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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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Breaking Down Walls

Editor’s Note: Lay missioner Julia Pinto, who serves in the US-Mexico border region, describes an encounter with a woman whom she serves both physically and emotionally at the Migrant Resource Center. We had months of attending to very few people at CRM, the Migrant Resource Center. The number of people I attended to in my…

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Day 25: Truth

Editor’s Note: Margaret Carney, OSF, is a member of the FMS Board of Directors and served as the 20th President of St. Bonaventure University, a position she held from 2004 until 2016. Speaking to the difficult realities of a pandemic Christmastide, Sr. Margaret invites readers to find truth and goodness in the heroic acts of…

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Scripture, Alive

Editor’s note: Through the lens of scripture, DCSC volunteer, Emily Dold, recalls her experiences of God’s providence and peace at the Father McKenna Center. Soapy streaks marked the plastic folding table where I had successfully captured the bits of food, now between the textured ridges of the towel. The towel was certainly well-designed for the…

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Honestly, a Continuous Work in Progress

Editor’s note: Missioner SarahJane reflects on her personal privileges and what that means while serving others in a different part of the world.  “We don’t go to the margins to make a difference. We go to the margins so that folks at the margins make us different.” “We want to bridge the gap that exists…

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In the Midst of God’s Grace

Editor’s Note: DC Service Corps volunteer, Nadia Barnett reflects on God’s grace that is often revealed through the present moment. I live my life in the midst of God’s grace. We all do. It’s not always apparent, but it is always present. This time of service has taught me many lessons about God, my faith,…

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If These Walls Could Talk

Editor’s Note: After living in the Casa San Salvador for three years, Amanda Saunders reflects on the gifts and lessons received through living alongside many FMS volunteers, missioners, and guests. As her time as House Manager comes to an end, Franciscan Mission Service extends our gratitude towards Amanda for her service and dedication over the…

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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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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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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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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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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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A Journey of Love

Editor’s Note: Missioner Erin McHugh reflects on her mission in Guatemala at Valley of the Angels school and the relationships she has built within the community. I have recently been reflecting on my original call to mission, and specifically my call back into mission after my first experience in Jamaica.  When I discerned to be…

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Braids of Love

Editor’s note: Missioner SarahJane Cauzillo reflects on the importance of receiving within the act of serving through an experience she had at Nuestra Casa, one of her ministry sites in Cochabamba, Bolivia. I am only human, and so last week I went to Nuestra Casa a little worn-down. It was Friday afternoon, and I was…

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Faith Calls Us to be Neighbors: God’s Welcoming Presence Abroad

Editor’s note: Christopher Unger is a service member in the United States Air Force and engaged to FMS Graphic Design Associate, Alessia Catena. As a guest blogger for FMS’ Advent blog series, Chris shares his experience finding God overseas in the welcoming outreach of others. My story begins upon arriving to my new duty station…

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Faith Calls Us to be Neighbors: Our Call, Our Challenge

Editor’s note: Sister Pat Klemm, OSF, a Franciscan Sister of Allegany for 54 years, has ministered in education, healthcare, parish ministry, formation ministry and leadership. As a guest blogger for FMS’ 2017 Advent blog series, Sr. Pat shares her experiences serving (and being welcomed) abroad and reflects on the story of the Nativity. A number…

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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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Showing Up

Editor’s note: Missioner Allison Dethlefs traces the ups and downs of her journey on mission and reflects on the challenges and joys of forming relationships along the way. When I decided to go on mission, Iwas prepared to experience two of the most fulfilling and gratifying years of my life. I pictured myself arriving in…

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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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On the Road with Hermana Carmen

Editor’s note: Missioner Anna Klonowski recounts her first meeting with a ministry site supervisor and what she learned from Hermana Carmen about living the Franciscan charism. During my search for ministry opportunities, I heard about a place called Hogar San José, a nursing home only a 15-minute walk from my house in Cochabamba. The first…

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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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Were You There: What Can I Give?

