service - Related Content

Service Saturday: mutuality at its core

Thursday, January 26th 2017 2:15 pm
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

 

Most Saturdays, especially those overshadowed by rain and cold, are prime sleep-in opportunities for college students. Yet at 8:30 a.m. last weekend more than 60 from Viterbo University came through doors of St. Rose Convent with light and joy to join FSPA in a day of service projects. The energy and excitement was contagious as participants eagerly grabbed fabric to make blankets and dry ingredients to package instant soup in jars, ready to share their joy of life with others.

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Service Saturday students from Viterbo University at St. Rose Convent

Collaboration between the Viterbo community and the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration on behalf of serving others was the theme dubbed Service Saturday. As FSPA director of membership I co-coordinated the event with Kirsten Gabriel (director of Viterbo's service learning program) who reminded everyone of the mutual transformation that is possible when we enter into service with open minds and hearts.

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A Viterbo student makes valentines for veterans with Sister Esther Leis

Sister Antona Schedlo reiterated the importance of service as it contributes to mission. Sharing her vocation story and commitment to the mission of FSPA, she challenged everyone to follow their dreams and take time to ponder how far they are willing to go to reach them. Her goal as a young sister was to serve as a missionary and, although it took more than 17 years, she did make it to the mission fields of her dreams in El Salvador. She invited participants to look beyond the projects of the day into the deeper reality of serving others throughout their lives. The activities are more than tasks to complete: sewing mittens to donate to The Salvation Army is a way to stitch together the stories of those in need and letting their lived realities change your outlook.


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Two of the many pairs of mittens knitted that day

Heads nodded as the wisdom of Sister Antona’s thought-provoking statements took root. More than hands were busy later that morning as students pondered the deeper meaning of packing hygiene bags for homeless, frosting Valentine cookies for a local shelter, writing letters of care and encouragement to people they don't know nor will see face-to-face.

You could almost hear them wondering what it's like to walk in the shoes of someone in need. What lessons do they teach? How are both parties changed in their awareness? The Gospels are filled with stories of Jesus accompanying others in good times and challenging ones, inspiring the disciples not to impose power but to walk with the people. St. Francis of Assisi learned this lesson by taking time to accompany the lepers; observing and then taking action.

Discernment has such mutuality at its core.

It takes the willingness to learn and grow along the journey of life. Sometimes it means relinquishing control and letting God provide the lesson—vulnerability offered for those willing to let the experiences of service sink in.

How can the idea of collaboration shed light on your discernment journey?

Are you open to the idea that God co-creates with you the future?

Want more inspiration for service and discernment? Check out the recent Global Sisters Report article "Oh, the places you'll go if you collaborate."

Sister Dorothy's Six Word Story

Tuesday, August 9th 2016 10:15 am
Sister Dorothy Dunbar, FSPA


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What's your six word discernment story?

As we prepare for Memorial Day

Thursday, May 24th 2018 10:00 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

 

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Image courtesy pixabay.com

As we begin to contemplate Memorial Day, let us give pray for and praise to all who have died in service for their country.

And, today and every day, let us pray for world peace.

*Do you know someone experiencing discernment of religious life? We invite you to share this link, www.fspa.org/showmeasign, and join the conversation.

Following Francis: the margins may be closer than you think

Tuesday, October 4th 2016 3:19 pm
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA


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Statue "Dancing Francis"

Each year on October 4 we celebrate the Feast of St. Francis: a day when many revel in the perpetual presence of a man said to be peaceful; a patron of ecology and advocate of animals (inspiring annual pet blessings around the world).

 

 

 

 





FSPA-supported free wellness screening for the underserved. 

But this year I invite you to venture away from the customary events—to go to the margins of his spirituality. Francis was not a perfect man with 20/20 vision. He had no intention of becoming a saint. Stepping out of his comfort zone through conversion he learned to embrace ministry to the lepers. The place of his greatest fear became the sweetness of service.

 

 

 

 

 





Sister Donna Stevens (center) serves White Mountain Apache substance abuse treatment center.

