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Choosing the Lesser Ministry

Editor’s Note: Lay missioner Ralph Anderson, OFS recalls his previous mission experiences and reflects on how God is calling him to serve in “lesser” ministries in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Mission is not something new in my life. My first experience was in 1966 with the Knights of Columbus. I was 12 years old, and we drove…

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An Appeal for Prison Ministers Everywhere

Editor’s Note: Lay missioner Mari Snyder describes her experience serving in prison ministry and encourages others to perform this corporal act of mercy. I’ll miss climbing up into Norma’s white pickup truck and heading north 7.5 miles, speaking with my friend in my best “slow and halting” Spanish. We can stop shielding our eyes from…

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Day 15: Poverty

Editor’s Note: For day 15 of our Advent series, “The Day of Joy Drew Near,” Ralph Anderson, a newly-commissioned missioner shares his thoughts on poverty and describes how one of his Franciscan brothers embodied this virtue. When the list for the Advent blog series topics came around, I was the last to sign up. The…

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A Happy Ending

Editor’s Note: Ralph Anderson, a newly-commissioned missioner, reflects on FMS’s in-depth Formation for Overseas Lay Missioners and his experiences with living in intentional community. “What can they possibly teach me in thirteen weeks of Formation?” That was my thought before beginning Formation at Casa San Salvador. I knew there was a lot I needed to…

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Nourishment on Mission

Editor’s Note: Lay missioner Victor Artaiz relates to Jesus’ moments of rest and prayer in Scripture by sharing his own moments of prayerful reflection on mission. Entering into the 22nd month of my mission journey here in Bolivia, I began to reflect on how Jesus and holy scripture continue to light my path and provide…

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A Tribute to Our Lay Missioners

Editor’s Note: As this year’s Overseas Lay Missioner Formation comes to a close, DC Service Corps member Bohdan O’Shaughnessy dedicates this blog to FMS’s three recently commissioned missioners. In the not-too-distant future, the Casa is losing our three lay missioners as they embark to their international ministry sites. Last Saturday was their Commissioning Mass, 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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Breathing in the Yearning of God

Editor’s Note: Missioner SarahJane Cauzillo reflects on the constant cooperation and presence of the Creator and creation. She describes the mountains that have guided her heart towards a deeper connection with God. The words of Cynthia Bourgeault – mystic, Episcopal priest, and writer – ran through my ears as I stood surveying the mountain range…

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Embracing Littleness

Editor’s Note: DC Service Corps volunteer, Amy Brandt, reflects on the purpose behind the smaller details of her daily routine and how they play a powerful role in the bigger picture.  I’m a big picture kind of gal. I have dreams and I long to dive into them. My community members can attest to this,…

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Time To Celebrate!

Editor’s Note: As Tim Shelgren approaches his one year anniversary in Kingston, Jamaica, he shares a selection of photos that express the main themes he has experienced thus far during mission. Reflection Question: Which moments from your past year capture strong themes of your spiritual journey?

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Commissioning 2018: Grounded in a Call, Grounded in Community

After an intensive three-month period of formation with Franciscan Mission Service (FMS), Becky Kreidler, Hannah Hagarty, and Sabrina Portner were commissioned as lay missioners who will accompany members of economically poor communities abroad. The November day of the ceremony included a Mass, presided over by Br. Ignatius (Iggy) Harding, OFM, at the Franciscan Monastery of…

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Beginner Level Transformation… In the Soup Kitchen

Editor’s Note: Current Missioner, Tim Shelgren describes the transformation and change of perspective he experienced through serving at a soup kitchen in Kingston, Jamaica. Every week, I spend a few hours serving at the Missionaries of the Poor (MOP) soup kitchen in downtown Kingston called Jesus the Redeemer. Recently, a group of volunteers from the…

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The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Franciscan Simplicity

Editor’s note: DCSC member Madonna Enwe shares about a book she read about decluttering and organizing, reflecting on how it helped her learn simplicity and presence in the moment. “Life becomes far easier once you know that things will still work out even if you are lacking something.” This is a line from Marie Kondo’s…

