May 20, 2013 at 02:33pm
Thank you to all who helped make our 4th Annual Taste of St. Cloud a big success! We are happy to share that this was our most successful Taste of St. Cloud yet, which helps fund the Franciscan Community Volunteers program. Our long term volunteers and the clients and students they work with daily thank you for help and support!
We would like to share some of the pictures from our event with you.
If you missed this year's event or want to make a point to join us next year, we have our 5th annual Taste of St. Cloud date already! Save the date for Monday, May 5th, 2014! Thanks again for your support.
April 18, 2013 at 01:25pm
We are very excited to give an update on the progress of our Taste of St. Cloud! With only 18 days remaining until our big event on Monday, May 6th, the primary fundraiser for the Franciscan Community Volunteers, we're doing great.
Here are some of the things you can look forward to at this year's 4th annual Taste of St. Cloud:
16 featured restaurants: Cold Spring Bakery, Coyote Moon Grille, Custom Catering, Great Harvest Bread Co, Grizzly's, Henry's Catering, House of Pizza, Jimmy's Pour House, Le St. Germain Catering, Mexican Village, Noodles & Co, Pacific Wok, Reality Roasters, Sawatdee, Sterling Catering, & Texas Roadhouse.
A cash bar available from Coyote Moon Grille & small samples given by Third Street Brewhouse in Cold Spring.
We're getting some WONDERFUL silent auction items donated for the event! Some highlights include:
-Twins tickets to games on 5/19 & 6/29
-Gift cards to Target, Northern Tool & Equipment, Boulder Tap House, HOM Furniture, Scheel's, Walgreens, & more
-Women's accessory basket from Marishka's
-Bagels for a Year from Panera
-Butterfly themed basket from St. Cloud Floral
-1/2 share of vegetables all summer from the Common Ground garden
-Dinners and outings sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters
-BoDeans concert at the Paramount Theater
-Organic & local foods basket from the Good Earth Co-Op
-Overnight stay at Grand Casino MilleLacs
-Handmade art items: wooden, paintings, weaving, cement art, and a native fur rug
We will post pictures about the baskets on our facebook page the week before the event - be watching for those!
Also new to the Taste of St. Cloud this year, we'll be setting up tents in the front of Coyote Moon at the ticket area, and another tent out back to extend the lower level. As we continue to grow, we are thankful for this extra space.
Thanks to all who have bought tickets already; you can purchase advance tickets ($25) online by May 4th on this website, here: or by mailing your check to Franciscan Sisters, 1600 11th Ave S. St. Cloud MN 56301, noting "FCV Taste" in the Memo. Tickets can also be bought at the door on the day of the event for $30.
Thanks to all our supporters and especially our Financial Supporters: Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, DJ Bitzan's Jewelry, Live Edit, St. Stephen's Parish, Brandl Motors, The Catholic Foundation, Marco, the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, Briggs and Morgan, and Westside Liquor.
See you at the Taste of St. Cloud in just 18 days!
- Kaitlin D
April 4, 2013 at 10:17am
Enjoy delicious cuisine from over a dozen local restaurants, live music, and a silent auction. Learn more about the FCV program, visit with the Sisters and meet the volunteers.
Tickets can be purchased on this page of our website.
Enjoy food from these 16 participating restaurants!
Many thanks to our financial sponsors of the Taste of St Cloud 2013.
April 2, 2013 at 10:00am
Francis. Pope Francis. What good news for all of us! Eight hundred years ago, St. Francis heard Jesus’ words, "Francis, Rebuild my church." I sense that Jorge Bergoglio heard these same words when the Cardinals voting at the conclave called him to be our New Pope! While not knowing exactly what it all meant, we are delighted that his answer again was ’yes.’
The words to St. Francis - Rebuild My Church - are exactly what our Franciscan Community Volunteers have been doing since August. At a recent gathering, we asked the Franciscan Community Volunteers to list the words that quickly come to each of their minds when they think of their experience in this Franciscan setting. This Wordle (above) depicts their responses. Wouldn’t St. Francis and Pope Francis be proud of them? We are!
Where were you and how were you feeling when you heard the announcement that we now have a new pope who has chosen the name of Francis? I was at a Leadership meeting at the Franciscan Sisters Motherhouse in Little Falls. The announcement over the public address system interrupted the meeting, and needless to say, when we saw who was elected there was lots of excitement. Later when I got home, I was interested in the comments from the Franciscan Community Volunteers. From one I heard "It’s incredible, I think he is just what our world needs right now." From another who has had the previous experience of being a Jesuit Volunteer I heard, "I feel I’m connected because I have Jesuit and Franciscan roots just like he now has!"
Like St. Francis, Pope Francis has agreed to walk that faith journey. We, as Franciscan Community Volunteers, walk with him!
- By Sr. Clara
March 26, 2013 at 11:02am
Last night, March 25th, the Franciscan Community Volunteers had a community night field trip. As you may know, the volunteers and FCV staff gather each Monday for reflection, prayer, and dinner. We had the opportunity last night to attend an event at the Spirituality Center on the nearby campus of the College of St. Benedict. The Benedictine sisters there have been sponsoring a series on the Modern Day Stations of the Cross; how Christ in our midst is suffering. The station reflected upon last night was how Jesus was stripped of his garments.
