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Peace and Justice

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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Advent Day 19: Light

Editor’s note: FMS Missioner SarahJane Cauzillo currently serving in Cochabamba, Bolivia offers an Advent reflection ‘light’.  It is the rainy season here in Bolivia. In just a moment, a clear blue sky can be completely transformed as the dark clouds come rolling over the mountaintops. The sun can be covered in an instant as the…

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Advent Day 18: Growth

Editor’s note: DCSC Volunteer Hannah Puvalowski reflects on ‘growth’ through prayer and personal experiences.  The sun, flowers, and the renowned DC cherry blossom trees all so vibrantly express growth. However, in the current season of winter, a season characterized by dark and cold days, it is easy to feel stuck and not connected to God.…

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Advent Day 17: Speak

Editor’s note: FMS missioner Anna Metzger reflects on the ways the Holy Spirit speaks to us throughout the Christmas Season.  Walking around town during the Holiday season, we see many signs and hear countless cheerful remarks.  When shopping in stores, you’ll read signs that say “O Holy Night,” “Santa is Coming to Town,” “Jesus is…

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Advent Day 15: Love

A Love Letter For A Dark Night My Beloved Child, Thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing your deepest thoughts and emotions with me. I hope that by verbalizing and naming them that they gave you a sense of liberation. Being true to your own feelings and honoring them will allow you to discover…

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Advent Day 14: Silence

Editor’s note: Former DCSC volunteer, Kathleen Strycula, offers a reflection on ‘silence’ for day 14 of the Advent season.  I turn off the car radio, pause the music, and close the long queue of podcasts I have lined up for listening. Silence envelops the car as I make my morning drive into work. By turns…

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Advent Day 12: Peace

Editor’s note: DCSC alumni Amanda Saunders celebrates day 12 of Advent season with a beautiful reflection on ‘peace’.  In May of 1999, I had just finished pre-k at this place called “Tender Loving Care” where I had a teacher named Ms. Rose Mary and she was my absolute favorite.  This story takes place the following…

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Advent Day 11: Forgive

Editor’s note: Missioner Hannah Hagarty currently serving in Kingston, Jamaica reflects on what it means to forgive after the injustices she’s witnessed while serving overseas so far.  Children born with HIV. Children that have been abandoned by their families because they were born with a physical or mental disability. Women and men in my close…

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Advent Day 9: Healing

Editor’s note: Missioner Tim Shelgren serving in Kingston, Jamaica offers an advent reflection on healing by sharing some stories of the “extraordinary healers” he has encountered throughout his time on mission so far and his new found understanding of what Jesus might have meant when he used the term “greater works”.   “And Greater Works Than…

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Advent Day 6: Trust

Editor’s note: DCSC volunteer Kate reflects on the word “trust” this Advent season through song lyrics and the Annunciation story of Our Lady. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8_475FKJWQ I have traveled many moonless nights Cold and weary with a babe inside And I wonder what I’ve done Holy Father you have come And chosen me now To carry your…

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Advent Day 4: Patience

Edtior’s Note: In this blog, FMS Board member and secular Franciscan, Laura Rainey, OFS, shares a reflection from “Jesus Calling” that helps her focus and slow down during the season of Advent. ‘Much, much stress results from your wanting to make things happen before their times have come. One of the main ways I assert…

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Love Personified

Editor’s Note: Regular readers of the FMS blog are familiar with the reflections of FMS missioners and volunteers. Today, however, we share with you a different voice, that of Bradley Hagarty, father of first-year missioner Hannah Hagarty. While not serving overseas as his daughter is, Bradley is part of the FMS story because his story…

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The Odd Uneven Time

Editor’s note: Megan, a DC Service Corps volunteer, uses poetry to reflect on change within her present life.  I think change is so scary because it forces us to face our inner demons head on rather than hiding behind comfort. Human beings are all creatures of comfort to some extent. Some more than others, but…

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The Slow Work of God and Cooking Beans

Editor’s note: DC Service Corps associate Hannah reflects on the ways God is slowly moving through her life throughout this new beginning.  According to a recent “guess how many beans in the jar” activity at a social hosted by Catholic Volunteer Network, an average serving of beans consists of 1100 beans.  A few weeks ago,…

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Transitus Speech — Honoring the Life and Death of Saint Francis

Editor’s note: Executive Director Elizabeth Hughes shared the Transitus Reflection at the Franciscan Monastery.  Liz focused on St. Francis’ message of humility, fraternity, and trust and how we continue to live that today. Good evening.  Thank you for the invitation to share with you tonight.  My name is Liz Hughes, and I am the Executive…

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God’s Language of Love

Editor’s note: Former missioner Erin reflects on her time in Guatemala and the many ways love broke all barriers during her time on mission as she readjusts to her life back in the states. After being back from Guatemala now almost three months, I have found myself taking the time to  re-read my journals, blogs,…

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Honestly, a Continuous Work in Progress

Editor’s note: Missioner SarahJane reflects on her personal privileges and what that means while serving others in a different part of the world.  “We don’t go to the margins to make a difference. We go to the margins so that folks at the margins make us different.” “We want to bridge the gap that exists…

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Serving Children Safely and Effectively

Editor’s note: Missioner Tim Shelgren reflects on maintaining healthy boundaries with youth who long for love and affection.  As a missioner serving children over the past eighteen months, I have been introduced to a very real problem. Not only in Jamaica, but also in America and around the world, child abuse has become a common…

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