We prepare and support lay Catholics for two-year international, one-year domestic and 1-2 week short-term mission service opportunities in solidarity with impoverished and marginalized communities across the globe.

  • We are Catholic lay people, single men and women and married couples, called through our baptism to mission.
  • We seek to walk with the poor of other countries, sharing our gifts, living our faith, and learning from one another.
  • We are teachers, nurses, social workers, computer technicians, administrators, tradesman, and others who work together and strive to live a simple life in solidarity with the poor.
  • We are young people, eager to become compassionate servant leaders for the Church. We are older people, willing to offer a lifetime of experience to communities that could use them.

For over 30 years, we have prepared lay men and women to serve for two to six years in various Franciscan placements around the world. Upon returning to the U.S., missioners continue to live out their calling in lifelong mission to transform North American people and society.

Because of our commitment to service opportunities in the Franciscan spirit and transforming North America, we have additional programs to invite more lay people into the mission journey. Our year-long programs in Washington, D.C. help young adults become nonprofit leaders. Our Short-Term Mission and Global Awareness Trips help students, parishioners, Secular Franciscans, and others learn about poverty and deepen their own commitment to service. Our social media ministry connects English-speakers around the world with Franciscan mission reflections and resources.


  • We are one of only a few Catholic lay mission organizations in North America with a focus on international mission. Our focus has allowed us to develop an in-depth three-month formation and training program that prepares missioners for a cross-cultural mission experience, as well as a 3-week re-entry program. Our programs have been repeatedly praised for the preparation they provide missioners.
  • We are one of the only lay Franciscan mission programs in North America. One of our central goals is to spread the Franciscan charism among lay people through our formation program and by the support of Franciscan religious in the mission field.
  • The third phase of our overseas program asks our lay missioners to make a commitment to lifelong mission in North America. Because of their experiences, our missioners bring back a heightened understanding of “global solidarity” and our unity as one people on this earth. They are transformed by their time in mission, deepened in their faith; for many of them, the service experience brings out leadership skills that are then used in North America. They also bring “new eyes and ears” that help our U.S. church respond in creative ways to the dramatic social changes in our world today. Returned missioners commit themselves to working to transform our churches and society. In the spirit of Saints Francis and Clare, they work towards worldwide brother/sisterhood by building bridges between people of  the “first” and “two/thirds” world. We are continually open to ways to support our returned missioners in their work for social change in North America.

“FMS Missioners are the most prepared lay missioners I have ever worked with. They truly understand and engage in the ‘ministry of presence’, a hallmark of Franciscan mission”. – Fr. Ignacio Harding, OFM, who has served as a missioner in Bolivia for over 30 years