Immigrants and refugees arriving in a new country often have very few possessions with them; they are stripped of the culture and language they know, often leaving family members behind, and are expected to acclimate to a new culture with minimal support. With many of the refugees from Somalia fleeing the war in their homeland, they often come without many possessions and are waiting to be welcomed into the community here.
As the number of Somalians in St. Cloud grows -- about 11,000! -- this event and the organization is timely and very appreciated. The presentation was given by a Somali woman named Anab Mohamed Dahir, who is a mother of 5 and has lived in the US for 15 years (11 years in Tennessee before coming to St Cloud 4 years ago). Anab and her children live in the La Cruz community through Catholic Charities, where she says about 700 Somali live together. Anab has founded a new non-profit organization called W.O.M.E.N.4 C.M. The name represents that Somali women are: Wonderful, Outstanding, Mature, Excellent, and Necessary For Central Minnesota.
W.O.M.E.N.4 C.M. assists newly arriving Somali women in St. Cloud so that there is assistance for the newest members of the St. Cloud community and a way for them to learn basic guidelines for driving, immigration services, homework expectations so their children succeed in school. Anab shared that "our goal is to get women out of their homes and into the community, to help them get jobs, to help them learn about places in their community, to help them with driving, voting, parenting, to provide activities and education, an all the things that will help them to have a better future." Anab is currently working on the obtaining a non-profit status for the organization to help recieve donations; currently, the individual women and families are funding the W.O.M.E.N 4 C.M. efforts themselves.
We greatly appreciated Anab's candor and insight as many of the Franciscan Community Volunteers are working with immigrants, especially from Somalia, in organizations around St. Cloud. One of our current service sites is with the La Cruz community center through Catholic Charities. What a wonderful service this new organization is providing; may we all grow in our efforts to welcome our newest Central MN neighbors!
-By Kaitlin D.
March 5, 2013 at 02:47pm
Sr. Clara Stang has been the Director of the Franciscan Community Volunteers program since its beginning in 2009, and she has been a Franciscan Sister of Little Falls since 1957. Sr. Clara reflects here on Lent as a time to follow the example of St. Francis.
Lent is a time in the Church year when Christians focus on the Paschal Mystery, meaning the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Lent is a time to relate to and ponder the cross of Jesus Christ. Do we view the cross as a place of guilt and judgment or a place of conversion and freedom? Pondering these questions brings me to my knees. It gets me to wrestle with some very core questions. Who am I? Whose am I? What is most important in my life? What is freedom? In choosing to love is it necessary to choose to suffer?
St. Francis spent much of his life contemplating the Cross of Jesus. In this contemplation he asked and pondered a basic question, “Who are you God and who am I, Francis?” It is in front the Cross of Jesus, that Francis discovers God’s unconditional love. Francis comes to know a God who always chooses to Love. Love is God’s very essence. Gradually Francis comes to know that the reason God became one of us in our humanity as Jesus was precisely to teach us by word and example what it means to love.
It is before the Cross of Jesus that Francis also discovered his own purpose for life itself, namely to turn from selfishness in order to choose to love God and to choose to live a life love. This kind of love is not easy…there is a cost to love. The Cross the Jesus teaches how hard it is to always choose to love. Francis sought to love like Jesus did—and this for him was a life of daily conversion.
What an example Francis is for me. As a Franciscan, I’m realizing more and more that my life too is basically a call to love. It, too, is a call of conversion meaning I need to turn from selfishness to love. Even a life of daily conversion in itself would be totally impossible except that I know that God takes the initiative in loving me whether I love or not. The way of daily conversion is to rely on God’s love and grace to help me to be able to freely choose to love.
- By Sr. Clara
February 18, 2013 at 02:43pm
Lisa Yanzer is a 2012-2013 Franciscan Community Volunteer. Her story is unique in that she joined the FCV program after a year of long-term, post-grad service with the Jesuit Volunteers in Maine. Lisa serves at the St. Cloud School District #742 as an Autism Resource Program Assistant. Lisa offers a reflection on the Winter retreat weekend February 1st-3rd in Little Falls.
Our last moments together were spent at the airport. I remember vividly clinging to the three other people I spent a year with in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. We were unwilling to let go of each other after all that we had built in our incredible year together. Transitions are difficult; they are times of uncertainty and trust that we are ready to move towards something new or different. I came into the Franciscan Community Volunteer program the same day I left Portland, Maine and my community there. Eight hours of travel later, and I had transitioned from Maine to Minnesota and into a new community. I felt torn out of the comfort and love of relationships that were built through hard work and common goals and thrown into the unknown of relationships yet to be made.
I reflected on this transition when we recently went on our winter retreat. David Liedl led us in a prayer filled retreat; he named it "Lessons From the Deep: Leaving Thine Outgrown Shell by Life’s Unresting Sea.” He centered much of it on an amazing sea creature called the Chamber Nautilus. The Chamber Nautilus gives us a beautiful image of transitioning and growing. Throughout its life this sea creature moves into new chambers. Sealing off the old and outgrown chamber and living presently in the new, it does not leave these chambers behind to be forgotten but carries them with it always. We learned thought the retreat that, in a sense, this unique creature mirrors our own lives and the transitions we all are certain to face. I could see how perfectly this image reflected my transition from last year into this year.
