Ashley Caban
  Tim Shelgren


Overseas lay missioners from Class 33 will began their two-year period of service in early 2018. Ge to know our new class of missioners by reading about what led them to serve overseas with Franciscan Mission Service. Support a missioner by choosing their name from the form below.

Stephanie Ashley Caban

Hometown: Bronx, NY
Recent residence: New Paltz, NY

Path to FMS: Faith, acting, service, and Spanish are all fundamental aspects of who I am. I started doing community service in Preston High School and continued at SUNY New Paltz, where I received my BA in Communication Studies with a concentration in Intercultural Communications and a minor in Acting. A life-changing trip to the Dominican Republic led me to commit to a year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Reading Partners, a nonprofit literacy organization where my main job was community engagement.

Method of seeking God in everyday life: In other people! Strangers and friends have helped me explore all aspects of myself. I am able to face the world more courageously with them by my side.

Favorite Scripture passage: My favorite quote from Scripture changes every week, but I really like “Do everything in love,” (1 Corinthians 16:14) simply because I love love and giving it in copious amounts. It also serves as a great remainder for when loving isn’t my first reaction.

A Catholic role model: I used to go on retreats with cadets from the United States Military Academy and have become close friends with four of them who affectionately call themselves the Saint Squad. True friends are the definition of God’s greatest gifts – they love you at your darkest and keep you humble at your proudest. I look up to these four and am incredibly grateful for their presence in my life. Also, they are excellent dancers and I am all for dancing my way to heaven!

Favorite saint: I chose St. Martha as my Confirmation saint. I like her for how she grew into someone who nagged Jesus when her sister did not help her with chores into an example of how one’s faith can be more important than one’s religion, as she proved when her brother Lazarus died. I also have a fond devotion to St. Maria Goretti. I knew of her story of forgiveness and how difficult that must be. In the world that we live in today, forgiveness is definitely hard to come by. But after helping to build a chapel on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic, I look to her more than ever because she is named after my favorite chapel in the wonderful city of Los Calabazos.

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SarahJane Cauzillo

Hometown: Livonia, MI
Recent residence: Grand Rapids, MI

Path to FMS: I attended Grand Valley State University, where I graduated with a degree in Writing and International Relations. After a service trip abroad opportunity during college had fallen through, the Lord put the words on my heart: “not yet.” The opportunity to live in solidarity with God’s most oppressed and poor children through FMS’ overseas program is exactly what I feel called to do, and the program’s ministry of presence is in line with my approach to evangelization and relationship building.

Mission trips in Detroit showed me that many urban youth experience instability in their lives— many are starving to know and to be known. I want to be able to develop relationships, especially with young women, to assure them that they are worthy, valued, and cared for. I am eager to share my life experiences and my journey with the Lord to help young women navigate the definition of themselves as daughters of God.

Method of seeking God in everyday life: I try to look for Christ in each and every individual I meet. Everyone that walks into my life is a design and creation in the image of God, by God, and for God. If I can see Him within anyone I meet, I can know Christ better.

Favorite scripture passage: Luke 1:37-39, Mary’s call from the Lord, was in my heart when I first started thinking about going on mission. First, because she accepted the Lord’s will for her without counting the cost. Second, she declares and identifies herself as the handmaid of the Lord. And third, she immediately rushes to Elizabeth to serve her “with haste.” This inspires me, and during my time on mission, I hope to emulate and look up the Holy Mother.

A Catholic role model: My grandmother. In all ways, she is fully devoted to Christ, and the love that overflows from her very presence is the love of Christ. Her service to the Church, to the poor, and to her family is a living, inspiring, and powerful witness of the Gospel.

Favorite saint: The Blessed Mother exemplifies the genius of womanhood and the strength of motherhood. Her perfect humility, self-sacrifice, and tender love are what I most admire her for.

Faith traditions: My faith community has passed along the beautiful tradition of celebrating Saturday evening dinner with brothers and sisters in Christ from all Christian denominations: breaking bread, sharing a meal, and praising the Lord in song and prayer.

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Tim Shelgren

Hometown: Olean, NY
Recent residence: State College, PA

Path to FMS: My university career began as an adult with my degree in Organizational Management from Houghton College in upstate New York, and then a master’s degree in Community Counseling from St. Bonaventure University. I have worked as a hair stylist, massage therapist, and yoga teacher, and most recently as a counselor at a residential home for teenage boys. As a father of three children and grandfather of five, I am especially interested in working with children and teenagers who are without families.

Travel and short-term service have always been a part of my life. Now, I want to serve in a developing nation long enough to identify and be a part of the work that God is doing there. I feel empowered to go on mission with FMS because they support the fact that men and women over 50 years of age have the capacity to serve overseas.

Method of seeking God in everyday life: I wake up and read the daily readings and then a meditation email from Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM. I then use that message in the yoga class that I teach that morning like a body prayer. At night I close my eyes and clear my mind by repeating the mantra “Yeshua.”­—Jesus. Then I sit in the presence of God for eleven minutes before asking God to reveal Himself to me in my dreams.

Favorite Scripture passage: Jesus said to Peter and Andrew, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.Immediately, Peter and Andrew left their nets, and followed Jesus” (paraphrase, Mathew 4:19-20). In my words: ‘Leave the life that you know guys, trust me, and forget about your worldly concerns. We’ll head into the trenches of service together, and we’ll find God there!’ This interpretation gives me the courage that I need to: 1) disregard any culture-related schema I have acquired on how life should or shouldn’t unfold, 2) go on mission—i.e. to be a “fisher of men.”

A Catholic role model: Long before I converted to Catholicism, my idea of the most respectable Christian I knew was Dr. Robert J. Perelli, CJM. In 1981, Fr. Perelli founded an inner-city nonprofit organization called AIDS Family Services. To me, my friend Bob is like a superhero–a lot like Jesus. Both are progressive and grounded simultaneously. And both never stop giving, even at the bitter end.

Favorite saint: One of the practices that I am already enjoying as a recent convert to Catholicism is the calling on Saints to intercede in prayer. As I enter into my ministry, I am going to pray to St. Teresa of Calcutta to intercede for me.

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