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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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Dreaming and Discerning

Editor’s Note: DCSC volunteer Jennifer Eburuoh contemplates the various ways that God is calling her to serve and reflects on her year of service thus far. When I was a young child, I dreamed of being a missionary. I spent many days imagining a life among people and places unknown to me. I dreamed of…

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All Aboard to Tucson: Facing My Fears. Mission Accepted.

Editor’s Note: Lay missioner Julia Pinto reflects on how God strengthens her to face her fear of driving so that she can serve migrants at her ministry site. March 13, 2024 Lengthy disclaimer: When you go on mission, especially to do some hot-topic work like humanitarian aid on the US-Mexico border, people often act like…

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Day 5: Brotherhood

Editor’s note: Guest blogger Jeff Redder is a Secular Franciscan who currently serves as the minister of his local fraternity and as the JPIC Animator for St. Katharine Drexel Region. He is married, has four adult children, and six grandchildren. As part of our FMS’ Advent blog series, Jeff reflects on different faces of brotherhood,…

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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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Spotlight on Guatemala

During the beginning of the Easter season, Executive Director Liz Hughes visited the missioners in Guatemala as part of FMS’ commitment to an annual site visit for each mission site.  FMS missioners serve at Valley of the Angels School and Orphanage, located on the outskirts of Guatemala City. Founded in 1993 by Fr. Rocco Famiglietti,…

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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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My Peace I Give to You

Editor’s Note: Current Missioner Hannah Hagarty shares how she has found peace while building a routine overseas in Kingston, Jamaica. “I find it deeply important to accept that we are not the masters of this place. We are her visitors. And like guests let’s enjoy this place like a garden. Let us treat it with…

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Beyond Language

Editor’s Note: Missioner Sabrina Portner reflects on language barriers and ways she can better connect with her surroundings as she begins her ministry in Cochabamba, Bolivia San Martin, the home for boys that has become my new place of service and source of contentment, cares for one singular cow, Betty, and her bull calf. Beyond…

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Is God in the Wild Flowers or is He in the Church?

Editor’s Note: Tim Shelgren, FMS missioner, reflects on a powerful experience in Kingston, Jamaica where God revealed His presence through a day at the pool. About thirty years ago when my children were little, every Sunday morning before church I used to go running behind our home on the “dikes” along the Allegany River in…

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Glimpses of the Kingdom

Editors’ Note: Missioner in Guatemala, Becky Kreidler, describes a moment of receptivity as she encountered the children of Xela. Sometimes I get caught up in the intended purpose for each chapter of my life and underestimate how God is at work all around me. When I came to Guatemala my eyes were fixed on the…

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Disney, Dreams, and Divine Intervention

Editor’s Note: FMS missioner Hannah Hagarty reflects on the meaning of a dream that brought up a childhood longing for global service and justice. I found myself walking down the street with three stone goblins. I don’t remember the topic of conversation, but we were strolling along and chatting. I woke up. Who were those…

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Sabrina Portner

Invitations to Dance

Editor’s Note: Sabrina Portner recently moved to Cochabamba, Bolivia to embark on a mission of love and accompaniment through FMS Overseas Lay Missions. Sabrina reflects on the ways God is inviting her to encounter Him in this new environment. Everyday I wake up amazed by God’s love. This is most definitely not an exaggeration. I…

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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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Las Manos Femininas | The Feminine Hands

Editor’s Note: Missioner SarahJane Cauzillo reflects on the beauty and strength of the women she has encountered in Cochabamba, Bolivia. An ode to the working women at Hogar Nuestra Casa, who have introduced me to the Feminine God I have learned to see God as feminine in the working hands of women— hands that create,…

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Love Blooms in Traffic

Editor’s Note: Current Missioner in Bolivia, SarahJane Cauzillo recalls a moment when she allowed herself to be present to the workings of God, instead of sitting in frustration. I was late. Like, really late. I was over an hour outside of the city and yet here I was, slammed into a crowded trufi (taxi bus),…

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Love Blooms: Growing in Love

Editor’s Note: Current Missioner, Erin McHugh shares a beautiful encounter in which God allowed her to grow in love with the kids at Valley of the Angels in Guatemala. When I first arrived at Valley almost 2 years ago, I was so overwhelmed by the 215 kids. I didn’t know how I could give the…

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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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Embracing Humility

Editor’s Note: Maggie Van Roekel, current missioner in Bolivia, reflects on a moment that invited her to embrace humility and cast aside shame. “¿Quién necesita carpicola?” What I thought I had asked was, “Who needs toothpaste?” I stood in the kitchen with several kids who were about to brush their teeth before going to class.…

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Finding Comfort in Our Limitations

Editor’s Note: Current Missioner, Anna Klonowski reflects on her own limitations that guide her response when faced with the suffering of others. “Me duele el alma.” “My soul hurts,” Desi told me as we were sitting on a bench together during a beautiful morning in September. Despite the fact that she doesn’t sleep well, has…

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A Blessed Ending

Editor’s Note: Missioner Cindy Mizes reflects on the beauty of life as she led an art project for the patients at Consie Walters Cancer Care hospice in Kingston, Jamaica. On one of my recent visits to Consie Walters Cancer Care hospice, I gathered the patients in a circle on the veranda to begin the day’s…

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Adios?

