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Simple Living

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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On Decision-Making Circles

Editor’s Note: DCSC volunteer Fede Wettstein ponders the impactful reality of one’s decision-making bubble brought about from our DCSC Formational reading, “The Defining Decade.” On Tuesday afternoons, we have Franciscan Formation sessions with DC Service Corps. Throughout the year, these sessions have taken the form of discussions, workshops, or presentations with topics ranging from spirituality…

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Meals Made to Share

Editor’s Note: DCSC volunteer Airianna Beitler shares her experience of cooking for our great, big Casa San Salvador community. She delves into the importance of food for her and the significance of being able to share this with others. Food is very important to how people express themselves and their cultures. You can guess that…

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Constantly Immaculate: From Luxury Hotel to Franciscan Home Base

Editor’s Note: Lay Missioner Megan Hamilton delves into the history and Franciscan connections of her daily home-base within the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany convent in Kingston, Jamaica. Megan would like to thank her friend Adrianna Amari who contributed critical research on Constant Spring Hotel. At my November 16, 2019 Commissioning Mass in Washington DC I…

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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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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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How COVID Affects Life in an Intentional Community

Editor’s Note: DCSC volunteer, Airianna Beitler, brings the reader into Casa community life during this time of pandemic through the personal lens of various photos taken thus far.  As everyone is aware, we live in an intentional community. As with any community, it can be stressful at times, but it’s also different this year because…

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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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Rest

Editor’s note: Current lay missioner in Formation, Jenny Tsui, gives a new perspective to the often overlooked afternoon nap, a deliberate choice of freedom and trust in the Lord.  One of the new habits I’ve adopted in Formation is a brief, post-lunch nap. Spurred on by the inspiring example of some of my Casa-mates and…

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Convent COVID Retreats and What I’ve Learned…

Editor’s note: Megan Hamilton, an FMS missioner serving in Kingston, Jamaica reflects on her time during the pandemic, the many things she has learned, the idea of intentional luxury, and what it means to truly live the Franciscan charism.  I’ve spent most of the last six months self-quarantined in an historic building in Kingston, Jamaica…

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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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Finding Saint Friends for the Journey

Editor’s note: FMS Communications Associate, Bekah Galucki, reflects on her journey towards the Lord thus far. Pondering life through the lens of hindsight, she pauses to acknowledge the great distance of her walk already taken. She reflects on the impact and kinship of St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Francis of Assisi, who have both…

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Casa Love

Casa Love

Editor’s note: In this blog, new missioner Rhonda Eckerman introduces her experience within Casa San Salvador. Coming into this new space, she reflects on the familiarity of the house as well as the community that’s been deeply ingrained within its foundation. She invites the reader into her home and onto the front porch for a…

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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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Summum Bonum

Editor’s note: In this excerpt from Sunrise of the Soul, guest writer Gerard Thomas Straub reflects on the intersection of Franciscan spirituality and poverty. St. Francis’s love of not only the poor but of poverty itself led me to explore the worst slums on earth in order to understand the saint’s deeper meaning, his radical…

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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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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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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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Journey To Self

Editor’s note: Missioner Sabrina invites us in to her inner world by reflecting on her relationship with God, her journey on mission, and a poem by Kahlil Gibran that illustrates her emotions during this turbulent time in her life right now.  Today I want to speak to you, God, to she, to the feminine, 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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Trusting God is Like Getting a Haircut

Editor’s note: DC Service Corps volunteer Julia reflects on the annual FMS Re-Entry Retreat, a time of welcoming reflection for our returned overseas missioners, and how this experience has led to new friendships and transformative haircuts.  With January comes a new year and the annual FMS Re-Entry Retreat, when missioners return from overseas and the…

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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 7: Presence

Editor’s note: Deanna Wolf, good friend to former staff member Bridget Higginbotham and previous casa resident and volunteer for the Columban Center for Outreach and Advocacy reflects on the word “presence”. Deanna discusses the impact a simple engraving on a bracelet has had on her life, as well as her relationship with both herself and…

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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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Not Where You Go, But Who You Travel With

Editor’s Note: DCSC volunteer Julia reflects on the unexpected, beautiful discoveries she made during a work trip to Chicago. Julia touches on friendship, self discovery, and Franciscan values throughout her writing.  Work Trip in Chicago? Sign Me Up!  This blog idea comes to you by courtesy of Mrs. Nichole Petty. When my site supervisor, Dr.…

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If It’s Not Of You God, I Don’t Want It

Editor’s Note: DCSC volunteer Kate reflects on a sentiment offered by a good friend that has helped re-shape the ways she understands both herself and her relationship with God.  These are the words that a good friend and spiritual mentor of mine, BryAnna, told me to repeat to myself when my soul feels torn. When…

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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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A Concept: 100% Contemplation & 100% Action.. Is There a Word For That?

Editor’s note: Missioner Tim Shelgren reflects on the practice of contemplation and action and the ways this state of being has impacted his journey thus far.  “There’s no word for it in English.” This is a phrase my eldest son Troy, who lives in the German speaking part of Switzerland, often uses when he is…

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Art, Faith, Goodbyes and the Former Rich, Italian Party Boy

Editor’s Note: Missioner in formation, Megan, reflects on her journey in DC so far and the places she’s found beauty “wherever it rests.”   I have been thinking about the intersection of art and faith. I’m wearing a new set of clothes. Bought some at the Goodwill. They fit great, and I love ‘em. But…they’re a…

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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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