Among the lepers Francis saw the pain of ostracization by family, friends and faith communities. Yet he stretched out a mantle of care and compassion, casting aside the label “unclean” as he and his followers tended to the wounds of the afflicted, soothed to restore dignity to each person.


FSPA collaborates with U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking (and other national/local groups) to eradicate modern day slavery.

Jesus does not promise a life of ease when following the call to discipleship. Gospel ministry requires long hours and challenging service. Encountering your brothers and sisters on the liminal edge—a space you may feel uncomfortable in—can challenge your values and compel you beyond your conscious. Each encounter with a life reality different than your own leads to greater understanding of humanity. On the Feast of St. Francis let us applaud the inspiration of the peace-keeper and ecologist; the patron of animals and founder of a religious order (here are the Gospel texts that guided the Franciscan Order formation: Mark 10:21Matthew 16:24 and Luke 9:3). But let us also accept his call today and everyday to search out those on the periphery. The margins may be closer than you think.

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Sisters serving meals to the homeless.

Who do you see outside the boundaries?
How will you reach out to these brothers and sisters in need?

How is St. Francis guiding you? Post a comment and inspire us!

Sister Pauline's Six Word Mission Story

Tuesday, February 21st 2017 10:00 am
Sister Pauline Wittry, FSPA

 

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Are you willing to share (post a comment below) your own Six Word Mission Story?

Honoring service, goodness

Monday, September 3rd 2018 8:00 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

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Image courtesy of Pixabay

 

May this be a day of relaxation, renewal and honor of our gifts of service to the world as we celebrate Labor Day.

*Do you know someone experiencing discernment of religious life? We invite you to share this link, www.fspa.org/showmeasign, and join the conversation.

 

Turn your back or open your arms to discernment?

Thursday, February 1st 2018 1:00 pm
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA


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A fleece blanket, crafted and wrapped  with care for someone in need

Lori True composed and sings a wonderful song called “What Have We Done for the Poor Ones.” This past Saturday, FSPA sisters, Viterbo University students, staff and alumni took this question to heart as they spent the morning together making blankets, scarves, hats, cards, hygiene bags and affirmation jars to be given with care for those in need. For these volunteers, each project provided a personal pathway of understanding; a way to reach out to the forgotten and the vulnerable who Scripture reminds us to look out for. We are called to provide for the child removed from violent households, for the men and women who wander our streets with no place to call home, and the elderly who wait for a sign that they have not been forgotten. How would it feel to ceaselessly long for loving memories in a strange environment (instead of the horror of being pulled away from your family)? How would it feel to get frostbite because your coat can't fend off the bitter cold? How would it feel to endlessly sit, stranded in front of a window in a nursing home, praying for a sign that someone still cares you’re alive?

How do we see these neighbors as our brothers and sisters in Christ?

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Sister Fran and students cut fabric for scarves

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Hand-made hygiene bags filled by students for homeless teens

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Sister Carrie Kirsch and a Viterbo student weave hats

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Sisters Margaret Schmolke (left), students and Sister Margaret Wagner worked as a team to create a soft, warm blanket

The day called for all to weave together a sense of community support for those who are readily seen as suffering as well as for the hidden poor; to remember that the statistics we see on TV, newspapers and social media feeds are individuals — not nameless numbers from a census taken of a faceless population. Every digit is a flesh-and blood-person who has hopes and dreams for their futures too. When we put ourselves in the experience of others, compassion and care arise along with a desire to help. And we have a choice whether to see the suffering of humanity right in front of us ... or not. Will we live with eyes wide open or avert our glance, ignoring our brothers and sisters in need? 

Discernment also comes with this choice. Will you turn your back or open your arms to your call in life?

What will you do?

*Do you know someone experiencing discernment of religious life? We invite you to share this link, www.fspa.org/showmeasign, and join the conversation.

Sister Dorothy's 6 Word Story of Hope

Tuesday, September 22nd 2020 4:05 pm
Dorothy Dunbar, FSPA


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Visit us again to experience new Show me a sign 6 Word Stories of Hope.


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