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Mission and Service

JOSE, ROAD TRIP, LIGHTS, AND SIRENS

Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Rhonda Eckerman reflects on her encounter with suffering and injustice along the U.S.-Mexico Border.  Early one morning at the Migrant Resource Center in Agua Prieta, Mexico, I noticed a young man in the courtyard sitting apart from the group looking very sad and scared. I noticed he had several scratches…

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DAY IN THE LIFE OF DOMONIQUE

Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Domonique Thompson shares about a typical Tuesday at her ministry sites in Cochabamba, Bolivia.  I shall choose Tuesday for a day in my life, because it is one of my favorite days. I live at the Franciscan Social Center in the center of the city. It is a space open…

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100 Days in Jamaica

Editor’s Note: Joleen Johnson reflects on her first 100 days as an Overseas Lay Missioner in Jamaica.  I’ve officially been in Jamaica for three months now. In fact, I calculated it, and my 100th day in Jamaica was June 9th, 2022. My time here has felt like it’s just flown by, and I really can’t…

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Estephanie’s Last Day at FMS

Editor’s Note: Estephanie Alvarez is a high school student who works in the FMS office once a week as part of Don Bosco Cristo Rey’s Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP). As the school year closes, she reflects on her experience working with FMS.  When I first came to Franciscan Mission Service, I wasn’t sure what…

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La Paz Sea Contigo

Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Victor Artaiz reflects on the gifts of the Holy Spirit working in his life as he serves on mission in Cochabamba, Bolivia. I recently celebrated the Feast of Pentecost with men and families at El Abra prison in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Within the Catholic chapel, the celebrant priest, Padre Juan of…

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Discovering Our Common Tongue

Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Julia Pinto shares how the gift of music created a moment of connection despite differences in language and culture on the U.S.-Mexico border. Just a typical afternoon in the Arizona May “springtime” – 94 degrees, 7% humidity, clear skies, and plenty of sunshine. I park near an abandoned shoe store…

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Hugs, Hugs, and More Hugs

Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Rhonda Eckerman shares a reflection on greeting strangers with hugs on the U.S.-Mexico border to convey comfort and love.  I have now been working across the U.S.-Mexico border for over a year, and one of my favorite customs is greeting a stranger with a hug. I watched in wonder as…

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The “Our Father” I Lived Yesterday Afternoon

Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Mari Snyder participated in her first shift at the Migrant Resource Center in Agua Prieta, Mexico, just yards away from the U.S.-Mexico Border. She shares the Our Father in Spanish with a very personal English-language interpretation.   Padre Nuestro, Our Father,   Que estas en el cielo,  Who art in heaven, but…

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Night at the Art Car Museum

Editor’s Note: Julia Pinto, an FMS missioner on the U.S.-Mexico border, shares a story of meeting a retired Border Patrol agent and how he challenged her assumptions.  My fellow missioner and I were invited by one of our ministry partners to a dinner on March 22nd at Art Car World, a small, local museum in…

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Lauren’s Day at the Fr. McKenna Center

Editor’s Note: DC Service Corps volunteer Lauren Barry shares a video blog of her day-to-day service at the Fr. McKenna Center.

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Fasting, Ham Sandwiches, and a Gift

Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Rhonda Eckerman, who serves on the U.S.-Mexico border, reflects on a moment she will never forget during a time of fasting.  In the spring of 2021, I participated in a fast entitled “Fast for More Compassion from the People of the United States for the Migrants Coming to the Southern…

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Ending My Year of Service in DC

Editor’s note: DCSC volunteer Emily Dold shares a thoughtful video compilation made throughout her year of service with DC Service Corps. She shows moments all reflective of intentional community, what service looks like, as well as the joy that has come from this year alone. 

