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Day 10: Tradition

Editor’s note: Teresa Redder is a Secular Franciscan and a member of the FMS Board of Directors. She also serves as the secretary for St. Katharine Drexel Region (OFS) and her local fraternity’s formation director. She is married and has four children and six grandchildren. In this blog, Teresa reflects on the richness of Polish…

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Hogar. Home.

Editor’s Note: Sabrina Portner, Missioner in Bolivia, reflects on the definition of “home” and the vulnerability that she is experiencing as she discovers a new home within her ministry site in Cochabamba. Hogar. Home. Ambiente familiar que se desarrolla en la vivienda habitual. Family atmosphere that develops in the habitual residence. When I think of…

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The Other Side of “Where are you going?”

“Where are you going?” It’s a familiar, important question for our missioners serving overseas, but also relevant for our year-long volunteers, who often arrive in DC for the start of their service program after considering various options for after college. At the same time, all of our missioners and volunteers come from somewhere, and connections…

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Love Around A Table

Editor’s Note: DC Service Corps member, Nayeli Garcia reflects on how the simple act of sitting down at the dinner table has shaped her family’s relationships. This Advent season is a time for us to celebrate the coming of Jesus, but it is also a time to celebrate, with family, all of the good we’ve…

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Love Blooms in the Mystery of Life

Editor’s Note: Sabrina Portner, Missioner who recently finished Formation and will soon be going to Bolivia to serve for two years, reflects on the love that has bloomed from her Grandmother’s life and death. I have been greatly blessed by my time of Formation with FMS. I say this even though during the three short…

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DBCR Is Not Like Any Other School

Editor’s note: DC Service Corps Volunteer Anne-Marie Elsinger shares her admiration for her ministry site, Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School. Tucked into a corner in Takoma park, Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School and Corporate Work Study Program seems like an ordinary Catholic high school; however, DBCR is not like any other school. It…

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Come to the Table: Community

Editor’s note: Missioner Maggie Van Roekel begins a three-part blog series on how kitchens and cooking have become important to her on mission. In part one, Maggie shares her memories around the Carmen Pampa volunteer house kitchen table.  To some extent, I’ve always been pretty comfortable in the kitchen. Growing up, I spent a lot of…

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Faith Calls Us to be Neighbors: When the Advent Promise Has No Resonance

Editor’s note: As a part of FMS’ 2017 Advent blog series, Fr. Joe Nangle, OFM, reflects on the meaning of Advent and the need to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Christian-Catholics identify closely with each of the Church’s liturgical seasons. We rejoice at Emanuel—God-With-Us—during Christmastime; we recognize our need for…

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A Boricua Thinking of Home

Editor’s note:Missioner Stephanie Ashley Caban shares her perspective as a Puerto Rican concerned about the island after the devastation from Hurricane Maria.   “Hey mom, I’m at a baseball game right now with the Casa, can I call you ba-”   “Hola mami, soy yo, tu abuela! Te amo mucho!”   “Abuela!!! Como está usted?!…

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Full Arms, Fuller Heart

Editor’s note: Missioner Amanda Ceraldi shares her interactions with the families of the children she cares for at Valley of the Angels School in Guatemala. I could hear them from across the parking lot. A group of girls screaming my name: “Amanda, Amanda, Amanda, we have a surprise for you!” They pulled me into the…

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Give the Gift of Presence on World Alzheimer’s Day and Every Day

Editor’s note: Missioner Anna Klonowski reflects on her personal connections to people with Alzheimer’s on World Alzheimer’s Day. In 2010, I was on the brink of newfound freedom, sitting in the backseat of a Driver’s Ed car waiting for my turn to cruise (or rather, slowly and nervously jolt) down Main Street. My friend was…

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Many Passions: An Interview with Stephanie Ashley Caban

Editor’s note: Missioner SarahJane Cauzillo compiled her interview with fellow missioner in training Stephanie Ashley Caban, who shared her journey to FMS and towards a sense of cultural identity. It’s early in the morning. The sun has yet to grace us with its presence, and the grass still glistens with the night’s dropping of dew.…

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The World Is Thy Ship, Not Thy Home

Editor’s note: Missioner Amanda Ceraldi shares her sacred connection with her late grandfather and his impact upon her service. I cannot remember a time in my life where my grandfather wasn’t there supporting me in everything that I did. He watched me play lacrosse growing up, he was at my high school and college graduations,…

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Joy Incarcerated

Editor’s note:Missioner Catherine Sullivan offers a photo essay that is a window into a special day in her prison ministry–her goddaughter Michelle’s baptismal presentation.  [unitegallery CHS717] Reflection question: Often light shines the brightest through the darkness. Where can you find light in your hardships?

