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Care for Creation

To Stop and To Be

Editor’s Note: DC Service Corps volunteer Nadia Barnett reflects on the importance of finding moments to pause and invite God to reveal their presence through our surroundings. It is imperative that we all remember to stop and to be – with God, with others and with self. I find the concept being, not doing does…

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Solitude Amidst the Woods

Editor’s Note: DC Service Corps volunteer Kevin Ruano shares a poem inspired by reflective moments spent in nature and the struggle to stay present. I sit straight up and rest my head against the tree. I put on an alarm on my phone, close my eyes, open my hands, and face the sun. The fallen…

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Beyond Language

Editor’s Note: Missioner Sabrina Portner reflects on language barriers and ways she can better connect with her surroundings as she begins her ministry in Cochabamba, Bolivia San Martin, the home for boys that has become my new place of service and source of contentment, cares for one singular cow, Betty, and her bull calf. Beyond…

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Seeing Ourselves Today

Editor’s Note: DC Service Corps member, Nadia Barnett reflects on a moment she encountered during a nature meditation and how taking time to notice beauty in everyday life allowed her to more clearly see herself. On October 30th, I participated in a meditative walk with my fellow FMS missioners in a joint formation session. During…

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Developing a Relationship with My Body and the Land

Editors Note: Current DC Service Corps member Nayeli Garcia reflects on a conversation she had with her fellow community member, Kevin Ruano. The question “what matters to you and why?” gave Nayeli insight into Kevin’s deep connection with the environment. As our journey begins at the Casa San Salvador, we, as a community, are settling…

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Seeing Clearly: Listen. Notice. Wonder.

Editor’s note: Andy Gleason supports the FMS team as a grant writer; as part of FMS’ Lenten blog series, Andy reflects on  his experience listening, noticing, and wondering—especially during his time on El Camino de Santiago—and strives to apply these practices throughout the Lenten season. As I sit in stillness this weekend morning, enjoying a freshly brewed…

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March for Joy

Editor’s note: Development Associate Sam Hardwick reflects on what it means to “March for Life.” “What does it mean to ‘March for Life’?” This was the question that buzzed around my head the day of the March for Life in Washington, D.C. on January 19. Looking around at all of the people during the Mass…

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Faith Call Us to be Neighbors: “Hospes,” the True Root of Hospitality

Editor’s note: Patrick McKenzie is the Director of Campus Ministry at Neumann University, a Franciscan school in Aston, PA. As a guest blogger for FMS’ 2017 Advent blog series, Patrick shares a “shining moment of true hospitality” and reflects on the true meaning of the word. “Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the…

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I Whispered and He Heard Me: Notes from Valle de los Angeles

Editor’s note: missioner Misty Menis-Kyler shares several recent events from her mission experience in Guatemala. The end of the school year has come and the students are relieved to be done with their exams. It was a bitter sweet time for me personally. I did not want to say goodbye to my students whom I…

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Fall Saints, Fall Souls

Editor’s note: Programs Associate, Rose Urankar, reflects on the fall to winter transition during an afternoon joint session with the Class 33 missioners led by Lonnie Ellis, OFS. If there is ever a time to walk around in nature and be astounded by the creativity of God, it’s during the fall.  Sure, most flowers are…

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Fall Day of Reflection

Editor’s note: Graphic Design Associate, Alessia Catena, shares her photos and her thoughts from the 2017 Fall Day of Reflection experience. Earlier this month, Associate Director Meghan Meros led the DC Service Corps on a day of hiking and reflection amidst the fall foliage at the trails of Great Falls, Maryland. [unitegallery FallDay2017] Reflection question:…

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A Light in the Darkness

Editor’s note: Missioner Cindy Mizes reflects on the beauty of creation as a manifestation of Christ’s redeeming light. There is a beautiful night blooming cactus on the grounds where I live that has an abundance of flower buds. This particular cactus is massive with its long green tentacle-like arms stretching over 10 feet into the…

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Connecting with the Continent