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One night in Mexico

Editor’s Note: Lay Missioner serving at the US-Mexico Border Rhonda Eckerman recalls a time spent serving at the Migrant Resource Center. She candidly shares some stories from her first night.  The Migrant Resource Center is a small two story building located approximately 20 feet from the port of entry turnstile that rotates into 1st Street,…

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Looking Forward

Editor’s Note: Lay Missioner Hannah Hagarty shares her discernment of “What comes next?” following the end of her service with FMS. In her final blog, Hannah candidly opens up about her approaches in trusting God with her steps moving forward.    My time serving as a Franciscan Mission Service Overseas Lay Missioner (FMSOLM) is coming…

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A Peek into my Thought Process

Editor’s Note: DCSC volunteer Madeline McKissick shares her experience from a recent Formation Session, reflecting on her time thus far within the program. She welcomes the pause that comes with stopping and recognizing the moments that have formed her into who she is.  Every week, DC Service Corps attends a Tuesday session where we gain…

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Two Desert Days

Editor’s Note: Lay missioner Rhonda Eckerman describes two days from her time in mission at the US-Mexico border. She dives into the details of her experiences of encountering the harsh realities and hardships of a migrant.  I am in the first months of my border mission here in Douglas, Arizona and recently have had two…

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Auntie Hannah & Jamaica Day

Editor’s Note: Lay Missioner Hannah Hagarty describes her shifted role within her Jamaican school community. Through this new “Healthy Mind, Healthy Body” class, she’s been able to appreciate those around her and dig even deeper into her faith as well as her community.    When I returned to Jamaica after being home in the states…

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You Got It All!

Editor’s Note: Lay Missioner Anna Metzger reflects on giving her gifts and talents to all those she encounters. Through a happenstance reply, she recounts how God has provided through her with a renewed gratitude and awareness.  In my last blog, I challenged you to “be attentive to the present and step into the moments where…

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Complaint Fasting

Editor’s Note: DCSC volunteer Domonique Thompson shares her experience of fasting from complaints this Lent. In a continuation from her last blog, reflecting on her blessings, she shares her process of practicing gratitude this season. Part of Lent is taking time to fast and sacrifice. When most people think of fasting, they often think of…

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The Ministry of a Programs Associate

Editor’s Note: DCSC Volunteer and Programs Associate Fatima Godfrey reflects on her role within the FMS office, finding the mission of accompaniment abundantly. Working at the FMS office as the Programs Associate provides me the opportunity to serve as the first point of contact for those inquiring with FMS. This means I get the privilege…

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One Year: A Reflection on my DCSC Discernment Days

Editor’s Note: Communications Associate, Bekah Galucki, reflects on the impact a year can have in thinking of her discernment a year ago. She openly shares from a perspective of gratitude about the movements of her heart in those few days last February that have brought much fruit.   So much can happen when giving God…

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Rest Required

Editor’s Note: Lay Missioner Nora McMahon describes the process (and standstills) of arriving at her new mission site in Cochabamba, Bolivia. She notes the importance of rest as a gift, contrary to cultural acclamation.  Preparing to leave for Bolivia was perhaps more hectic than actually traveling there. Repacking my bags three times, trying to say…

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The Packing and the Unpacking

Editor’s Note: Lay Missioner Rhonda Eckerman discusses the uncharted waters of packing “do’s and don’ts” within the process of moving to her new mission site at the US-Mexico border. She shares the difficulty of packing tangible items, as well as the necessity of intangibly packing moments that bring a sense of home. THE PACKING I…

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Simon of Cyrene’s Hotline

Editor’s Note: DCSC volunteer Fede Wettstein candidly shares some common experiences of his ministry site with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He openly correlates his weekly task of answering the refugee hotline to that of an accompanying Simon of Cyrene, all with a perspective of hope.   Every Wednesday from 2-3:30 pm I…

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Lest I Want to Remain as I am.