David encouraged us to take time and reflect on life’s transitions and the beauty of that moment when you have indeed outgrown an old chamber and moved into something new and wonderful. This can be a very emotional thing to do. We spent much time searching inwardly and exploring those things in us that we often neglect to think about; maybe something is painful and we have been avoiding dealing with it or because we have built walls around those painful areas of our lives. For me it was another step in deconstructing what last year meant to me. I have transitioned out of my year with the JVCs, but I am still learning how it has affected me and how it will continue to affect the rest of my life. Even though my heart at times aches for my former community members, I am happily living in this new chamber, this community, and this year. Perhaps I moved into this chamber kicking and screaming, but I now live happily in its joys and challenges. It is good company to keep when you live with those who can, together with love, support, tears and laughter, dive deeply into true humanity.
“…Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul, As the swift seasons roll! Leave thy low-vaulted past! Let each new temple, nobler than the last, Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast, Till thou at length art free, Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes…
February 12, 2013 at 04:07pm
Sr. Rose Mae Rausch has been a Franciscan Sister for 63 years. She has ministered in many different countries and places in the United States. She joined the community of sisters that live with the Franciscan Community Volunteers in 2011, after serving as a missionary in Mexico. Sr. Rose Mae is one of the 5 Franciscan Sisters that currently live with the young adults pursuing long-term, post-grad service in the Franciscan Community Volunteers program. Sr. Rose Mae is pictured here with the other sisters living at the Franciscan Welcoming House; she is at the far right.
Hello everyone! I am Sister Rose Mae, one of the Franciscan Sisters, and I have the privilege of living with the Franciscan Community Volunteers. What a privilege. I myself have been a missionary in Venezuela for 8 years, and in Mexico for 7 years. Living with the wonderful young adults working for the Lord and the betterment of so many people in need, I definitely see that these young adults are TRUE missionaries, working here in our own country.
As they tell me their stories of their experiences in their ministries, I am astonished at the depths of the misery that they find and the depth of the own commitment to do all that they can to be of help. These young adults are giving of themselves, dedicating an entire year, without remuneration, to helping others. Our program is stable in the sense that they do receive personal support in this very demanding work that they do.
I thank God for them and ask God to bless them and all of their service.
-Sr. Rose Mae
February 4, 2013 at 12:00pm
The creation of a Minnesota snowman was much different from anything I have experienced from the central valley out in California. After 11 inches of snow fell in December, Shannon, Andy (her boyfriend) and I decided to go out and make a snowman. As we put on our snow gear, Andy asked, “Have you ever made a snowman coming from California?” Of course I had, as we often traveled just a few hours north to Lake Tahoe, CA.
As we entered the backyard, I finished putting on my water proof gloves, of which I had to borrow (insight to my level of preparedness), and began my way toward the center of the yard. Looking up I saw Shannon diving into the ground. “Wow!” I thought, “She must really like the snow!” Her hands crushed the snow in front of her as she crawled toward the center. Seeing her excitement, I could share in this joy, but I turned to Andy and asked, “What is she doing?” He so plainly responded, “Making a snowman— didn’t you say you’ve done it before?” Not quite understanding, I looked up to find some kind of clarity, when a giant ball preceded Shannon as she crawled along the grass, the snow disappearing. “What?!” I was in awe! Not quite processing this new concept, I had to verbally ask…“Did she roll that?” Yes, roll it she did!
My mind flashed through all the cartoons which depicted this scene, but I dismissed as the accuracy of Hollywood. Completely entertained by this new concept, I recorded the act as evidence. The ball was huge! I could not believe it, and once at the center of the yard, they started all over for the second level. Though this one we had to lift onto the first. “Well, being snow,” I thought…“no problem!” as the 11 inches we received equated to a mere inch of rain. I could lift this much in ice, or probably water, but how wrong I was! We rolled this snow ball up Shannon’s back and pushed it onto the first giant ball. Then finally the smallest “little” ball on top.
In sharing my very different experience with making a much smaller snowman, I was educated on the variance of snow…the hard and clumpy kind won’t stick together, the soft and slushy kind will just melt right away. I don’t know that I will be able to identify the perfect snowman-making snow, but my education and extensive display of various snow forms has me wondering each day: “Is this the right kind of snow?”
- By Kristine O.
January 30, 2013 at 10:10am
The following is a reflection shared by 2012-2013 Franciscan Community Volunteer Philip Lomneth on the 28th annual Homeless Memorial March, held on December 20th, 2012 in Minneapolis.
As a Franciscan Community Volunteer, Philip serves as an AmeriCorps Youth Leadership Advisor with GRIP, the Great River Interfaith Partnership.
I am cold. My toes are numb and my face feels frozen. No matter how much I try to warm my hands, the cold makes them ache just to move. And yet, I am fortunate. No, more than fortunate. I walk in silence with over a hundred people and carry the name of David, 53, North St Paul. People doing their Christmas shopping downtown pause and look at this strange parade of silent, frozen faces carrying the memory of all the people without a home who died in the past year.