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A Supportive Presence

Editor’s Note: In light of Father’s Day, missioner Patrick Montine reflects on the role of father figures and how he’s seen them represented in Jamaica. Last weekend I was able to witness the baptism of several little babies out at Saint Mark’s in Grange Hill, Jamaica. There were about seven or eight babies that got baptized;…

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Letting Go and Expanding Your Capacity for Love

Editor’s Note: Missioner Catherine Sullivan shares how she’s had to shift her concepts of family life during her transition from her home in the United States to her new home in Cochabamba, Bolivia. I have always been very close with my family. They were my first prayers upon waking, my last prayers before sleeping, and a…

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Anticipation as a Blessing

Editor’s Note: Missioner Patrick Montine reflects on the great joy he experienced when his family came to Jamaica to visit him during Christmas. Through this joy and the anticipation that preceded it, Patrick came to deeper realizations about the nature of anticipation and its connection to our relationship with God. Happy New Year everybody. I…

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What Missioners Can Do For Their Loved Ones

Editor’s Note: As the members of Class 31 begin to leave for mission, we thought it would be helpful to write a post geared towards the missioners who are leaving, as well as the missioners who are already overseas. What can you do for your friends and family before and after you leave to make this transition…

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Comfort and Joy: The Joy of Being Home

Editor’s note: As part of our “Comfort and Joy” Advent/Christmas blog series, current missioner Amanda Ceraldi shares how her definition of home has shifted since moving away from home and settling in to mission life in Guatemala.  I have found during my first year on mission that I am constantly being called to go outside of my comfort…

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Comfort and Joy: Even in the Darkness

Editor’s Note: As part of our “Comfort and Joy” Advent/Christmas blog series, newly commissioned missioner Catherine Sullivan shares her thoughts on preparing to leave for mission and how discomfort and sadness are made new through God. I would have to say that personally, joy is my normal state of being. I am the one who sings in the kitchen…

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Comfort and Joy: Accompaniment

Editor’s Note: As part of our “Comfort and Joy” Advent/Christmas blog series, former community member and friend of FMS Kate Flannery shares the comfort she’s found during her time living at home with her parents before her wedding. My worn tires coasted into our driveway after their 900 mile journey. Only a year and a half ago, they had…

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Making an impression

Editor’s Note: The following post was written by Nate Mortenson. Pastoral Universitario This is the group Mary and I have been participating in since we moved to the UAC – Carmen Pampa. It’s a wonderful group—usually about 7 to 15 attend the Tuesday evening gatherings where we sing, pray and read from the bible, and…

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My Bolivian Angel

I remember the moment well. It was April of last year. I was on a Skype call with Kim, the director of FMS. I was telling her about how, with language school behind me, I was just starting to settle into my new ministry sites. We had just moved into the Centro Social, so that…

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Feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes

“Would you do me the kindness of coming here?” This is the invitation that Mary extended to Bernadette in the Grotto at Lourdes in 1858, asking her to meet there for 15 days. This invitation is offered to every person, even 157 years later because Lourdes isn’t about an apparition, it’s not about a girl…

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Hard Times

I was sure that when my mother died it would be the most difficult experience of my life. But somehow looking back, life seems more challenging right now. I don’ think I’ve ever felt as alone as I do here. Or as lost. Or as disconnected from God. This may sound confusing if you are…

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Friendly Support

“One day more means one day less.” This is something my girls at prison say. It’s sort of an inside joke. Once I understood what it meant, I got to thinking, “Shoot, sometimes I feel the same way when I’m homesick.” In the same way, I too have “time to complete” before I can go…