Editor’s Note: Current missioner, Misty Menis-Kyler invites us into the process of hearing God’s voice through times of transition. Saying goodbye is never an easy thing to do, especially when it’s not something we choose. We shove our hands deep in our pockets and look down at our shoes. We shift our weight back and…

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Surrendering to the “I Am” in the Womb of the Jungle

Editor’s Note: Current missioner, Tim Shelgren reflects on his experience at Mt. Tabor’s Beatitudes, a home for children who were born with different abilities. Since coming to Jamaica last February as an FMS missioner, I have spent most of my time serving primary school boys in the city of Kingston. Though I have learned to both tolerate and…

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Living in Solidarity With The Poor: Who? How? What? Why?

Editors Note: Missioner Tim Shelgren articulates the lessons learned from living simply with people experiencing poverty in Kingston, Jamaica. Solidarity Almost five years ago now I bought a camper and moved to Prescott, Arizona. Living there in the camper for three years, I met other people who also lived in campers, tents, and even old…

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Walk Good

Editors Note: Missioner Cindy Mizes shares beautiful memories created alongside Mr. M, a gentleman at Consie Walters Cancer Care Hospice in Kingston, Jamaica. Consie Walters Cancer Care Hospice is a place where impoverished men and women with terminal cancer are lovingly cared for. This summer, I had the privilege of ministering there. On my first…

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Finding Hope

Editor’s note: Missioner Anna Klonowski shares a poem about hope and reflects on how it relates to her mission work in Cochabamba, Bolivia.  A while ago, Nora, Cochabamba’s in-country site advisor, led us in a reflection centered around a poem she found meaningful for her life on mission. I was inspired as well, and thought that…

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The Mountains Above the Fog

Editor’s note: Missioner SarahJane Cauzillo shares a revelation she had about God’s omniscience and goodness after her first few months serving in Bolivia. I live in Cochabamba, the fourth largest city in Bolivia. We are in something of a fish bowl, surrounded by the mountains, and with all the emissions from cars, trucks, and buses……

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Gangs, Gunshots and God’s Grace

Editor’s note: Missioner Cindy Mizes expresses hope for the children she is serving in Jamaica after she reflects on a difficult experience in the classroom. On my first day in my new ministry as a Teacher’s Assistant at St. Francis’ Primary School, I gingerly walked into the classroom of 21 young boys (ages 8-10) not…

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I’m Going To Live In A Convent, Oh, My Nerves!

Editor’s note: Missioner Tim Shelgren shares a connection he discovered between FMS and his hometown—a connection he will take all the way to Jamaica. For thirty-eight years I lived, worked, and raised my children in the Olean/Allegany area in Upstate NY, home of St. Bonaventure University. Across the street from Bona’s is a big building,…

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The Incarnate Christ in All I Meet

Editor’s note: Missioner SarahJane Cauzillo shares “an experience of letting go of my controlling nature, and learning to depend on others. Christ presented Himself to me in those who helped me along the way in my travels [to Cochabamba, Bolivia].” Lord, I am a stranger traveling in a brutal, yet wondrous land — far from the…

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A New Year… A New Beginning

Editor’s note: Missioner Erin McHugh reflects on her mission in Guatemala at the Valley of the Angels school: past, present, and future.  As this New Year begins and I embark on year two of mission in Guatemala, I have found myself reflecting on the journey of mission and this new beginning. I recently came across…

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Faith Calls Us to be Neighbors: Welcoming Those in Need

Editor’s note: Paula J. Scraba, O.S.F., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Physical Education Department at St. Bonaventure University and a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Washington, D.C. As a guest blogger for FMS’ 2017 Advent blog series, Paula shares some of her service experiences and reflects on how much she has learned from others…

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Faith Calls Us to be Neighbors: A “Thank You” Letter to Bolivia

Editor’s note: As part of FMS’ 2017 Advent blog series, missioner Catherine Hope Sullivan shares her gratitude to Bolivia, who has welcomed her in a variety of ways for the past two years, as she leaves the country today. Dear Bolivia, Today, I leave you and I cannot believe it. You have been everything to…

