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Happy two year anniversary to Annemarie!

Editor’s Note: The following was written by FMS. Also pictured in feature image is former FMS lay missioner Kitzi Hendricks. 2015 is the beginning of Annemarie’s third year as a FMS lay missioner, and we could not be more proud. The work that she has done with the agriculture of the community in Cochabambato to…

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What Does it Mean to be Sent?

After 13 weeks of formation filled with classes, early mornings at service sites, and plenty of community time, the 30th mission class of Franciscan Mission Service walked into the Blessed Sacrament Chapel at the Franciscan Monastery filled with our family and friends for our Commissioning Mass to celebrate our being sent out on mission. During…

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A Shared World at Home

Editor’s Note: The following is part of our daily holiday series celebrating “The Shared World.” I can still remember how nervous I was my first night hosting at Claremont Homeless Advocacy Program (CHAP); I laugh when I think about it now. I started volunteering at CHAP in preparation for formation with FMS in Washington, DC. CHAP…

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God’s Surprises

Editor’s Note: The following is part of our daily holiday series celebrating “The Shared World.” I know now that the squeals were not the finish line. I recently brought flowers to a woman in a nursing home that I visit regularly, and they were received with squeals of delight. I’d met Gladys* the week before at…

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Sharing is Caring

Editor’s Note: The following is part of our daily holiday series celebrating “The Shared World.” It started with a story. It was Holy Week of my senior year of high school and I was volunteering with Bissonnette House, a home for recently released convicts looking to get back on their feet. While we took a break…

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Building Bridges

Editor’s Note: The following is part of our daily holiday series celebrating “The Shared World.” Fr. John Ullrich, OFM, is a close friend of FMS. As a Franciscan friar who’s been professed for more than forty years, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to reach out and serve people in serious need, be it physically, economically, socially…

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The Shared [Captive] World

Editor’s Note: The following is part of our daily holiday series celebrating “The Shared World.” Teresa is a Secular Franciscan with a long-standing relationship with the FMS family. “To proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners…” (Is 61:1) About 12 years ago, I received an invitation from Andrew, one of the first prisoners from when I…

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Donor Story: Leadership and Service of Art McNeill

Arthur T. McNeill Franciscan Mission Service is grateful for the support of our donors from around the world and of all walks of life. This Father’s Day, we honor Art McNeill, a father of three whose life of service touched many. In 1963, Arthur McNeill took his 8-year-old son Thomas to the National Mall to…

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Community 101: Prayer

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”! It will feature weekly contributors highlighting specific features of intentional-living in faith communities: Prayer, Listening, Sharing, and Learning to Love. Today’s post about prayer is by Paola Piscitelli, President…

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Franciscan Friday: The Necessity of Presence

To highlight the service component of the Nonprofit Leadership Program (positions are currently available), Franciscan Fridays are currently featuring reflections from program associates about their experiences with weekly direct service.  Enjoy other entries in this series: “Service through Faith: The Ultimate Act of Hope” by communications associate Michael Carlson “A Lesson in Perspective” by development associate…

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Franciscan Friday: Service through Faith: the Ultimate Act of Hope

To honor National Volunteer Month and highlight the service component of the Nonprofit Leadership Program, the next several Fridays will feature reflections from program associates about their experiences with weekly direct service.  In today’s post, communications associate Michael Carlson writes about his weekly service experience as a Reading Partner at DC Prep Elementary, a grade…

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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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Mission Monday: Share A Lifetime of Experience

Long-term overseas mission isn’t just for young people. After decades of work and life experience, those of you in your 40s, 50s and 60s have something to share with the global community. You have skills. You have compassion. You have love. Our program prepares you for service abroad, supports you while you’re in the field,…

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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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Mission Monday: Applications for International Service Due June 10

Do you find yourself praying often for people in need overseas? Do you feel called to do your part to build global community? Do you want to serve with fellow Christians, respecting religious and cultural diversity? If you have an open heart and are ready for an experience you will treasure for the rest of…

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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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Franciscan Friday: Experiencing the Ministry of Presence

One of the hallmarks of Franciscan service is something we often refer to as the “ministry of presence” or “accompaniment.” From community gardens in Cochabamba to the slums of Nairobi to the after-school programs and homeless shelters in Washington, D.C., FMS missioners and volunteers spend their time focusing on being with people rather than doing…

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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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Donor Story: The Simple Life and Legacy of Daniel Lynch

Daniel Lynch Franciscan Mission Service is grateful for the support of our donors from around the world and of all walks of life.This is the story of one supporter who has recently inspired us. Daniel Lynch lived a long life of simplicity and service. The New Jersey man refused to let people take him out…

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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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Solidarity, Conversion and Advocacy

We are nearing the end of our Lenten series “Walking in Solidarity.” For our theme this week, Russell Testa shares with us a process to identify and act on social justice issues we see in our communities. Francis began his conversion in the Church of San Damiano, when he heard the crucifix challenge him, “Francis,…

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Outreach and Charity: Reflections and Answers to Why

For our week of Outreach and Charity, Domestic Volunteer Anna Robinson shares the lessons she has learned through multiple years and ways of volunteering, encouraging everyone to look at service in a new light. Volunteering was a requirement of me and my siblings growing up. Trips to the food pantry, the history museum, group highway…

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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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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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FMS Podcasts: History of the Church and Franciscanism

Franciscan Mission Service is making resources from our mission formation available to the public, including podcasts from the classes. Our missioners get to learn some interesting subjects while in formation: history, theology, geography, environmentalism, social justice issues, cross-cultural communication… the list goes on!  Now you can also be enriched and inspired by these same lessons…

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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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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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