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We are One

Editor’s Note: The following is part of our daily holiday series celebrating “The Shared World.” The way I have come to see human beings as the same is not in one event, but in a series of small gestures. It is in the way people interact with me as if I understand everything: whether at my…

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One Ear at a Time

Editor’s Note: The following is part of our daily holiday series celebrating “The Shared World.” New missioner Brandon talks about an experience that lead him to Franciscan Mission Service and his mission call.  I walked up a very steep hill along an ever-narrowing pathway towards what would be my home for the next eight weeks in…

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All Soul’s Day in Bolivia

Editor’s Note: Nate shares his thoughts and photos. Last weekend was All Souls’ Day. It was a beautiful holiday, and Mary and I got to see quite a bit of local culture. During this weekend people here make bread called TantaWawas. It can be translated to tons of babies. Wawa is a Quechua word for baby. They…

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Community: A Demonstration of Love

Third-year missioner Kitzi Hendricks continues to reflect on her experience of finding community in Bolivia.  “Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world where people so often either ignore or fight each other. It is a sign that we don’t need a lot of money to be happy–in fact, the opposite.”–…

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Mission Monday: “Hospitality”

Since they arrived in January early this year, the missioners have been living with host families while engaging language study. In this post, missioner Mary Mortenson describes the joys and graces she has received while living with her host family in Cochabamba, the Mustafa family.  Nate and I have been here for a little under…

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Franciscan Friday: Prayers from South Africa

South Africa is on our hearts and in our minds as we lead seven college students on a Short-Term Mission and Global Awareness Trip this week. By engaging with locals, the students will learn about nation’s history of apartheid as well as current realities faced by some of its residents, including HIV/AIDS and poverty. Each…

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What is an adequate response to the love that I have received?

“What is an adequate response to the love that I have received?”  New Missioner Annemarie tries to answer that question after spending the last month saying goodbyes to friends and family before leaving for her two-year mission in Bolivia. How can I not smile? When I am surrounded by so much love from family, from…

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Encountering God in Those Back Home

While we all wait and prepare for the coming of Christ this Advent season, the families of Lay Mission Class 25 have even more for which to prepare. Having completed their mission terms abroad, Class 25 is returning to the U.S. this season. They will begin their returned mission to North America by celebrating the…

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Mission and Motherhood: Growing in God

Patty Sollmann, returned missioner and mother of three “I compare my mission experience to motherhood, and the impact that motherhood has on one’s life,” says Patty Sollmann, who served in Guatemala from 1992 to 1994 as part of FMS’ second lay mission class. “Both have stretched me and challenged me to embrace God’s plan of…

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Annual fundraiser gathers together family of Franciscans

Guests of honor:  Cardinal McCarrick, Cardinal Wuerl, Dr. Margaret Melady, Ambassador Thomas Melady Friday night, guests mingled and discussed their common interests of service, peace, justice and care for creation at St. Francis Hall in Washington, DC, for the World Care Benefit and Celebration, which raised more than $25,000 in support of FMS. Guests of…

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Prayers for Christmas: Dreams and Goals

“My hope for the new year is that everyone I love fulfills their dreams and goals.” – Sylvia, a student worker at the pastoral juvenil vocacional in Bolivia where missioner Lynn Myrick teaches English and coordinates a film series. On this New Year’s Eve, Franciscan Mission Service certainly doesn’t believe that “old acquaintances should be forgot and…

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Prayers for Christmas: Family

The Gospel for today looks at Jesus’ family tree. Forty-two generations culminate in the birth of Christ. Generations of our own families gather in celebration of this birth this time of year. “I thank God that for having had one more year of my family being together. At Christmas we reconfirm the unity of our…

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Prayers for Christmas: Art and Sharing

Photo from flickr, localjapantimes Today’s prayer for Christmas comes from Andrew Kaleya, a Zambian artist and friend of missioners Sandra and Bryce Bradford. “My prayer is to support my family through art in this coming year, and also to be able to share with others the little things which we have during Christmas.”   Andrew…

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