reflects on the life and experience and prayer that led her to cherish the phrases “It is finished” and “I thirst”–both spoken by Jesus during his Passion. Last year, during the spring semester of my senior year of college and during the time that led up…

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Serving Children Safely and Effectively

Editor’s note: Missioner Tim Shelgren reflects on maintaining healthy boundaries with youth who long for love and affection.  As a missioner serving children over the past eighteen months, I have been introduced to a very real problem. Not only in Jamaica, but also in America and around the world, child abuse has become a common…

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Seek His Face

Editor’s Note: Missioner Becky Kreidler reflects on the challenges of maintaining an authentic prayer life when faced with the unknowns and unexpected turns of life. Sometimes the side-effects of being labeled as a missioner cause me to chuckle. Based on people’s frequent comments, it seems they often think I am some saintly figure and that…

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