Franciscan Formation Friends 2021 Newsletter Vol. 1
Week 1-3: September 10, 2021
Welcome to the FMS e-newsletter! Each week, our newsletter will be highlighting what our missioners are learning through their and mission preparation at Casa San Salvador, the FMS missioner house. If you would like to submit a prayer for the missioners as they also pray for you, please click here to be a part of the Missioner Prayer Community! Enjoy these stories from the missioners' first three weeks!
New Arrivals to the Casa San Salvador
In August, the Casa welcomed seven new DC Service Corps members and four international missioners in formation. For the next three months, the four international missioners will be undergoing extensive spiritual, mental, and cultural training and sharing meals, prayer, chores, and laughter with the rest of the Casa residents.

International missioners in formation pictured with FMS Program Director, Emily Norton (middle). From left to right: Mari Snyder, Victor Artaiz, Emily Norton, Sr. Meg Earsley, and Julia Pinto.
Orientation Week
On August 25th, the participants of the Overseas Lay Mission program and DC Service Corps program embarked on a week of orientation activities led by the FMS staff. The days were packed with icebreakers and teambuilding activities as well as spiritual reflections and program information sessions.
One of the first teambuilding activities, aptly named "The Marshmallow Challenge," (left), prompted the missioners to build the highest freestanding tower possible using only dry spaghetti, string, tape, and a marshmallow. In teams of four, the missioners had to rely on each other to solve problems and complete the task within an 18-minute period. After the time was up and the winner was called, Program Director Emily Norton led the groups in a discussion about the connections between the intense problem-solving during the challenge and effective communication in community life.
The missioners pictured during a trust exercise at the Shrine of St. Anthony in Ellicott City, MD

On the final day of Orientation, the Casa was visited by FMS board member Fr. Larry Hayes, OFM from St. Camillus Parish in Silver Spring, MD. After saying Mass in the Casa chapel, Fr. Larry led an engaging discussion (right) about the basics of Franciscan spirituality and the teachings of St. Francis and St. Clare. The missioners learned that as Franciscans in community, they are called to live as a "contemplative fraternity in mission." This means that Franciscan communities should ground their activity in daily contemplative prayer, live in intentional community with one another, and commit themselves to service.
Formation Begins at the Casa
After the buzz of orientation week died down, it was time for Formation to begin. The missioners partake in several Formation sessions and activities per week during this period. Last Tuesday, the missioners joined DC Service Corps members for a session on Intentional Community that highlighted the importance of cooperation and peaceful communication. Julia Pinto, an international missioner, noted her main takeaway from the session:
"When someone else's perspective challenges your own, turn to wonder and curiosity. Allow for the possibility of multiple experiences and perspectives to create a larger, shared space."
During the session on Intentional Community, missioners illustrated masks with symbols of their own obstacles to communication that "mask" their true selves. What "mask" are you wearing that might be preventing your true self from shining through?
Missioners reflected on planting seeds of the Franciscan charism in their lives by trying out new daily practices while in Formation. 
This past Thursday, Marcy Victor, LCSW, MPH, led the missioners in a session called "Emotional and Mental Health Tools on Mission." In it, the missioners learned various techniques for self-care, ways to prevent compassion fatigue and burnout, and instructions on building healthy boundaries. Join the missioners in taking a quick assessment to see if you are experiencing compassion fatigue.
"[I] Collected numerous tools to support good mental health overseas. Having healthy boundaries was enlightening and pointed out areas to be aware of and improved upon."
-Victor Artaiz, international missioner
FMS Welcome Potluck!
Please join us for a friendly, casual, community-building potluck at
Casa San Salvador (1323 Quincy St. NE, Washington, DC 20017)
on Tuesday, September 14 from 6:30-8:30 pm.

All are welcome! Stop by to meet the newest members of the FMS family.

We kindly ask that unvaccinated guests wear masks indoors when not eating or drinking.

Vaccinated guests may, of course, wear masks if they choose to do so.
Franciscan Saint of the Week
St. Benedict the Moor
The Franciscan tradition is brimming with Saints, Blesseds and Venerables included in the Roman Canon. Each week, we will highlight a new Franciscan who lived a notable life of holiness.

This week’s saint is St. Benedict the Moor, who was born in 1526 in Messina, Italy. Benedict was born into an enslaved family, but was freed at the age of eighteen, whereupon he joined a group of Franciscan friars living in Palermo. There, he was so highly regarded for his spiritual intelligence and holiness that he was appointed as superior of the friars, but after several years in this position, he asked to be demoted to the more humble position of cook. Even as cook, people flocked to see St. Benedict for spiritual guidance and confession, and he was known for emphasizing the importance of charity and compassion in human relationships. He died at the age of sixty-three, and is heralded as a patron saint by Black Americans.
St. Benedict the Moor
Let's stay connected!
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