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Dios Está Aquí

Editor’s Note: Executive Director Elizabeth Hughes shares a reflection from her October site visit to FMS communities in Cochabamba, Bolivia and Carmen Pampa, Bolivia. There is a popular Spanish worship song — that also happens to be one of my favorites — called “Dios Está Aquí.” Its English lyrics proclaim “God is here, as certain…

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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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Warning All Mothers

Editor’s note: Missioner Anna Klonowski celebrates her mother on Bolivian Mother’s Day by acknowledging some of the life lessons that her mom taught her. Although Mother’s Day in the United States is always the second Sunday of May, in Bolivia the date never changes—mothers are celebrated every year on the 27th of May. Though I…

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The Ascension: Stepping into Service

Editor’s note: Missioner Janice Smullen reflects on how passages from the Ascension parallel her own experiences of being called to mission and her time in service. Each time I revisit the Ascension in the Gospels, I find numerous points that relate to mission and service. Throughout my own time on mission in Jamaica, I see…

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New Beginnings

Editor’s note: Missioner Misty Menis-Kyler looks back on her first few months of mission and her time at Valley of the Angels, telling of encounters which have shaped her time on mission for the future. The months here at Valley have gone by in a blink of an eye. The days and weeks seem to…

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Touched by Kindness

Editor’s note: Missioner Erin McHugh tells how an invitation to a Guatemalan family’s celebrations opened her eyes to the hospitality of the Guatemalan culture and the generosity of the people. Mission is challenging and lonely at times. You are entering into a foreign country with an entirely new culture. You are the outsider in this…

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100 Paper Cranes

Editor’s Note: Missioner Maeve Gallagher reflects on how she holds on to hope even in the face of terrible things happening all over the world. Here’s what they tell you before you go on mission: you will miss a lot of life events of your friends and family. Birthdays, weddings, baptisms, births. It will be…

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On the Edge of a Maybe

Editor’s Note: Missioner Amanda Ceraldi reflects on the journey that led her to Guatemala and how she knew she had a calling to overseas mission. If you ask my mom, she would say she knew I would go on mission when I was in the 9th grade and just 14 years old. If you ask…

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Focusing on Mission

Editor’s Note: Missioner Aubrey Kimble shares how a recent reflection with FMS staff helped her re-focus on her ministries and reaffirm her decision to devote this time in her life to mission. This past week was a real treat because two of our program directors from FMS, Emily and Meghan, came to visit us in…

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Measure in Love

Editor’s Note: Missioner Erin McHugh adapts the lyrics of a well-known song to reflect her experiences during her first few months on mission in Jamaica. I’m sure many of you have heard the song “Seasons of Love” from the Broadway musical Rent. I have heard this song several times in the last month as we…

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Roots

Editor’s Note: Missioner Janice Smullen shares how she’s found comfort learning more about herself as she adjusts to a new life in Jamaica. Putting down new roots is so difficult.  Being new to Jamaica, I feel as if I am continually struggling to find a good foothold, stand secure among swirling cultural forces, and just…

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Accompaniment

Editor’s Note: During this National Volunteer month, missioner Aubrey Kimble shares some of her meditations on volunteering and service. Volunteering has always been something that has interested me. I began volunteering a bit here and there throughout elementary and middle school to help with various campus events. I became slightly more serious about volunteering in…

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Letting Go and Accepting God’s Timing For a Call

Editor’s Note: Missioner Janice Smullen reflects on some of the the conversations she had before she left for Jamaica when she explained to others what she was going to do. Often, the response she received was, “I would like to do what you are doing, but…” After these conversations, Janice reflected on the notion of…

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Letting Go of Our Insecurities

Editor’s Note: Nonprofit Servant Leadership Coordinator Mercedes Matthews reflects on the truth that all too often, we get caught up in our own insecurities and can’t manage to see ourselves the way God sees us.  In Spring 2015 I was part of a parish mission trip to visit orphanages in Nicaragua. Most simply, our mission was…

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Letting Go Of Preconceived Notions

Editor’s Note: Returned missioner Claire McGarry reflects on learning to embrace life for what it actually is instead of getting caught up in what she thought it would be.  “For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John.  And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.”  Matthew 11:13-14…

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Letting Go of Anxiety

Editor’s Note: Missioner Aubrey Kimble shares how the beginning of her time on mission in Bolivia has challenged her to let go of anxieties and the desire to be in control. Through this process, she is discovering great freedom. Lent is one of my favorite times of the year. Even though it is often a…

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Welcome Associate Director Meghan!

When she first met former Franciscan Mission Service missioner Nora Pfieffer, Meghan Meros had no way of knowing that this brief introduction to FMS would reappear several times years later. Meghan first met Nora in 2009 when the two were placed in the same small group during the Catholics on Call Conference at the Catholic…

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