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Benedictine Encounters

Editor’s note: Missioner Anna Klonowski reflects on times she has experienced hospitality and how she has felt moved to reflect that example in her own life. As an FMS lay missioner, I am a proud member of a diverse, widespread, Franciscan family. I am a part of this family today largely because of my formation…

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Were You There: A Time to Expose, Implore, and Adore

Editor’s note: Brother Thomas Piolata, OFM Cap., offers a reflection on how Lent is a time to open our wounds to Christ in order to receive his grace and adore him. “[T]he desert is the place of silence, of solitude…The desert is the place…which sets man before the ultimate demands…In putting aside all preoccupations man…

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Welcome New Development Associate Sarah!

As Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio stepped onto the balcony on March 13, 2013 and made his first public appearance as Pope Francis, University of Dallas student Sarah Sokora stood in the crowd in St. Peter’s Square and witnessed a wave of relief wash over the people. She remembers joyfully thinking, “We have a father again.” After…

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Reality Strikes

Editor’s Note: The following is part of our daily holiday series celebrating “The Shared World.” As part of his ministry, Jeff works alongside the work delegates in the different prisons to coordinate material purchases and machinery upkeep for the inmates’ workshops. Through his relationships with the artisans and leather workers, he also works as one of their…

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The Marginalization of Farmers and Learning from Communities

Lay missioner Annemarie Barrett continues our series, “Mother Earth Teaches: Digging Deeper into Faith, Community and Justice.”    In connecting with the land, I am also growing closer to farmers. And in our time spent together I am learning more about their reality, their suffering and their resilience. In knowing the women in Santa Rosa,…

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Community 101: Listening

For the next four weeks, we will feature a four part series on faith in community every Franciscan Friday: “Community 101: An Introduction to Intentional Living”! and would like weekly contributors to highlight specific features of intentional-living in faith communities: Prayer, Listening, Sharing, and Learning to Love.  Today’s post is by Kaitlin Depuydt, one of…

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OFM Congress: Discussing Mission and Evangelization in the Franciscan Tradition

Communications Manager Bridget Higginbotham kicks-off a special blog series live from Rome, Italy.  It’s a historic week for the Orders of Friars Minor. Their first-ever international congress on mission and evangelization has drawn to Sassone (Rome), Italy, about 200 brothers from around the world – Madagascar, the Philippines, South Africa, Australia, Colombia, Pakistan, Brazil, Canada,…

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Mission Monday: A Third Year of Service for Annemarie and Jeff!

Today’s post features an exciting update about two current missioners in Cochabamba! Great news: second-year missioners Annemarie Barrett and Jeff Sved have each decided to stay in Bolivia for a third year of mission! When our lay missioners are commissioned, they agree to a minimum of two years of service, but they can renew their…

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Takeaway Wednesday: Nonprofit Leadership Program!

Update: We have a new title for our domestic service program: Nonprofit Leadership Program!  This is an opportunity for Catholic women and men to gain experience in nonprofit work at Franciscan Mission Service while receiving faith formation through intentional community living and direct service.  Our 13 month program is a distinctive full-time volunteer program combining…

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Poor and Free: “Letting Go of Lent”

Franciscan Mission Service presents:  “Poor and Free: A Spiritual Yes to Less” every Friday in Lent Series contributions:  Shane Claiborne: Part I, Part II, and Part III Gigi Gruenke: “Invest in God’s Dream” Jack Jezreel: “The Simple Math of Voluntary Simplicity” Amy Echeverria: “Saying ‘Yes’ to Love” Sr. Marie Lucey (OSF): “Faith Keeps Hope Alive” Marie Dennis: “Beyond Detachment” Fr. Martin…

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Forming New Disciples: 2014 World Care Benefit

Franciscan Mission Service recently celebrated the 2014 World Care Benefit! In today’s blog, we share the evening in a post of gratitude for Anselm Moons, OFM award recipient Jack Jezreel, keynote speaker Fr. Dan Horan, OFM, and all of our sponsors and members of the Franciscan family. As part of Friday night’s 2014 World Care…

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Mission Monday: “You’re Going to Have to Wait”