We marched for at least an hour and a half, a pale-faced, larger than life puppet leading us forward, announcing our presence to all those around. When first seeing the figure, people seemed excited, but the longer they looked and as they read the names, the faces of excitement turned solemn. Some people looked away or rushed to pass us by; others could not stop staring. As we walked, a person would occasionally thank us or begin crying at what they saw. Did they know someone? A friend? A sister? A brother? Themselves? At one point, I heard two men debating: was this real? Did that many people in homelessness really die in Minnesota? Look how long the line is. No, Minnesota is a rich state…
Did that many people in homelessness really die in Minnesota? But Minnesota is a rich state. Look how long the line is. Yes, well over a hundred people without homes or who were formerly homeless died in Minnesota this past year. Yes, Minnesota is a wealthy state. But look at how many people are left out of that wealth.
So now what? I marched with people to raise awareness about homelessness in Minnesota, but the problem still exists. I still walk down the street and see people without homes, shelters are still far too full, and far, far too many people have no safe place to live. So what can I do about it?
Whenever I approach this question, I always feel the answer is twofold. The first part I can answer best with Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:35-36, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.” The problem of homelessness demands immediate action, demands that we give directly and exactly that which people need. Yes, it is as simple as that.
The second answer to what you and I must do requires another question. It requires us to ask why people are homeless in the first place. The answer to that question is as multifaceted as the people in homelessness, but that does not mean we can shy away from it. There are structures we participate in that keep people in homelessness, and we are called to change those systems. I do not believe we can nor we should change those structures on our own. I believe it a matter of pride to think that we can do so alone. If we wish to change the structures in our community that push people down, then we must join with other people to push back for change. Groups, such as the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, work to address issues like affordable housing that directly affect people in homelessness. And several other organizations here work to address structural poverty and inequity. If we truly wish to live in a more just world, I believe we must collaborate with these groups of people to bring about justice. If we won’t stand for one more person dying on the streets, if we want to stand for God’s justice, then we must stand alongside other people.
-By Philip L.
January 15, 2013 at 12:38pm
Every Monday night, the Franciscan Community Volunteers & program staff have Community Night, during which we focus on the three pillars of the FCV program: Service, Community Living, and Franciscan Spirituality. As the year has progressed, we have used the weekly gathering to explore the volunteers' service experiences and how they see connections to charity & justice issues. This comes in light of the pillars of community living and support, with the focus on how St. Francis modeled service and care for others through his faith.
At this point in the year, we are exploring Catholic Social Teaching, one topic at a time. Last evening, Sr. Clara led a discussion on Care for God's Creation, and it's evident that St. Francis treated the earth with reverence and care that is necessary for our world to continue to exist as a Creation, a Gift from God.
We looked at the 4 models expressed in "Ecology at the Heart of Faith" by Denis Edwards - how different they are!
"St. Francis intuitively realized that we belong to a cosmic family tied together by God’s loving act of creation." Daniel Horan
- Kaitlin D.
January 7, 2013 at 10:00am
Here in St. Cloud we have begun an active ‘Central Minnesota Anti Trafficking Task Force.’ January is the month devoted to Anti-Trafficking efforts. Thanks for prayers this weekend to end slavery and Trafficking.
The Franciscan Action Network (FAN) is an active member of the Coalition of Catholic Organizations Against Human Trafficking and works closely with the Anti-Trafficking Program of the USCCB (United States Council of Catholic Bishops).
Human Trafficking/Slavery is a high priority issue for many FAN members who will be interested in the new Amistad Movement awareness campaign in immigrant communities around the nation who are most vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking and the Weekend of Prayer in January. Learn more about these initiatives through the USCCB Anti-Trafficking eNewsletter.
- Sr. Clara Stang
December 13, 2012 at 12:42pm
A social justice reflection on Christmas with excepts taken from “A Monk in the Inner City” by Mary Lou Kownacki.
May God be with you and your family during this time of preparation for Christmas!
“When God enters human history as a poor child of a virgin, born in a stable with angels filling the sky, the old order is thrown into confusion. Who holds power now? How does the world look? How does it work? Who holds it together?
This shift in perspective provokes powerful changes. Anything becomes possible. It is possible that the powerless will dethrone the powerful. It is possible that swords will be beaten into plowshares. It is possible that the poor will triumph and slaves will be freed, and that all who call earth home can live to fullness.
What is the meaning of Christmas? To imitate God and imagine a different world.”
December 11, 2012 at 11:12am
Bells ring out each Christmas announcing the Good News that God’s Love has been made incarnate through the coming of Jesus. Our hope and prayer is that you and your loved ones will know the blessings of this Season of Love.
At this time we give thanks to the parents of our volunteers. Our Franciscan Community Volunteers are doing a marvelous job in carrying out the mission of Jesus in their lives and in their service with us. We give thanks for the many ways you support their work in these agencies: St. Cloud Children’s Home, Lutheran Social Service, Catholic Charities’ Immigration and Refugee Office, St. Cloud School District 742-Autism Resource Program, and GRIP (Great River Interfaith Partnership).
