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Finding My Center in Nature

Blog Headers 2023-24
Editor’s note: After moving across the country to Washington, DC, missioner-in-formation Kim Wagner shares the ways that nature has kept her grounded in prayer and peace during this season of transition.

These past few months have been a season of transition for me. Between saying goodbye to my Jesuit Volunteer Corps intentional community in May, going home to Kansas City to see friends and family, and moving across the country to enter into intentional community with Franciscan Mission Service in August, it feels as though my recent life has been one change after another.
Changes and transitions often feel chaotic for me, especially ones involving moving to a new place. It feels overwhelming for me to arrive in a new city and immediately be tasked with meeting new people, settling into a new home, and learning the ins and outs of a new service position and program—all on top of seemingly endless unpacking. Amid orientation and acclimating to life with FMS these past few weeks, I would often feel very scattered and exhausted at the end of a long day. While I have enjoyed the program and the people I have met so far, I knew that I needed to find ways and spaces where I could take time to recharge, re-center myself, and re-focus on my why to be at my best each day.
Fr. Murray Bodo, OFM, writes in the book ‘The Tales of St. Francis: Ancient Stories for Contemporary Living’ that while we do carry a place for centering within us, many times we need spaces in the world for “retreat” to recall the centering place within us as well as to replenish ourselves and rediscover the reasons behind our work.
These past few weeks, I have been finding so much joy and peace in spending time in nature. Whether it is taking in a sunset from the Casa’s front porch, strolling through the gardens of the Franciscan Monastery just down the street, or listening to the call of the cicadas in the evening, I take these moments in Creation as an opportunity to breathe, pray, remember the beauty of the world around me, and find my center to re-focus on why I am here with FMS.
Check out some photos of a few things and places that have helped me find my center in this season.


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The sun setting over the Potomac River as I flew into DC


Question for Reflection: As Fr. Bodo writes, “What is your center, the place or space you retreat to in order to find again the source of all your comings and goings?”

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Kim is originally from Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated with her bachelor's degree in social work in 2021 and has participated in domestic service programs since graduating. She is excited to accompany people on the margins of the international community along the U.S./Mexico Border. In her free time, Kim enjoys cooking, going for walks, reading, and spending time outdoors.