Editor’s Note: Reminded by a brief snowfall, DCSC volunteer Emily Dold recognizes the differences between her and the men of her ministry site, the Father McKenna Center. While recognizing her own experiences do not align entirely with those experiencing homelessness, she strives towards the long road of deeper understanding, knowledge, and love. It’s snowing in…

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FMS Lifelong Missioner Feature: Tim Shelgren

Program Director Emily Norton had the gift of interviewing Tim Shelgren (Mission Class 33, Serving from 2018-2020 in Kingston, Jamaica) via a Zoom call. Below is the interview.  Q: How have you chosen to live out Franciscan simplicity since returning to the US? The day I left Jamaica, I remember standing in the airport on…

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Step into The Moment

Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Anna Metzger speaks about her active call to ministry while in Bolivia. As she awaits both the welcome of another FMS missioner, Nora, and an official ministry site in Cochabamba, she reflects on the life giving relationships throughout her day to day. As followers of Christ, we are all called…

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Developing Gratitude

Editor’s Note: Development Associate Madeline McKissick shares a deeper meaning of her ministry with FMS. She describes what her day to day looks like, often in the form practicing gratitude, within a non-profit office setting. As the Development Associate of Franciscan Mission Service, I do a lot of work with donor relations. I make phone…

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A Time for Everything…

Editor’s note: Overseas Lay Missioner, Hannah Hagarty, reflects on her time of mission serving in Jamaica as well her time back at home, recognizing the beauty of Ecclesiastes within her life throughout this period of many transitions.  I just returned to Jamaica on September 20th from being home in the states for a 6-week stay.…

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The Unknown Ways of God

Editor’s note: Domonique Thompson, a current Lay Missioner in Formation, dives into an experience during her time serving at the Father McKenna Center. She recalls her encounter with someone at the Center, and allows for further reflection introspectively. The inward ponderings of her heart echo a greater call towards action in living intentionally and wholeheartedly. …

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Dishes Washed with Love

Editor’s note: FMS Development Associate, Madeline McKissick introduces her call to the ministry of presence. Entering into this new chapter, she depicts how her ministry looks different than some of her peers. She welcomes the reader to reflect on the teachings of Mother Teresa by doing little things with great love. At Franciscan Mission Service,…

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Goretticisms: Joys Learned with a Tiny, Elder Sister

Editor’s note: In this blog, missioner Megan Hamilton welcomes readers into one of her ministries in Kingston, Jamaica, where she lives with the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany in their convent. As Megan reflects on the enduring personalities of the sisters in the infirmary, she invites readers to consider how other important things endure, even when…

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Awaken Your Emotions

Upon returning home from Bolivia, I jumped on an opportunity to facilitate a mission trip with another organization.  During the last week of July, I was privileged to serve alongside teenagers at some pretty awesome service sites.  Not only did we serve in the community, but we also took time to process the trip together. …

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The Patience of the Seasons

Editor’s note: DCSC volunteer, Hannah Puvalowski, uses nature and poetry to reflect on times of transition.  A flower cannot bloom without water and sunlight. Baby birds cannot fly without nourishment from their parents. It takes 40 years for a maple tree to be ready to share its sweet syrup. The transition from winter to spring…

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Creature Comforts and Shared Solidarity

Editor’s note: DC Service Corps volunteer, Julia, reflects on her time in DC and the ways it has helped her to appreciate simplicity and the will of God.  If I had to choose my least two favorite things, I would have to choose hot weather and bugs. As someone who gets hot very easily and…

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An Ode to Audre Lorde

Editor’s note: DC Service Corps volunteer Megan McCarthy reflects on the words of favorite writer and activist, Audre Lorde and encourages us to continue lifting the voices of black authors during these monumental moments in our history.  As the Black Lives Matter movement gains more visibility each day, it’s crucial now more than ever to…

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Call To Action

Editor’s Note: Sabrina Portner, serving in Bolivia, shares resources that are helping shape her understanding of power and privilege. She invites readers to join her on the journey by listening to and uplifting the voices of people of color.  My voice is not yearning to be heard, nor is it needed. Please listen to our…

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Living Water and Light

Editor’s note: Overseas missioner Anna reflects on the past two months quarantined in Bolivia through the song “Springtime” by Chris Renzema. Like all of you, we have been living in quarantine for the last two months in Bolivia.  With that comes a lot of uncertainty and free time.  I challenged you in my last blog…

