FRANCISCAN COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER PROGRAM

MISSION STATEMENT


The mission of the Franciscan Community Volunteer Program is to invite young adults into a process of companionship with the poor in the spirit of Saints Francis and Clare.

VISION STATEMENT


Franciscan Community Volunteers are committed Christians, ages 21-30. They seek to fulfill this mission through a 11 month program of direct service and advocacy with those who are poor and share community living supported by prayer, reflection and discussion on the Gospel.

As a unique experience, the volunteers will not only serve those living in the margins, but also discover some of the ways in which poor people reveal the message of the Gospel.

Franciscan Community Volunteers work in cooperation with and share the charism of the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, Minnesota. The Franciscan Community Volunteer Program is located in St. Cloud, Minnesota.


MEANINGFUL SERVICE


QUICK FACTS:

  • Volunteers serve 36-40 hours/week at a social service agency
  • FCV matches the volunteers passion to a community need
  • Each site has a Site Supervisors that supports and mentors at the site
  • Most positions eligible for up to a $5,000 FCV funded education award   
  • Monthly group service days with the FCV volunteer community

Today, as in the past, Christians are challenged by a world that is filled with poverty, injustice and oppression. A response that St. Francis of Assisi made was to meditate on and follow the Jesus of the Gospel, who came to preach the good news to those in poverty and to teach them of their incredible worth in the eyes of God.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” Luke 4: 18-19

FCVs commit 11 months of service with those who are poor in the St. Cloud area. The volunteers seek, through their work with those who are struggling on the margins of life, to discover God in the persons they serve. As volunteers engage in various forms of service, they seek to cultivate an interior love for those who are poor. A variety of experiences working for justice are available to the volunteers, including work with: schools, troubled teens, youth programming, health clinics, social service agencies, mental health agencies, the homeless, child care programs, hospice, seniors, women and children’s shelters and multi-cultural ministry. Franciscan Community Volunteers are placed in work settings that suit their previous education and experience. They receive work supervision in their site placements.


INTENTIONAL COMMUNITY


QUICK FACTS:
  • Intentional community living at the Franciscan Welcoming House is amazing
  • 3 Franciscan sisters and up to 6 FCVs live and grow together
  • Volunteers each get their own large bedroom and there is a large community room for the volunteers
  • Community Nights on Monday are a way to learn and grow in discussion & reflection, prayer & a shared meal
  • Volunteers and Sisters share household tasks - cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, etc.

Franciscan Community Volunteers live in an intentional Franciscan Community. Together they develop a covenant of shared goals, committing to live with and for each other. Believing in living the Gospel of peace, love and mutuality, they are dedicated to working through the difficulties and celebrating the joys of community living. Community living provides an opportunity to live a lifestyle committed to justice and simplicity.

Franciscan Community Volunteers participate in the daily operation of the community and share in the care and upkeep of the house. The “house” is actually a home shared with a small community of Franciscan Sisters. They are on a bus line and are close to the sites where the volunteers work, offering the availability of walking, biking or using public transportation. Along with the day to day experience of living together, cooking and eating together, buying groceries, cleaning, and sharing with each other their work experiences, the volunteers strive for a spirit of compassion, friendship and mutual support in carrying out the goals of the program. Community life may be the most difficult, while perhaps at the same time, the most rewarding part of the experience. As they address the injustices in the world, they begin by working on creating a more just world at home.


SPIRITUALITY


QUICK FACTS:
  • Share responsibility of leading prayer for community nights
  • Learn about Franciscan spirituality shared by the Sisters
  • Four retreats throughout the year (orientation, fall, winter, closing retreat)
  • Prayers and support from Companions/Sponsors and Praying sisters 
  • Opportunity for spiritual direction


The spiritual journey is an integral part of the Franciscan Community Volunteer Program. Together they reflect on spirituality within the context of our culture, as well as its meaning in the midst of working with those who are poor and marginalized. One of the focuses becomes a life of personal and communal prayer. While the program provides weekly opportunities for liturgy, the volunteers are also encouraged to create other times and ways that enable them to grow in their experience of communal prayer.

In addition, the volunteers are given the opportunity to cultivate a deeper spiritual life through:
  • a better understanding of their own spirituality
  • exploration of different methods of prayer
  • opportunities for Spiritual Direction

Volunteers are exposed to the theology of prayer and they experience various methods and styles that help them focus on their unique relationship with God.

Spiritual Direction is companionship and involves a special relationship that is grounded in the commitment of one person to help another grow in his/her journey with God. It is a ministry with a long history in the church. FCV is blessed to have a number of trained and experienced spiritual directors in the local area who are willing to make themselves available to the individual volunteers on a regular basis.

Along with a week of orientation, and a closing retreat, there are two weekend retreats, one in the fall and one in the spring, which provide an extended time for both personal and communal experiences of prayer. These retreats offer the time for volunteers to step away from their work and focus more intensely on the area of spiritual formation.