Editor’s note: FMS Communications Manager Kim Puchir looks forward to the 2017-2018 DC Service Corps year by reflecting on new beginnings. Starting this week, FMS has welcomed a new class of DC Service Corps volunteers, including Alessia Catena, a new Graphic Design Associate in the Communications Department. Establishing a relationship with a new coworker means…

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“Praised Be to You, My Lord, For Sister Water”

Editor’s note: Missioner Aubrey Kimble reflects on how a trip to Amboró National Park gave her a chance to relax in a beautiful natural setting and reflect on care for creation. The university here in Carmen Pampa is currently on break. I decided to take advantage of the time given and went on a much-needed…

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Rooted in the Present

Editor’s note: During a visit to a local, Jamaican coffee farm, Missioner Janice Smullen reflects on presence, rootedness, and how  to bloom where any of us may be planted. Recently, I was able to spend a two-night holiday with my visiting sister at an eight acre coffee farm containing 5,500 coffee trees, about 3,000 feet…

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Challenging the Kids

Editor’s Note: Missioner Brandon Newland reflects on the past summer in Jamaica and the various activities that he arranged for the kids. The summertime is a wonderful time for students to rejoice and enjoy their freedom from school and homework, but to adults it can be a time to build patience and bonds with the…

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Care for Creation at the Beach

Editor’s Note: Missioner Patrick Montine shares how a trip to the beach with some of the kids in Savanna-la-Mar, Jamaica, created a great opportunity for a lesson and experience of care for creation. Usually our summers in Savanna-la-Mar are pretty uneventful  and most of our ministry shuts down because we work with kids and the…

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The Gift of Water

Editor’s Note: In a follow up to her last post about water shortages in Cochabamba, missioner Annemarie Barrett emphasizes the importance of gardens in the community through the story of one of the women in Santa Rosa. Recently I wrote about the severe water shortages we are currently experiencing in Cochabamba. The women in Santa…

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Making it Rain

Editor’s Note: Missioner Brandon Newland reflects on the arrival of spring in Jamaica and the deeper life lessons that can be found in gardening. Despite the somewhat mild temperatures of winter in Jamaica, spring is still the beginning of the growing season for many crops. Last year we attempted a rather grandiose garden with one…

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Letting Go of Indifference

Editor’s Note: Animal protection attorney Akisha Townsend Eaton, OFS, reflects on Pope Francis’ proposed Lenten practice of giving up indifference and how she has witnessed this practice being lived out by two of her friends.  I sometimes find it challenging to know what I’m being called to do during Lent. That’s why I was very excited…

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Shall We Dance? A Color Meditation on Letting Go

Editor’s Note: Returned missioner Rosanna Ferraro-Jensen uses color and creative expression to reflect on the idea of our relationship with God as a continuous invitation to dance.  “Every Child Has known God” (Hafiz, 1320-1389) Every child has known God, Not the God of names, Not the God of don’ts, Not the God who ever does anything weird,…

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Letting Go and Being Remade

Editor’s Note: Programs Associate Katie Rotterman reflects on how her experience as a crafter challenges her to let go of her ideas for her life and instead let God form her in Christ. “For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should…

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The Little Things

Editor’s Note: Embracing the power of perspective, today communications associate Maria Beben launches a three-part series calling for reflection on “the little things” in life that are too often overlooked and unappreciated. Check back next Wednesday for the next installment. When I was a student at The Catholic University of America, I had a very…

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Comfort and Joy: God as Our Transformative Refuge

Editor’s Note: As part of our “Comfort and Joy” Advent/Christmas blog series, Programs Manager Emily Norton reflects on an adventure in Ecuador which reassured her of God’s presence and companionship.  “Su parada.” The bus driver abruptly stopped the bus and told my friend Tyler and me that this was our stop. We were on a standing-room-only bus so…

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Comfort and Joy: Learning to Comfort a Child

Editor’s Note: As part of our “Comfort and Joy” Advent/Christmas blog series, FMS friend and donor Anusia Dickow shares her experiences of babysitting and how they led to a deeper realization.  I was babysitting my baby cousin a few weeks ago. She was only six months old, and this was the first time mom and dad were…