The volunteers thank their companions — Maureen Reynolds: Roger and Sue Linz and Sister Carol Virnig; Kristine Origone: Patty and Morris Keeling and Sister Maurita Bernet; Phil Lomneth: Tom and Cathy Rudolph and Sister Bernice Rieland; Lisa Yanzer: Caroline Linz and Sister MaryAnn Capizzo; Shannon Hagerty: Mary Helen Montgomery and Sister Joanne Heim.
We are most grateful to Father Tom Knoblach and Holy Spirit Parish for the use of Elizabeth Seton School and the Knights of Columbus for supporting us at the Pancake and Sausage Breakfast fundraiser. Chris Brixius and Mark Schneider graciously made the pancakes and sausages! Thank you to all who supported us in any way at that event!
We are greatful to Tom and Diane Cassady and Duane and Terry Sakry, who have become FCV Sustainers by donating $50 monthly. Thanks for your faithfulness and generosity. Thank you donors: Loren and Deanna Boone, Tom and Colleen Borgert, Pat and Lynda Brandt, Elaine Northern, Larry and Bea Britz, Dorothy Chizek, Bob Claegens, Pat and Kathryn Cox, Father Gerald Dalseth, Gary and Jo Hennen, Renee Hoffman, Morris and Patty Keeling, Bev and Cliff Korkowski, Sandra Krebsbach, Leander Kruchten, Gertrude Martini, Irene McGeary, Conrad Meier, Michael Monnens, Janice Morloch, MaryAnn Penick, Mike and Barb Petschl, Connie Sias, Brother Dan Stang, Rosie and Jim Sauer, and Janet Wiener.
Blessings to you and your family this Advent season!
- By Sr. Clara
December 4, 2012 at 03:45pm
We shared an invitation in this blog to attend the FCV Christmas Open House last week. We would now like to share some pictures and thanks as a follow up to the Open House.
First, a little history: The tradition of having a Christmas Open House began with the start of the Franciscan Community Volunteer program in 2009. The intent was to make the presence of the young adults serving as FCVs known to those in the neighborhood community. Franciscan sisters, families, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and sponsors were all invited to attend. Along with the Christmas celebration with these friends at the Open House, there began a tradition of having a theme to the event.... there has been a different display every year around rooms of the Franciscan Welcoming House and the Volunteer House, encouraging the guests to take a tour of the homes.
This year the display was art of Mary; we had about 40 different pictures, statues, or figurines of Mary, who we honor especially during the Advent season. The response of Mary, saying "yes" to God's call, is an inspiration to all. We were happy to have such beautiful displays borrowed for the event. Thanks to all who shared their art, and many thanks to Sr. Tonie Rausch, who helped by displaying the art in preparation for the event. Everything looked great!
Many people helped us provide wonderful festive goodies for the event, thank you! Nothing says "Christmas party" like a huge table full of cookies, bars, chips & salsa, and cheeses. Thank you to all who shared the Christmas spirit in this way.
It was great to see so many friends and neighbors there. Thanks for coming, we wish you a Happy Advent & a Merry Christmas!
-by Kaitlin D.
November 29, 2012 at 04:06pm
Here at the Franciscan Welcoming House, we are gearing up for the 4th annual Franciscan Community Volunteers Christmas Open House!
And you are invited to join us!
When: Sunday, December 2nd, 2012, 2-4pm
Where: Franciscan Welcoming House & Volunteer House at 1600 11th Ave. S. & 1025 16th St. S. in St. Cloud
Who: All friends, coworkers, neighbors, Franciscans, companions, family members, etc!
We'll have festive Christmas snacks, tours of our houses, artistic displays of Mary (our theme for this year), and lots of friendly faces. Hope you are able to come!
November 1, 2012 at 09:58am
We tried something new this fall!
Each year, the connections for our Franciscan Community Volunteer program grows. In our 4th year, we added in a Pancake & Sausage Breakfast fundraiser, which was held this past weekend at St. Elizabeth Seton school, which is right across the street from the Franciscan Welcoming House. The proceeds would go to support the Franciscan Community Volunteers.
The neat part of this connection is that the school, once Holy Spirit School, now called St. Elizabeth Seton school and is a Catholic grade school, was started by the Franciscan Sisters in Little Falls years ago. The sisters lived here in the Welcoming House and served at Holy Spirit school across the street. Sr. Clara, the FCV program director, was a 7th & 8th grade teacher for a few years there.
We titled the breakfast "Meet, Greet & Eat," acknowledging that many families in the neighborhood may not even realize that Franciscan Sisters still live in the same house as the Sisters who taught at the school years ago, and the neighbors may not know that there are now young adults, the Franciscan Community Volunteers, who are carrying out the Franciscan mission right in the community here.
Therefore, we hoped that people would come to MEET the volunteers who are serving generously during these 11 months, GREET their neighbors, family, friends, and possibly their former teachers from Holy Spirit, and EAT a great breakfast while doing so.
In our evaluation, we are glad to have reestablished some of our connections with the local neighborhood; being able to introduce the volunteer program to people was really the greatest part of the morning.
We are so grateful for all who helped make the day possible: our cooks, table servers, those who set up or cleaned up, ticket sellers and greeters, and especially all those who came! We were glad to see you!
-By Kaitlin D.