In today’s post, missioner Annemarie Barret reflects on the privilege of time and how waiting on others, on events, and life in general has personally affected her and informed her toward deeper ministry of presence. “You are going to have to wait.” I remember Hermano Ignacio’s warning when he visited during our formation in Washington,…

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Mission Monday: “How Life Prepared Me for Mission”

In today’s post, current missioner Hady Mendez reflects on how the relationships she developed and enjoyed before mission prepared her for her ministry of presence as a Franciscan lay missioner. When I was living in New York, I used to often go to a salon in Jersey City. Mary owned the salon. Lucy did my…

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Takeaway Wednesday: Saying “Yes” to the Culture of Encounter

Our Lenten series focuses on the joyful freedom of spiritual poverty. The Good News is that detachment of ownership leads us to greater reliance on God which makes us more available to love and serve the poor. Series contributions:  Shane Claiborne: “A Theology of Enough”: Part I, Part II, and Part III. Gigi Gruenke: “Invest in God’s…

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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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Poor and Free: “Invest in God’s Dream”

Franciscan Mission Service presents:  “Poor and Free: A Spiritual Yes to Less” every Friday in Lent Series contributions:  Shane Claiborne: Part I, Part II, and Part III Gigi Gruenke: “Invest in God’s Dream” Jack Jezreel: “The Simple Math of Voluntary Simplicity” Amy Echeverria: “Saying ‘Yes’ to Love” Sr. Marie Lucey (OSF): “Faith Keeps Hope Alive” Marie Dennis: “Beyond Detachment” Fr. Martin…

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Report from Guatemala: Potential New Service Site!

Thirty minutes east of Guatemala City, a Franciscan boarding school called Valley of the Angels lives its motto: “Give the best to the poor.” Their emphasis on restoring dignity through service resonates with Franciscan Mission Service Executive Director Kim Smolik. Executive Director Kim Smolik with girls from Livingstone, Guatemala.  The girls are friends of board member,…

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Visiting Christ the Prisoner: “Council”

Editor’s Note: This is Part III in a series called “Visiting Christ the Prisoner: A Look into Prison Ministry in Bolivia”. Read  Part I and Part II. Each of the six prisons are unique, but in each of them inmates govern themselves with an elected system of delegates who oversee various parts of the prison society.…

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Visiting Christ the Prisoner: “Chess”

Editor’s Note: This is Part II in a series called “Visiting Christ the Prisoner: A Look into Prison Ministry in Bolivia”.  Read Part I  and Part III. In this post, Jeff shares with us a story of his time in El Centro Productivo de San Antonio. Home to 500 men along with their wives and children, San Antonio is…

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Visiting Christ the Prisoner: “Plantas”

Editor’s Note: This is Part I a series called “Visiting Christ the Prisoner: A Look into Prison Ministry in Bolivia”. Read Part II and Part III.  Jeff shares a story of his time in El Penal de San Sebastián. Home to 800-900 men along with their wives and children, San Sebastián is one of the six prisons that Jeff regularly…

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Paz y Bien: Living as Minority

The third part of the Paz y Bien nonviolence series by lay missioner Annemarie Barrett:   “Poverty is a way of being by which the individual lets thing be what they are; one refuses to dominate them, subjugate them, and make them the objects of the will to power. One refuses to be over them…

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Maybe We Need To Be A Little More Like Thomas

“The Incredulity of Thomas” by Matthias Stom, public domain St. Thomas the Apostle gets a bad rap for doubting Jesus’ resurrection by saying, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” But before we…

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Francis and the Foolishness of God: Podcast Series, Episode 1

Our FMS podcasts bring the missioner formation classroom right into your home.  Our presenters speak on a number of topics including church history, Franciscan spirituality, simplicity, and social justice issues. Our latest podcasts focus on Fr. Joe Nangle’s book, “St. Francis and the Foolishness of God.”  Fr. Nangle takes listeners through the thought process behind…

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Mission Monday: Navigating the Market

Missioner Jeff Sved shares an update from Cochabamba, Bolivia where he’s learning that a busy outdoor market can look very different from the vendor’s point of view… As part of my normal Saturday routine (or as much of a “normal” routine as is possible), I spend the afternoon in the Cancha buying our week’s worth…

