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Peace and Justice

Holding Privilege on the Border

Editor’s Note: Lay missioner Kim Wagner recognizes a privilege that she has as a US citizen and realizes how she can use her privilege on mission at the US-Mexico border. As I leave the Centro de Recursos para Migrantes (Migrant Resource Center) in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico after my volunteer shift, I walk along the…

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DC Transportation Woes: An Unlikely, but Valuable, Lesson of Franciscan Spirituality

Editor’s note: DC Service Corps volunteer Bohdan O’Shaughnessy has an unlikely experience of ministry of presence while taking public transportation. One of the great aspects of living in DC is the accessibility of public transportation. Last Saturday night, after catching up with a close friend from high school who lives in the nearby NoMa neighborhood,…

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What It Was Like on the Border When Title 8 Sunset Title 42

Editor’s note: When Title 42 was ended in May, missioner Mari Snyder and the organizations where she serves were preparing to support an influx of migrants crossing the US-Mexico border. She shares her reflections on the experience. It’s been just a few months since the May 11th reinstatement of Title 8, with the end of…

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Memorials on the Migrant Trail

Editor’s note: Each year, an organization called The Migrant Trail in Arizona leads a solidarity walk across the US-Mexico border and through a well-traversed valley, giving walkers a chance to experience the region and bear witness to the place where thousands of people in migration have lost their lives. This year, missioners Mari and Julia…

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Finding Hope in Seemingly Hopeless Situations

Editor’s Note: When someone asks DC Service Corps member Sam Goodyear what she does for a living, she is always a bit unsure how to respond. Here, Sam gives us a full answer with a glimpse at her challenging but rewarding work at the UN Refugee Agency. She shares her experience talking with migrants and…

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Transformation

Editor’s note: Transformed through her intentional peace ministry with Little Friends for Peace, DC Service Corps volunteer Erin Frances Reinhart shares an experience of collective transformation for her students, her colleagues, and herself. Alexandria City Public Schools offers high-quality after-school programming at schools and community-based sites through Linking Instruction Nurturing Knowledge (LINK) Club. Link Clubs…

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An Interview with Sister Grace

Editor’s Note: In this video blog, Overseas Lay Missioner Joleen Johnson interviews Sister Grace, a Sister of Allegany in Kingston, Jamaica. Sister Grace shares her story of joining the Franciscan sisters and learning to love and serve the poor and marginalized of our communities. Question for Reflection: How have you developed your lifelong ministry? In…

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Kindness

Editor’s note: DC Service Corps volunteer Erin Frances Reinhart, who ministers with Little Friends for Peace, shares the impact of a peace education workshop for students on kindness. Little Friends for Peace provides in-school and after-school programming for students at many sites, including schools in Riverdale Park, Maryland, Alexandria, Virginia, and Washington, DC. I have…

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Loneliness and Resilience

Editor’s note: Hogar Nuestra Casa, a home for girls who have experienced sexual abuse, is one of missioner Domonique Thompson’s ministry sites in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Reflecting on accompanying the girls through holidays like Christmas and Father’s Day, she recognizes how this ministry has expanded her understanding of both the impact of trauma and the power…

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Humility in Franciscan Mission

Editor’s note: Missioner Mari Snyder reflects on how she is learning humility, a key Franciscan value, through her ministries in the US-Mexico border region. Experiencing humility on mission is an oh-so-very-frequent occurrence. The words minor and lesser and to live on the margins of society are words used within the Franciscan community to describe –…

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Trust

Editor’s note: DC Service Corps volunteer Erin Frances Reinhart leads peace workshops at organizations throughout the DC area with her ministry site, Little Friends for Peace. While leading a workshop on trust at the Father McKenna Center, Erin Frances was challenged to trust herself, others, and God more deeply. Little Friends for Peace is an…

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5 Tips for Talking About Restorative Justice

Editor’s note: Originally published on the Catholic Mobilizing Network blog on January 30, 2023, returned missioner Maeve Gilheney-Gallagher shares five tips on how to talk about restorative justice with those who have never heard of it. My first introduction to restorative justice was accidental.  I was one hour into a 12-hour road trip from my…

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Pressing Questions

Editor’s Note: Lay Missioner Mari Snyder reflects on the hardships of migration as she follows a trail through the Sonoran Desert on the U.S.-Mexico border. I invite you to look at the following picture and note your very first thought before reading further. Yes, the Sonoran Desert and its mountains are simply stunning; they’re a…

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A Feast Day for Our Wholly Human Families

