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Outreach and Charity: Help Finding the Right Ministry

As we continue this journey of “Walking in Solidarity,” we take a moment reflect on how we might act. To go along with this week’s theme of outreach and charity, we have some suggestions, traditional and nontraditional, on how you might impact others. Lent is a time of personal reflection and prayer, of reexamining our…

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Mission Monday: I Saw God in the Smile of Strangers

This week as part of our Lenten “Walking in Solidarity” series, we focus on practicing outreach and charity.  This past Wednesday our Domestic Volunteer Sarah began her direct service work at Miriam’s Kitchen and she reflects on her first day for this Mission Monday post. I saw God in the smiles of strangers. It was…

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Valentine’s Day – Celebrating the Ability to Love

Do you have a favorite love quote? There are many, too many to sort through. Quotes by saints, celebrities, historical figures…. the list goes on. And it can be interpreted in different ways – love for family, Christ’s love, love is patient, love is kind, etc. But by far my favorite quote comes from a…

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Franciscan Friday: Preparing for a Green Lent

As we approach the season of Lent, keep in mind these suggestions to add to your observance. It’s hard to believe that Lent is just a few weeks away.  It feels like we just finished Christmas, a time of light and hope and new beginnings, and soon we’ll be immersed in a time we often…

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Meet the new Domestic Volunteer: Sarah

It took 12 hours to drive from her hometown of Newton, Illinois, but Sarah Hoffeditz has made it to our headquarters in D.C. to join our staff and become the newest Domestic Volunteer. Sarah graduated in the spring of 2012 from Bellarmine University, a Catholic university where she appreciated the emphasis on social justice and…

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Mission Monday: Wine and Cheese Make a Reunion

To welcome home our returning missioners we held our traditional Wine and Cheese Open House.   On this Thursday evening, snow threatened the roads and dark had already fallen, but Casa San Salvador soon filled with friends, new and old, to welcome home missioners who had been away for two to three years.  The missioners came…

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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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Mission Monday: Meet Annemarie and Jeff!

Only threes days until Annemarie and Jeff leave for their two-year mission in Bolivia.  We’re very excited about their journey and we invite you to learn more about them and why they have chosen to go on mission with FMS.  Meet Annemarie Barrett! Meet Jeff Sved! You can view more videos by FMS on our…

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Mission Monday: “Death ends a life, not a relationship”

This week, missioner Nora returns to Casa San Salvador, along with seven other returning missioners, to begin the process of re-entry from her time in Bolivia.  As Nora recalls her service abroad, she reflects on the memories that center around life’s biggest transition – death. Memorial in honor of Bolivian Protesters. For me, one of…

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Blessings in the New Year

Just as we are blessed to begin a new day, we are thankful to begin a bright new year!  2012 was a good year for us and we have much to look forward to in 2013. – The homecoming of eight missioners from Bolivia, South Africa, and Zambia. Nora Pfeiffer (Bolivia) Catherine Giller (Bolivia) Lynn…

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Come, Journey in Love This Advent

This first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of a journey. Around the world, Catholics joyfully welcome a new Church year and start to ready ourselves for the coming of Christ’s birth. And here in Washington, D.C., Franciscan Mission Service comissions our new class of lay missioners. We mark the end of Annemarie Barrett and Jeff Sved’s three-month…

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Christmas without Consumerism: The Wise Women of Christmas

For the second post of this series, Fr. David B. Couturier, OFM Cap. reminds us that those gifts we’re exchanging on Christmas do not in fact come magically on a red sleigh, hand-crafted by elves.  Before you buy that gift, take a moment to think about the worker who made it. Several years ago, I…

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Discernment Part 2: Considering Mission

Last week we talked about how discernment allows you to more fully focus on, and recognize, God’s voice in your life.  If you’re considering going on long-term international mission or even a full-time volunteer program in your own country, it’s important to spend time discerning where and how you’re called to serve. Discernment questions for…

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Mission Monday: What it means to be without power.