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Recommiting to a Life-Long Mission

Mission does not end with a flight back to the U.S. It does not end with the completion of a term of service or a year of volunteering.  Every three years, our returned missioners from across the country gather in Colorado for three days to reflect on this fact. This weekend, our retreat centers around…

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Natural Beauty Using Natural Ingredients

Recently Mary House, an organization where some of our Domestic Volunteers help out on Wednesdays, hosted a workshop on natural hair and skin care.  Try some of these tips we learned and go natural with things you can easily find in your kitchen! Photo taken by Sarah Cady via Flickr Hair Care Tips Apple Cider…

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Franciscan Friday: Visiting an AIDS Hospice

Today, travelers on our Short-Term Missions and Global Awareness Trip to South Africa visit an HIV/AIDS Hospice center.   A few months ago Domestic Volunteer Anna Robinson also went on this trip and visited patients affected by AIDS.  For this Franciscan Friday post, she shares with us a reflection on the experience and finding common ground…

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Budget Travel Tidbits for a Volunteer

Just because you have decided to dedicate your time and energy to service work, doesn’t mean you have to let go of that desire to explore the world.  In fact, volunteering can often open new doors to travel opportunities.  Here are a few tips we gathered from seasoned travelers in our office to keep your…

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What’s In a Name?

 Pope Francis! Papa Francis! Holy Father Francis! For a few months now people have excitedly called out the name of our new Pope and in many different ways.  But no matter how you say it, it refers to the same person and the same mission they are to carry out for the rest of their…

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Mission Monday: Mother and Community Love

For this Mission Monday post, Missioner Annemarie shares a story of the pain of a mother’s love and the healing power of a supportive community. Missioner Annemarie with her mom before she leaves for Bolivia. In the CEB that I have come to know in the northern zone of the city, there is a woman…

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FMS Podcasts: Liberation Theology

If you haven’t noticed yet, we have a few podcasts available on our SoundCloud profile covering a wide range of topics. From Franciscan spirituality and history to Catholicism and social justice, you can listen and learn right along with our missioner candidates in formation. The last two podcasts came from a talk Fr. Joe Nangle…

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Time for some fun!

Last week we made some suggestions on how to get to know your community members.  This week we add some other games to liven up your community nights! Our current community Domestic Volunteer community is settling in, sharing meals and laundry facilities.  It can take a lot of work to keep a community well and…

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Community Nights and Icebreakers

This week we’ve welcomed a new volunteer into Casa San Salvador, which means it’s time for a community night! Domestic Volunteers tend to have one community night per a week following a community meal. Community nights can be spiritual exercises/discussions, social justice awareness activities, a special event in D.C., or just watching a movie. But…

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Meet Our Newest Volunteer, Chanda!

This National Volunteer Week is a special one as we welcome our newest full-time domestic volunteer to the Franciscan Mission Service team. Our volunteers serve in our headquarters doing administrative work for 35 hours a week and then spend five hours doing direct service in the community. From the far lands of Zambia, where she…

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Alternative Spring Break with FMS: Advocating for a New Kind of Service Trip

University of Georgia students in an advocacy workshop with Russell Testa.  Five days into their alternative spring break trip to D.C., college students from the University of Georgia ditched the work gloves for a clipboard and a stack of talking points. Franciscan Mission Service’s newly developed Short-Term Mission and Global Awareness Trips includes a spring…

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Discernment Days – Is Mission for Me?

Perhaps you have just recently graduated from a college that’s cost you your life savings, countless sleepless nights, and many antisocial weekends. Or perhaps you just celebrated your 20th anniversary at a job you’ve kept through thick and thin. Whether you are 22 or 62, discerning a call to mission can be a journey. For…

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Take the First Step and Don’t Leave a Footprint!

Earth Day is in a couple of weeks and as a Franciscan organization we are looking forward to celebrating! With a new Pope expressing the urgent need of our attention to protecting the earth, a renewed push for environmental sustainability has rattled the religious world.  Search “catholic earth day” on Google and you will receive…

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