Editor’s note: Reflecting on the recent Feast of the Holy Family, missioner Mari Snyder shares the mission statement, written during FMS Formation, that grounds her call to serve. Her experiences serving at the Migrant Resource Center this year have only deepened her call to serve “wholly human” families that she meets on the Border. Early…

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Day 12: Joyful Voice

Editor’s note: On this twelfth and final day of our Advent and Christmas blog series “His Light Would Not Go Out,” FMS board member Teresa Redder, OFS, reflects on the courageous persistence needed to be a joyful voice for justice in our world. Over the long Thanksgiving weekend, my husband Jeff and I enjoyed some…

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When You Say YES to God

Editor’s Note: After two years of mission in the U.S.-Mexico border region, Overseas Lay Missioner Rhonda Eckerman shares her favorite memories of service and recounts the joys that come with saying “yes” to God.  Two years ago I said yes to Franciscan Mission Service and to a move to the U.S. – Mexico border taking…

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The Transient Southwest

Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Julia Pinto shares glimpses, through poetry and prose, of the ever-changing nature of accompanying migrants on the U.S.-Mexico Border region.   Few people around, fewer things to do and see, Why do attachments here Seem to form so easily?   Neighbors, volunteer friends, confidantes, It all feels in vain. Mucho dolor…

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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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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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Ministry Grounded in Gratitude

Editor’s Note: DCSC volunteer Domonique Thompson shares an experience from her placement site at the Father McKenna Center. She reflects on an encounter with one of the men, leading to long-term lessons and deep gratitude. As we are entering the coldest times of this winter season, it puts the meaning of homeless into a different…

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“God, You and I Dance.”

Editor’s note: Madeline McKissick, FMS Development Associate, reflects on her passion for dance and that correlation to the Lord’s relationship with each of his children. The beauty of the combined movement, the giving and taking between two entities, and the goodness of new creation from mutual reciprocity.  I began taking dance classes when I was…

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Scripture, Alive

Editor’s note: Through the lens of scripture, DCSC volunteer, Emily Dold, recalls her experiences of God’s providence and peace at the Father McKenna Center. Soapy streaks marked the plastic folding table where I had successfully captured the bits of food, now between the textured ridges of the towel. The towel was certainly well-designed for the…

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Walking Together as Children of God

              The world is filled with countless good, loving, caring, and compassionate people.  Yet today, many of these wonderful people face reprehensible and unjust suffering at the hands of their fellow human brothers and sisters.   For black lives in America, the suffering has gone on far too long, in countless and immeasurable ways.  Ways in…

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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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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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Rest In Our Past

Editor’s note: Becky, a current missioner in Cochabamba, Bolivia, reflects upon how her entire mission journey with FMS illuminates her present moment. She became a FMS missioner in 2018, and attended formation with class 34 in the fall of 2018. Upon discerning to be present to those in Guatemala, she left in January of 2019…

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Trusting In God’s Tomorrow

Editor’s note: DCSC volunteer Michael Broughton reflects on the ways trusting in God’s plan has brought him to FMS, along with new experiences, friends and passions for helping those in need. Hello! Since the last time I published a blog post, my life here in D.C. has transformed quite a bit. I have grown to…

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Old Habits Die Hard in Community

Editor’s note: DCSC volunteer Kate Keeley reflects on a recent retreat with her fellow year-long volunteers and the ways this experience has opened her heart to a new way of understanding community life.  For a long time, I thought I understood what it meant to be in community. I come from multiple tight-knit communities: a…

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Peter

Editor’s note: Missioner Hannah Hagarty currently serving in Kingston, Jamaica reflects on 5 words that have become the foundation for her time on mission so far and the ways these words are exemplified in her friend Peter, a 15 year old boy from Jamaica living in a home for boys born HIV positive.  Presence. Love.…

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Understanding Servant Leadership

Editor’s note: DC Service Corps volunteer Matthew Fichter reflects on what it means to integrate leading and serving through his experiences at the Fr. Mckenna Center as well as lessons discussed in the book “Toxic Charity” by Robert Lupton.  Prior to our February retreat at Harpers Ferry, the DC Service Corps team was asked to…

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His Simple, Divine Provision

Editor’s note: Missioner Becky Kriedler adjusts to her new life in Bolivia where she will be serving for the next two years. In this piece, Becky reflects on the ways God continues to show her light, love and support amidst such a new and unpredictable journey. One of the things that made me so excited…

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God Leads the Blind

Editor’s note: Missioner Anna has just begun her journey in Bolivia and reflects on the ways her experiences on mission so far are teaching her how to really listen.  In my last blog post, I spoke of the true Spirit of Christmas, the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit prompts us to speak to others. While…

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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 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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