Editor’s Note: DC Service Corps member Madonna Enwe shares how a particular encounter with a client at the Refugee Service Center at Catholic Charities moved her to compassion, generosity, and a humble recognition of her own limitations. As I work at the Refugee Service Center at Catholic Charities, one of my most difficult moments  is…

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San Damiano Servant Leadership Award Winner Announced

Editor’s note: Franciscan Mission Service is very pleased to name Stonehill College senior Mary Grace Donohoe the winner of this year’s San Damiano Servant Leadership Award. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” “Christ calls us in the Beatitudes to be peacemakers—not just to exist in peaceful societies—[and that] is transformative,” says…

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Were You There: Comfort From a Stranger

Editor’s note: Missioner Anna Klonowski reflects on a past service trip she attended in college, where a small gesture of comfort from one of the women there reminded her that service begins in the little deeds of kindness we do for each other. In college, I had the opportunity to participate in an Alternative Break…

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World Care Benefit and Celebration 2016 Recap

When everyone gathered in St. Francis Hall on May 13 for the 2016 World Care Benefit and Celebration, the spirits of generosity and gratitude were almost tangible. This annual celebration at Franciscan Mission Service is more than a fancy catered event; it’s a call to action. It’s a reminder of how important it is to…

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Letting Go and Finding God in the Silence

Editor’s Note: Former Salesian volunteer Matthew Beben shares how time spent on a silent retreat during his year of service in Ethiopia showed him how to slow down, re-center, and simply “be.” It wouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me to hear that it took me twenty-four years to attend a silent retreat. I’m definitely not someone…

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San Damiano Servant Leadership Award Winner Announced

Editor’s Note: Franciscan Mission Service is very pleased to name St. John’s University senior Brandon Turner the winner of this year’s San Damiano Servant Leadership Award. After looking at St. John’s University senior Brandon Turner’s resume, one might wonder, “When does he have time to sleep?” Brandon is a member of the Phi Eta Sigma…

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Letting Go of Indifference

Editor’s Note: Animal protection attorney Akisha Townsend Eaton, OFS, reflects on Pope Francis’ proposed Lenten practice of giving up indifference and how she has witnessed this practice being lived out by two of her friends.  I sometimes find it challenging to know what I’m being called to do during Lent. That’s why I was very excited…

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Class 31 Commissioning

At the end of August, our missioners-in-training all arrived at the Casa San Salvador mission house in Washington, DC to begin formation training with Franciscan Mission Service. During the next three months, they would attend classes on scripture, Franciscan spirituality, and cultural sensitivity together. Through all of this, in the classroom and out, a group of acquaintances…

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Peace Within, Peace Without

Editor’s Note: Missioner-in-training Janice Smullen shares her experience of volunteering with Little Friends for Peace during her time of formation in Washington, DC. “If peace is what every government says it seeks, and peace is the yearning of every heart, why aren’t we studying it and teaching it in schools?” Coleman McCarthy The mission of…

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Taking Time to Reflect

Editor’s Note: Missioner Patrick Montine shares his experience of the retreat he took recently in the town of Maggoty, Jamaica.  In  September, during the first weeks of school, I finally took my retreat. As a Franciscan Missioner, I am able to take a retreat and a vacation each year. I am taking my vacation later,…

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Beneath the Surface

Editor’s note: Weekly service is an important part of Formation for overseas mission. Missioner-in-training Allison Dethlefs shares an experience from her volunteer site. “That one’s wrinkled. I want a new one,” the woman snapped as my supervisor, Brittany, offered her a coloring sheet. “I’ll go get you a new one,” I offered. “No. I don’t…

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“I Don’t Know”

Editor’s Note: Missioner-in-training Catherine Sullivan shares her new-found freedom in humility. As a child, I hated asking for help. As the youngest of five, I refused to believe that my siblings knew anything that I didn’t. My response to any new information was a stubborn “I know.” (I didn’t know). Over time, I have learned…

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Relics of Mother Teresa

Editors Note: Missioner-in-training Beth Brown shares her reflections from her service site in Washington, DC, during her time of formation. Our formation process with Franciscan Mission Service includes a half-day of service at one of Washington, DC’s many help centers. I said yes to serving at “A Gift of Hope,” a residence facility for elderly,…

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Creating New Lives

When I came to Bolivia, I had the idea that I was coming to fight poverty. I thought that that poverty would take the face of a lack of material possessions. The other great ambition I had was to support the fight against violence. Although I have seen poverty, and I am supporting those who…

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Throwback Thursday: “Rekindling the Mission”

Editor’s Note: In celebration of our 25th year of preparing and supporting lay missioners, we look back to our archives at a World Care newsletter from 2009 with an article from returned missioner Katie Mulembe from Class 19 serving in Zambia from 2004-2006. This article was written after she visited Zambia for the first time since…

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Would you Choose Hard or Soft?