As Superstorm Sandy raged and roared outside, missioner candidate Jeff Sved found that going without electricity would be very similar to his adjustment to a new culture and a new lifestyle. What does a week without electricity mean for a group of missioners-in-training?A little extra challenge. And a whole lot more to reflect on… For…

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Recommended Reads – Francis of Assisi: A Model for Human Liberation

Last week candidate Jeff Sved shared his book recommendation from formation.  This week Annemarie Barrett recommends a book that began with a question, “who is St. Francis?” Coming into formation Annemarie did not know a whole lot about this beloved saint.  She knew he started the Franciscan order and that he lived in Italy.  Beyond…

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Mission Monday: About A Week Back…

We were touched by Missioner Joel’s latest blog post.  A reminder of why working for peace is so important – it won’t haunt you later. Photo by Flickr user Jayel Aheram In Santa Vera Cruz I share some time with people who are terminally ill and living at a hospice operated by the Missionary Sisters…

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Franciscan Friday: It’s All About the Hair

As No-Shave November got underway yesterday, Domestic Volunteer Anna Robinson reflected on the connection between Franciscans and the statement of hair, or lack there of. Photo of monks with tonsures taken by Flickr user waldopics November 1st began a month of many well known U.S. holidays: All Saint’s Day, Thanksgiving, plus all the awareness campaigns…

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Recommended Reads: “Open Veins of Latin America”

Before the formation classes arrive for their fall training, they receive a book list of titles related to their sessions.  We asked the candidates what books they’ve enjoyed and would recommend to others who would like to read about the Franciscan charism, social justice issues, and country studies. How well do you know your American history?  Like…

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Mission Monday: Let’s Talk About Nonviolence

This past week the formation class attended a session on nonviolence, a subject that candidate Annemarie is very passionate about.  For this Mission Monday post she shares her reflection on the training and the connections she had made through her spiritual journey.  Annemarie (left) at anti-war rally in Oct. 2010. Recently, as a part…

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Franciscan Friday: St. Francis of Assisi – The Young Man

After writing Getting To Know the “Real” St. Francis of Assisi, Fr. George Corrigan, OFM. continues to bring to light the kind of person St. Francis was in context of his time, his upbringing, and his faith. St. Francis of Assisi – by dawnzy58 Even in Francis’ day Assisi was a small town, but it…

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Mission Monday: The Act of Grounding

We all can use a check on our humility every now and then. But what does it really mean to be humble? Missioner Candidate Jeff Sved shares his reflection on this topic that was discussed on this past week’s formation retreat. Photo by Ian W Scott I wish there was an embarrassing story of some…

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World Mission Sunday!

We would like to bring awareness to the multitude of dedicated people living out a call to service abroad on mission. These individuals work hard with willing hands and listening hearts to bring God’s light and love to international communities. Please keep our missioners in Bolivia, Kenya, and South Africa in your prayers.  The work…

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Franciscan Friday: Not The Only Fool In The Square

This past week our missioner candidates and domestic volunteers took a day retreat to reflect on the theme of Simplicity and Authenticity.  Domestic Volunteer Anna Robinson shares her take on the group discussions and the “Discipline of Simplicity.” Assisi’s town square – by Peter Gutierrez When you think of St. Francis, what is the first…

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Challenged to live as Franciscan “Minority”

For this Franciscan Friday post, missioner candidate Annemarie Barrett answers a question discussed in her formation class, “What does the Franciscan value of “minority” mean to my life and relationships?” Throughout our formation thus far, the value of “minority” in Franciscan spirituality has particularly affected me. During our sessions instructed by Fransican religious, I have…

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The Ministry of Presence Found in the Barber’s Chair.

Missioner candidate Paul Heinzen has been volunteering at the Gift of Peace House in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday mornings as part of his formation.  For this Wednesday he shares with us a bit of his work and the unusual role that has lead to new friendships. The Sisters of Charity, also known as Mother Theresa’s…

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Mission Monday: Sharing in Christ’s Fellowship

During their training in D.C., our mission candidates take a morning each week to volunteer in the local community.  For this Mission Monday, Annemarie Barrett shares what it’s like to work alongside Christ’s chosen company. Photo: www.fathermckennacenter.org Every Wednesday morning during formation, I visit the Father McKenna Center, a daytime drop-in center for men who…

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Hunger Action Month: Needy vs. NIMBY

Why haven’t we found a solution to hunger? Why do so many people differ on the issue? For our last Franciscan Friday post dedicated to Hunger Action Month, St. Francis Inn volunteer Karen Bushaw shares her take on the struggles of neighborhood food pantries. In this election year we are being told by analysts that…

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Identifying the Cause: A Candidate’s Reflection on the Caravan for Peace.