October 16, 2012 at 09:49am
There is lots of life, love and laughter as our six Franciscan Community Volunteers and the five Franciscan Sisters join hearts and prayer and prepare to form a new Franciscan Community this October!
You may well ask “what’s that mixture like?” Here is a short one-liner from each of us about living in this community:
Corey Dossey: “Everyone brings something very special to this community. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to live and serve with these incredible people.” (Corey provided service as an AmeriCorps Support Services Assistant at Talahi Elementary School)
Shannon Hagerty: “God created us to live in community, giving and receiving support, which leads to generosity and gratitude; the 11 of us hope to do just that.” (Shannon serves at the St. Cloud Children's Home as an AmeriCorps Clinical Support Assistant)
Sister Cordy Korkowski: “I can hear Saint Francis affirming us in our living of shared Gospel values—with support and love for each other.” (Sr. Cordy is the Pastoral Associate at St. Francis Parish in Sartell)
Philip Lomneth: “Living community has pushed me out of my comfort zone, forced me to let go of much of what I thought I knew in order to grow. This will be a challenging year, but one, I hope, with much growth.” (Philip's service position is the AmeriCorps Racial Equity & Youth Organizer at ISAIAH/GRIP)
Sister Michelle L’Allier: “As I transition into this vibrant community, I’m grateful for the opportunity to live in an intergenerational community for Gospel living and serving.” (Sr. Michelle is our community newest member; she will be working with Young Adult Ministry in the St. Cloud area)
Sister Ange Mayers: “Living in the FCV community means each is being Eucharist—being nurtured and nurturing in the spirit of Francis and Clare.” (Sr. Ange is the Co-Vocation Director for the Franciscan Sisters)
Kristine Origone: “Living in a community attests to the truth that we are always a part of, and affecting, much beyond what we can see.” (Kristine's service as an FCV is as the AmeriCorps Immigrant and Refugee Services Assistant at La Cruz and Bel Clare Community Centers through St. Cloud Catholic Charities)
Sister Rose Mae Rausch: “It is indeed a privilege for me to grow in relationships with these very beautiful and outstandingly generous young people! May God be praised!” (Sr. Rose Mae is our wisdom guru and recently returned missionary in our midst!)
Maureen Reynolds: “I’ve never lived with so many people! It’s definitely an adjustment, but it is already proving to be a wonderful experience.” (Maureen provides her long-term service as an AmeriCorps Refugee Caseworker at Lutheran Social Service)
Sister Clara Stang: “A highlight is when all of us gather at one table! It’s a celebration of the giftedness of diversity within the bondedness of community.” (Sr. Clara Stang is the Director of the Franciscan Community Volunteers)
Lisa Yanzer: “It’s a great joy living in community with so many wonderful people. I am excited to continue growing in faith with this group.” (Lisa serves as an AmeriCorps Autism Resource Program Assistant at St. Cloud Public Schools)
-Posted by Kaitlin D. Contributions by all :)
October 15, 2012 at 10:27am
Franciscan Community Volunteers Lisa Yanzer & Shannon Hagerty reflect on the group's service day with Morrison County Habitat for Humanity in Little Falls, MN on Saturday September 15th. We chose this weekend in response to the National Day of Remembrance and Service on 9/11. The Franciscan Community Volunteers worked on this special project with Habitat for Humanity as their way of connecting with other long-term volunteers who also served in a special way to honor the 9/11 memory.
This year as Franciscan Community Volunteers we will have many opportunities to grow in relationship with one another, our greater community, and in our faith through service and the desire to continue to grow in relationship with each other through Christ.
Recently we had the chance to build in a nonfigurative way through Habitat for Humanity of Morrison County. The six of us FCVs and our associate director worked with four other volunteers to build a home, benefitting a local family. As each wall frame was pieced together we were challenged and guided to learn new skills, such as how to run a nail gun, measure, saw and hammer. One of the most enjoyable parts of the day was to see the progress we made. When we arrived on the site, it was merely a cement slab; when we were ready to leave, there stood the full frame of the house.
We used many tools that day to help in the building at the Habitat site, but we also received many useful tools to take back with us into community, such as receiving and giving constructive criticism, and a new found appreciation for the importance of working together. Communication skills were built and patience and love were used throughout that day. These tools are so important for us, because each time we use them we grow in community with one another which will enable us to live our life of service and community this coming year. Beyond the joys and challenges of building the frame of a house and working with one another to complete such a task in a day, it was great getting involved with the Habitat for Humanity site. It allowed us to reach beyond our service sites and to grasp more fully the needs of the community.
We seek to learn about our greater community here in St. Cloud and the surrounding area. We are able to do so through our various service sites and sharing with one another around the dinner table. To be able to gather together and share the experience of building a house for a family in need was a great way to bring together our desire to get involved with the community and our commitment to service and justice.
- By Shannon H & Lisa Y.
September 28, 2012 at 10:02am
Every week, the Franciscan Community Volunteers have a busy Monday evening: they come home from work early to attend a Community Night, with a gathering of the volunteers and staff for reflection, sharing, discussion on their service sites, personal growth, exploration of Franciscan spirituality, and community development. Following that gathering is a prayer organized by one of the community members, and dinner as a large group of Franciscan Community Volunteers, Franciscan Sisters who live at the Welcoming House here in St. Cloud, and any guests that are invited that particular Monday.