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Lessons From A Mandatory Retreat

Editor’s note: DC Service Corps member, Julia reflects on the changes brought about by this pandemic and the insights she’s found along the way.  It has taken me six weeks to adjust to the changes brought on by quarantine living. We shifted to working remotely; our community shrunk from twelve to three as members went…

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Raspy

Editor’s note: FMS missioner Becky Kreidler reflects on the different sides of God she’s encountered through recent trials and tribulations in her life.  I’ve been abruptly learning that my soul has some rasp to it. Despite my resistance, it has kept coming up, begging for me to acknowledge its existence, and making it known that…

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Nothing or The Best of Something?

Editor’s note: FMS missioner Anna reflects on these times of quarantine and how she’s spending it in Cochabamba, Bolivia.  As the whole world is asked to stop, us missioners in Bolivia also find ourselves cooped up in our apartment in downtown Cochabamba.  Now, I have to say, I am extremely grateful for where we live. …

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The Song of the Soul

Editor’s note: DCSC volunteer Hannah reflects on how the birds of Michigan remind her of peace and love in times of unrest in our world.  Amidst the stillness of looking out my window, I have observed Robins dancing about and playful Bluebirds. I have heard the sweet hum of a Chickadee and the clanging of…

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The Comfort of Art

Editor’s note: DCSC volunteer Kate Keeley reflects on the ways art has brought her comfort during these hard times and shares a poem by one of her favorite poets.  In the midst of the pandemic, I left DC and came home to Salem, VA to be with my family during these hard times. It’s easy…

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Dark Hours to May Flowers

Editor’s note: DC Service Corps volunteer Megan reflects on these uncertain, vulnerable times through her own experiences quarantined in New York.  These past few weeks have not been easy. Lately, the weight of the world feels so heavy that at any moment I feel as though my legs will snap like twigs and I won’t be…

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Ramblings from a Tropical Ramble

Editor’s note: FMS Missioner Megan Hamilton reflects on her new life in Kingston, Jamaica and her decision to stay and serve her new community throughout this pandemic.  I look out my balcony at an arching, rustling mass of green: palm and mango trees, a hundred-plus-year-old giant the Jamaicans call a French Peanut tree. The sun…

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God’s Call

Editor’s note: DC Service Corps volunteer Matthew Fichter reflects on what God’s calling might be for him after completing the book “The Secret Lives of Introverts” by Jenn Granneman.  In these strange times that persist, perhaps one question that might continue to present itself is “what is God’s calling for me”? In thinking about this…

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Hannah’s Nature Vlog

Editor’s note: FMS missioner Hannah Hagarty has returned home from mission back to Iowa due to the Coronavirus outbreak. In this video, Hannah will take you on a peaceful journey of her childhood home sharing pictures and videos of the beautiful scenery that helps remind her of God’s presence even amidst all this chaos. We…

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Learning to Accept God’s Gift

Editor’s note: Marina Jerry, a DC Service Corps volunteer serving at Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School, reflects on the process of adjusting to a new place and giving God space to reveal small joys in daily life. Due to an editorial oversight, this blog, first written in the fall, is being published now. In…

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You’re Not So Tough

Editor’s note: FMS missioner Sabrina reflects on vulnerability, friendship, and accompaniment.  I have always struggled with holding in and suppressing my emotions. I tell myself that I am just a very logical, level-headed person–one that doesn’t have emotions. It’s hard for me to express myself or admit what’s going on inside me. Most of the…

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The Ways Between Bethlehems

Editor’s note: Megan Hamilton, an FMS missioner serving in Kingston, Jamaica reflects on two Bethlehem’s: the first being the one that blossomed her love for catholic servant leadership, and the other being her new ministry site in country with FMS.  My second day in Kingston Jamaica I am at Bethlehem Home, an orphanage for kids…

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