Our formation class attended the Caravan for Peace event when it came to D.C.  Paul Heinzen shares with us his reflection of the event and how it relates to the greater issues of drug trafficking. Photo taken from http://www.drugwar101.com/blog/archives/199 On September 10th, I attended a presentation by the Caravan for Peace, concerning increased citizen casualties…

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Mission Monday: Ready, Set…

For this Mission Monday post, mission candidate Jeff Sved shares the process of slowing down that he’s found challenging during formation. Jeff’s picture of the Franciscan Monastery If asked to describe how formation has been so far, I’d say it has been a walk in the park. Are most of you picturing a lazy, unproductive…

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Hunger Action Month: Hungry vs. Hunger

A high school student from New Hampshire reflects on volunteering at St. Francis Inn, a soup kitchen in Philadelphia, for this Hunger Action Month post.  “I’m hungry.” This phrase is often spoken by my family, friends and myself. All we have to do is go look through the kitchen for something “good” to eat. The…

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Finding and Sharing Perfect Joy

The three members of our 28th Lay Mission Class have begun their training in Washington, D.C. Candidate Jeff Sved reflects on his formation so far. Over these first few weeks with FMS, one theme has continued to demand my attention. It has continued to surface during our various formation sessions and to dominate my personal…

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Mission Monday: Realizing one’s humanity is a good place to start.

Finishing up her second week in formation, mission candidate Annemarie Barrett shares her initial thoughts and reflections on preparing for mission. What was the essence of the life of Saint Francis? Following his example, how am I called to live as a lay missioner? As I engage the second week of formation as a lay…

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Mission Monday: Hospice Residents Celebrate Feast Day

Domestic Volunteers who staff the office at our headquarters are taking Wednesday afternoons to serve at various sites around the D.C. area.  Each volunteer is partnered with a non-profit and spending a few hours each week there through their service commitment at Franciscan Mission Service.  So far, volunteer Chelsea has had a festive experience at…

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Hunger Action Month: Welcoming the Nameless is Welcoming Change

As part of Hunger Action Month, we’re featuring guest posts from fellow Franciscan organizations dealing with hunger in the U.S.  Today’s post comes from a Franciscan Outreach Volunteer serving at a soup kitchen in Chicago. Franciscan Outreach Association’s Marquard Center serves dinner to roughly 100 guests every night of the year. In addition to that,…

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New Mission Candidates get a taste of Bolivia

Over the Labor Day weekend the new mission candidates started arriving from all over the country.  And what good timing!  It just so happened there was a Bolivian festival going on at the Prince William County Fairgrounds in Manassas, VA.  Many of these candidates are interested in going to Bolivia for their two years, so…

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Mission Monday: Welcome Class XXVIII!

They came by plane.  They came by car.  And now they are all settled into Casa San Salvador.  Joining us at Franciscan Mission Service are three generous and faith-filled people from across the country.  Representing their native lands, they are:   Paul Heinzen: Wisconsin Jeff Sved: Pennsylvania Annemarie Barrett: Minnesota For the next 14 weeks…

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Franciscan Friday: Franciscan Education Part 2 – A Professor’s Perspective

As part of our mini-series in recognition of the start of the school year, a professor shares with us her experience working at a Franciscan institution and what is important about an education inspired by Franciscan values. I spent my first 15 years of teaching at state universities all over the country before we settled…

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Franciscan Friday: Franciscan Education Part 1 – A Student’s Perspective

Come August, students and faculty say goodbye to summer vacation and hello to a new school year. Blocks, streets, even towns dedicated as campuses bustle with knowledge seekers. Education becomes the number one priority in superstores and receives headlines come election season. As Claiborne Pell once said, “The strength of the United States is not…

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Feast Of The Assumption: May We All Be Tabernacles

Photo from flickr user Mr. Ducke On August 15,  the Catholic church celebrates the Feast of the Assumption, a day recognizing the Virgin Mary’s completion of her early life and “was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory” (Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII, 1950).  As we reflect on her transition into heaven, we remember that…

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Mission as Peacemaking

How does mission promote peace around the world?  Marie Dennis, co-president of Pax Christi International, delved into this topic at our last Souposium event before our summer hiatus. Accompaniment, solidarity, and building bridges of understanding – the hallmarks of mission also help make and promote peace between people, countries and cultures. Check out these two excerpts from…

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Finding God in “thin places”

“Thin places,” says New York Times writer Eric Weiner, are “locales where the distance between heaven and earth collapses and we’re able to catch glimpses of the divine, or the transcendent.” These places can confuse, disorient, relax and redirect us. They can be traditionally sacred places like a church, or wild and untamed like a…

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