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God of Fall Colors and Torrential Downpours

Editor’s Note: Missioner-in-training Allison Dethlefs reflects on the week she and her classmates spent in Ossining, NY, for the annual Collaborative Formation Gathering (CFG), a joint training with Maryknoll Lay Missioners and the Society of African Missions. The scenery in Ossining was absolutely breathtaking. While I loved meeting the missioners from other programs and growing…

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Creating New Lives

When I came to Bolivia, I had the idea that I was coming to fight poverty. I thought that that poverty would take the face of a lack of material possessions. The other great ambition I had was to support the fight against violence. Although I have seen poverty, and I am supporting those who…

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Throwback Thursday in honor of Laudato Sii: Mother Earth Teaches

Today Pope Francis releases his environmental encyclical “Laudato Sii,” whose name comes from Saint Francis’ of Assisi’s Canticle of Creation. In celebration, we reshare last summer’s series “Earth Mother Teaches: Digging Deeper into Faith, Community and Justice” in which Franciscan lay missioner Annemarie Barrett reflects on what she has learned from working with communities in Cochabamba, Bolivia,…

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The Gift of Tongues

Two years ago, a group of students from The Catholic University of America boarded a plane en route to El Paso, Texas for a weeklong immigration immersion trip on the border. They knew very little about each other and even less about the struggles that Central American migrants face on their journeys, but they were…

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Are you hungry?

From time to time, my ministry site CUBE has short term volunteers from the United States. They come to share their time, learn more about Bolivia, and learn more about the fight against sexual violence. Although they bring the best of intentions, at times they struggle to understand the populations with which they are spending time.…

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Rooted in Mother Earth

Life as a Franciscan missioner is full of transition and change. We learn to expect the unexpected and that we are never in control. And the more I reflect on it, the more I realize that these are all just parts of being an adult, the challenging process of learning to embrace change. The Bolivian…

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Libre Soy

Editor’s Note: The name of the individual involved has been changed.  During my first year in Bolivia, I was visiting a group of inmates in Hospital Viedma when I met Jose. He had been sent from the prison to the hospital to receive treatment for TB and to prevent an outbreak in the prison. After…

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Feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes

“Would you do me the kindness of coming here?” This is the invitation that Mary extended to Bernadette in the Grotto at Lourdes in 1858, asking her to meet there for 15 days. This invitation is offered to every person, even 157 years later because Lourdes isn’t about an apparition, it’s not about a girl…

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Seeds of Progress

I did not miss clean air or water until I did not have access to them. I did not miss trees, plants, or grass until I could not see them. And I did not know that my upper class background could buy clean air, access to water, and preservation of nature. I grew up in…

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Happy one year anniversary to Hady!

Editor’s Note: Also pictured in featured image is Maryknoll lay missioner Caitlin.  One year ago this moth, Hady Mendez, of FMS’ 29th class of missioners, arrived in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Since then, Hady had used her time work with Manos Con Libertad to help women in prison to better their spiritual life and their financial situation,…

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Happy two year anniversary to Annemarie!

Editor’s Note: The following was written by FMS. Also pictured in feature image is former FMS lay missioner Kitzi Hendricks. 2015 is the beginning of Annemarie’s third year as a FMS lay missioner, and we could not be more proud. The work that she has done with the agriculture of the community in Cochabambato to…

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Pope Francis gives Address on World Day of Peace

Editor’s Note: The following is part of our daily holiday series celebrating “The Shared World.” As we welcome in the new year, His Holiness Pope Francis is focusing on slavery as the theme for the World Day of Peace on New Years Day 2015. “Tragically,” the Pope writes, “the growing scourge of man’s exploitation by man…

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Seeds of Change

Editor’s Note: The following is part of our daily holiday series celebrating “The Shared World” through Mary’s thoughts and experiences.  Working in Carmen Pampa at the University, I get the privilege of working alongside the students in the campus gardens. As we weed next to each other I get to hear about their lives, where they come from, and what…