At our community night this Monday, the prayer was particularly powerful. Members of Christ Church Newman Center visited and led us in praise & worship as group. The energy and peace that filled the room was inspiring. I couldn’t help but notice that almost everyone in the room was familiar with the praise songs already and that familiarity helped us sing praise as a community, focusing on the prayer instead of the words involved.
I’ve been thinking about another praise song and just how fitting it is to this community and long-term volunteering in general. The song: “My Desire” by Jeremy Camp, in which the refrain says “This is my desire, This is my return, This is my desire to be used by you.”
The connection between that song and long-term service that spoke to me was that when a young person decides to volunteer for a year, they ultimately say to God, “I want to be used by you… I want you to lead me to where you need me to go… I want to be your instrument in service.” St. Francis asked for God to use him as an instrument of peace too.
In choosing to do something so radical for young people in their 20s, the Franciscan Community Volunteers and other young adults all over the world are giving a year of their life in demanding service, moving away from their familiar surroundings, living in an intentional community with others, and expanding their comfort zone. The Franciscan Community Volunteers have put so much trust in God to lead them to a place where they are being called to be used by God.
-By Kaitlin D.
September 10, 2012 at 03:30pm
Recenty, I had the privilege to take a few days off as my time as FCV Associate Director comes to an end and backpack through the Black Hills of South Dakota. It was my first experience backpacking and I was pretty nervous as I laced up my hiking boots. Would my legs give out? How bad would my back hurt from the 30lbs strapped on? And just how high are these mountains?
The nervousness faded away as I slowly immersed myself in the environment. The landscape was breathtaking - old growth forests, running streams, rock formations jutting out of the Earth, and wildlife you can't find anywhere else. I found myself falling in love with this deeply authentic way to spend time in nature.
Moreover, I was struck by how spiritual the experience felt. I was reminded of Francis, who found God's presence in all. He believed in a deep sense of sacramentality. And I too was awed by God's creation with each step on the rocky path. To me, the beauty with which we are graced with on Earth is a visible sign of God's love for us and God's desire for us to live in beauty and harmony.
For me, this experience was deepened by the fact that backpacking is a challenging practice in simplicity. I only carried one extra shirt, just enough food for the four days, and I washed up in the stream. There was no access to internet and rarely a cell signal. Stripped away of distractions and forced to live on, and in harmony with, the Earth brought me into a deeper understanding of the life Francis lived - taking only what he needed, and often less, minimizing any negative impact he had on others and the Earth. He sacrificed in a Christ like way in order to serve others and God.
Lastly, I felt blessed to experience these lands that not only felt sacred to me, but have been a sacred space for American Indian tribes for centuries. While we may use different words, I felt a keen awareness that what I call sacramentality is probably similar to the synergy and harmony with the Earth that these tribes experience. Knowing these were sacred lands of others challenged me to go deeper in my own spirituality, practice of simplicity and care for the Earth to the best of my ability.
Back home with the Franciscan Community Volunteers I reflect on how to deepen the ability to experience sacrementality and care for creation in a post-graduate volunteer experience. May our Franciscan Community Volunteers have many opportunities in the coming months to do so!
-By Anna Z.
September 4, 2012 at 11:00am
2012-2013 Franciscan Community Volunteer Kristine Origone shares her volunteer experience with family and friends, and she invites us to read about her MN adventure. Kristine joined the FCVs from her home in Lodi, California, and she provides service at Catholic Charities with the La Cruz and Bel Clare Estates communities.
Thank you, Kristine, for sharing your reflection with us! We are glad you're here!
Hello! I hope this note finds you well on this Labor Day!! Just another update for my week.
Much has happened these past couple weeks. Though mostly internally! There has been a change; difficult, but good! I have found myself undergoing and being more willing to face things that I have kept hidden. I have found myself desiring to face challenges that I would have desired to cower down from. I have found myself leaning ever more dependently and confidently on a God that loves and cares for those with whom He hungers for relationship. I have found it funny that God has brought me all the way over here to begin working on my heart, but I am forced to ask is that Him bringing me over here to do that, or is that me being more willing to listen to what He has been attempting to do this whole time. Through all of this, I foresee even more growth than I had formerly predicted, which is wonderful!!!
For my daily life, things haven't really changed much since I have last written! At my service site, I have been doing much at my desk, not quite out with the kids yet, as they start school this week. One of our sites will start its after-school program this week as well, and then the site I will primarily be at will be starting up next week. My site supervisor wants me to come up with family and teen group activities, so that will be touching a familiar area of work for me, as I did social groups back home with ARS. I really look forward to that!!
At the service site, I also see so many growing opportunities, as we all have different approaches of the same situation. This reminds me of a story a good friend of mine told me in regards to a monastary. She said that a man once responded when asked about the challenges of community life, it is great, but everybody's mom cooked the potatoes a little differently. So just to say that we are all working for the same goal (cooked potatoes), but have different means of getting there.
Here at the house, I have found a greater desire to grow in my intentionality of community life. I see the beauty of those around me, the differences and similarities of each of my community members. I have spent some time this past weekend really trying to find ways to enter into this community more fully, as my fears and insecurities find ways of minimizing engagement.