The other day I found myself in a situation. I needed to buy toilet paper but all of the regular places to buy were closed. I was left with the option of buying really soft, really expensive toilet paper. I did what I had to do, but it was painful. Although what I had was…

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Throwback Thursday: “A Letter from Vietnam”

Editor’s Note: In celebration of our 25th year of preparing and supporting lay missioners, we look back to our archives at a World Care newsletter from 2004 with an article from returned missioner Hao Nguyen from Class 19 serving in Vietnam in 2004. This article was written during his time serving in Vietnam.   Hy Vong means…

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2015 World Care Benefit and Celebration Recap

When 190 people gathered in St. Francis Hall on May 1 for the 2015 World Care Benefit and Celebration, they expected to celebrate Franciscan Mission Service’s 25 years of sending lay Catholics on mission. No one, however, expected to be given drawing from a school in Guatemala or to be part of an impromptu sing-along…

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Live with Purpose

We recently finished the Easter Season with Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descends from heaven on to the disciples. The disciples start speaking in many languages and are told to go out and preach the Gospel to all people, and they do—they go to the edge of the known world to spread the message to…

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Welcome Emily and Mercedes!

We are happy to announce that earlier this month we welcomed two new members to the FMS staff: Emily Norton and Mercedes Matthews. Emily Norton will be assuming the role of Programs Manager, supporting our missioners in the field, coordinating short-term mission trips, and directing formation for new missioners. Born and raised in Portland, Ore.,…

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Throwback Thursday: “A Sewing Machine Gives New Life”

Editor’s Note: In celebration of our 25th year of preparing and supporting lay missioners, we look back to our archives at a World Care newsletter from 1993 with an article from returned missioner Brigite Taylor from Class Two serving in Peru and Honduras from 1992-1994. This article was written during her time serving in Honduras.…

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The Gift of Tongues

Two years ago, a group of students from The Catholic University of America boarded a plane en route to El Paso, Texas for a weeklong immigration immersion trip on the border. They knew very little about each other and even less about the struggles that Central American migrants face on their journeys, but they were…

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One more year

My third year serving as a Franciscan lay missioner with FMS invited me to become rooted in my community here in Cochabamba, Bolivia. And being rooted in this community has opened my eyes to more of the complexities of the marginalization experienced by our sisters and brothers here. I desire to continue to grow in…

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Learning to Volunteer

Editor’s Note: * indicates names changed to ensure privacy.  When I cam to FMS in November, I had very little previous experience in volunteering. It was a requirement in high school, but my football coach usually signed us off for moving tables, and I worked in a soup kitchen and food pantry once or twice,…

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It is in giving that we receive

Editor’s Note: Current office associate Melissa Montrowl is a veteran volunteer at Lourdes. Her recent blog post on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes illuminates the impact the pilgrimage site has made.  We all know what it feels like to be in the swirling vortex of chaos and busyness known as life. For…

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Looking back

I can’t help but remember what I was doing this time last year.  It’s weird because in some ways things have changed so much and in other ways, they are still the same. For starters, I live alone now.  Last year, at this time, I was living with three other people.  We had just moved…

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Millennial Lenten Reflections: Go forth

Editor’s Note: The following is part of Millennial Lenten Reflections, a blog series in collaboration with Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. Short reflections on the day’s readings, written by young adults from FMS and other organizations, will be posted everyday throughout Lent.  “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” What a powerful way…

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Millennial Lenten Reflections: Sharing the Grace of God

Editor’s Note: The following is part of Millennial Lenten Reflections, a blog series in collaboration with Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. Short reflections on the day’s readings, written by young adults from FMS and other organizations, will be posted everyday throughout Lent.  “For everyone who asks, receives.” I can’t remember when I realized I wanted…

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Making the Comfortable Uncomfortable

In July, 2009 I attended a social justice immersion summer camp with the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The week long camp challenged high school students from different parts of Maryland to learn about the injustices that were affecting Baltimore City and how we could be advocates for justice and change. During the week we visited many…

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