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Reality Strikes

Editor’s Note: The following is part of our daily holiday series celebrating “The Shared World.” As part of his ministry, Jeff works alongside the work delegates in the different prisons to coordinate material purchases and machinery upkeep for the inmates’ workshops. Through his relationships with the artisans and leather workers, he also works as one of their…

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God’s Surprises

Editor’s Note: The following is part of our daily holiday series celebrating “The Shared World.” I know now that the squeals were not the finish line. I recently brought flowers to a woman in a nursing home that I visit regularly, and they were received with squeals of delight. I’d met Gladys* the week before at…

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Brother Santa

Editor’s Note: The following is part of our daily holiday series celebrating “The Shared World.” Fr. Tom Washburn, OFM, is the newly elected board president of FMS. My first real experience of ministry took place the very first year that I entered into religious life as a Franciscan. It was 1991, and finally entering religious life was…

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Why You Should Talk to Strangers

Editor’s Note: The following is part of our daily holiday series celebrating “The Shared World.” With my nose stinging of chlorine and my legs treading wildly, I tried to focus on the teary-eyed woman bobbing before me. I had seen her at the pool before. Her face had always reminded me of my mom’s, even though…

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A Special Connection

Editor’s Note: The following is part of our daily holiday series celebrating “The Shared World.” Fr. Michael Della Penna, OFM, is the Director at Valley of the Angels school in Guatemala.  I am sharing one of the most touching letters I have ever received here at Valley and perhaps in my 15 years as a priest.…

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A Humble Mission

Editor’s Note: The following is part of our daily holiday series celebrating “The Shared World.” Fr. Joe Nangle, OFM, is a former FMS executive director and board member. The originating vision of Franciscan Mission Service remains compelling today, thirty years after it was articulated by FMS founder, Anselm Moons, OFM. Called by Franciscan leadership in North…

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The Shared [Captive] World

Editor’s Note: The following is part of our daily holiday series celebrating “The Shared World.” Teresa is a Secular Franciscan with a long-standing relationship with the FMS family. “To proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners…” (Is 61:1) About 12 years ago, I received an invitation from Andrew, one of the first prisoners from when I…

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Learning from Weeds

Lay missioner Annemarie Barrett completes our series, “Mother Earth Teaches: Digging Deeper into Faith, Community and Justice.”    At the end of the day, I am learning that Mother Earth is our greatest teacher. When we look close at the garden, it is all there. “Greatest teacher” of what? What is “all there”? In reconnecting…

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Mother Earth Teaches: The Sacred Nature of Seeds

Lay missioner Annemarie Barrett continues our series, “Mother Earth Teaches: Digging Deeper into Faith, Community and Justice.”    “In the Andean cosmovision, we recognize that we are part of our environment. We are not superior to the Earth, nor owners of her, but we coexist in harmony with her, in relationship with the Pachamama, and…

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The Marginalization of Farmers and Learning from Communities

Lay missioner Annemarie Barrett continues our series, “Mother Earth Teaches: Digging Deeper into Faith, Community and Justice.”    In connecting with the land, I am also growing closer to farmers. And in our time spent together I am learning more about their reality, their suffering and their resilience. In knowing the women in Santa Rosa,…

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The Disconnection from our Earth and the Call of Franciscan Mission

Lay missioner Annemarie Barrett continues our series, “Mother Earth Teaches: Digging Deeper into Faith, Community and Justice.”    Living in the city, shopping at grocery stores, and watching a lot of TV, I never had to think much about how my food arrived at my table. I could answer that easily, “From the grocery store.”…

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NEW SERIES! Mother Earth Teaches: Digging Deeper into Faith, Community, and Justice

Today we launch a new series by lay missioner Annemarie Barrett about what she has learned from her time working in the parish garden alongside rural communities in Bolivia.  Okay, so I am just going to say it again. I grew up in the city, disconnected from the land. In my parents’ house, we grew…

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