-By Kristine O.
August 22, 2012 at 01:23pm
Hello! As I begin a new adventure as the Associate Director for the Franciscan Community Volunteer program, I am excited to be here and share a little about myself with you. My roots are in the Mankato, Minnesota area, where I grew up with wonderful parents, two brothers, and a huge extended family. Our family gatherings are sometimes close to 100 people and happen a few times a year, so being back in MN, I look forward to being around more for the weddings and holiday gatherings that we celebrate.
My background in ministry focuses mainly on a Lasallian spirituality; I received a degree in Pastoral & Youth Ministry from St. Mary's University in Winona MN. My path then led me to join the Lasallian Volunteers, a long-term volunteering ministry of the Christian Brothers of De La Salle. I volunteered for a year in Kansas City, Missouri at Holy Family House, a Catholic Worker House where we welcomed many individuals and families for meals each night. This ministry to the homeless was both chaotic and life-giving, attending to the basic needs of anyone who came through the door. The next year of service with the Lasallian Volunteers had me working in the Campus Ministry & Social Action office at Manhattan College in the Bronx, New York. I was able to use my experience with poverty in Kansas City to support students by creating volunteer opportunities throughout the year. For those students, being able to step off campus into the Bronx, which is the poorest urban county in the US, and serve those in their neighborhood was eye-opening.
After volunteering, I returned to Pipestone, MN and worked in a parish setting as the Director of Faith Formation for a Tri-Parish in the southwestern corner of the state. I worked with all ages, everyone between preschool and adults, overseeing the faith formation classes, bible studies, sacramental preparation, and youth activities.
I am very excited to be in this new position with the Franciscan Community Volunteer program. Being able to work in this supportive environment and in a position that makes it possible for others to have faith-filled volunteer experiences is a perfect fit. So far, my experience with the staff and community here at the Welcoming House has been wonderful, and I look forward to continue exploring Franciscan spirituality and making connections within the St. Cloud community.
Posted by Kaitlin D.
August 14, 2012 at 01:45pm
It's hard to believe that it was less than ten days ago that the six new 2012-2013 Franciscan Community Volunteers were arriving in central Minnesota. Some arrived after several hours on a plane, some were driven here by parents or friends, and one had only had a few blocks to travel. We are so grateful for their safe and enthusiastic arrivals to St. Cloud and to the Franciscan Community Volunteers program.
Our first week of orientation together consisted of introductions to one another in the community, the Sisters, their site supervisors, their companions and sisters who will pray for their well-being this year. We had lots of free time scheduled in as well, which is when we discovered how active our volunteers are this year. Even after discussing the handbook one afternoon, the volunteers spent their free time in community, riding bikes to Lake George to explore the free paddleboats & standing boards.
Other fun things we did included a pontoon ride with some of the Franciscan Sisters in Little Falls, a picnic social with the Companions at the Summertime By George concerts, an afternoon at the Air Maxx trampoline park, exploring key places around St. Cloud like the library, Clemens Gardens, the Newman Center, the Cathedral, and a tour at the Stearns County History museum.
Many of our hours the community spent together were around the meal table, where great meals and conversations were shared. Many thanks to our great cooks and companions at these meals. We're on a great start to building a wonderful community this year.
After a weekend of celebration in Little Falls for the commissioning service on Saturday and S. Michelle L'Allier's 25th jubilee (S. Michelle will join the community in October), the volunteers began working at their service sites around St. Cloud yesterday. S. Cordy here at the Welcoming House refered to yesterday being the "Launch Pad" for the year; how appropriate for their start to a wonderful year... ready to start service with open hearts!
Posted by Kaitlin D.
July 3, 2012 at 09:08am
We are missing our FCVs dearly now that they have "graduated" from Franciscan Community Volunteers last week. Luckily, we have lots of pictures to remember them by, and to remember all that we learned throughout the year in the areas of service, Franciscan spirituality, and community. Here are a few from our closing activities in the month of June.
Back in May, during the Taste of St. Cloud, we had a silent auction. One of the items won was a meal with the Franciscan Community Volunteers and the Franciscan Sisters at the Welcoming House. S. Bernice Rieland's family won and they joined us in June for the meal:
Here Michael and Brandon serve up the salad course with S. Ange (Can you find S. Cordy in the background?):
Next, we had our final community night and were able to spend time with our sponsors one last time. We shared in a prayer service together where we lit candles for what we will leave behind and what we will take with us:
Julia with her sponsors Patty and Morris
Michael wtih S. Cordy and S. Ange:
And with S. Maurita and her guitar present, we couldn't miss the opportunity for a little sing-along:
During our last Tuesday night meal the Franciscan Community Volunteers posed wtih the FCV tree - it was planted the first year our program started:
Finally, we ended our year with our closing retreat. There was lots of time for reflection, sharing and storytelling, as we are doing here with Ss. Carol and Issa:
But there was also lots of time for fun. Here we are playing the "official" card game of the FCV program, "Hand and Foot:"
We feel so blessed to have had these five amazing people a part of the Franciscan Community Volunteer program. And we wish them all the best in their future endeavors!