Franciscan Formation Friends 2021 Newsletter Vol. 5
Week 7: October 8, 2021
On Sunday, FMS staff, international missioners in training, and DC Service Corps partook in Transitus, a ceremony that commemorates the last hours of St. Francis's life.
Welcome to the FMS e-newsletter! Each week, our newsletter will be highlighting what FMS missioners are learning through their mission preparation at Casa San Salvador, the FMS missioner house of hospitality. 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 Week 7!
A Week of Celebration
Monday was the Feast of St. Francis, and the FMS staff and missioners spared no opportunity to celebrate this week.
Participants in the Transitus ceremony gather with candles outside the Portiuncula chapel on the grounds of the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America.
Every week, one member of the Casa community leads their housemates in an activity that brings the community closer. This week, Julia Pinto, international missioner in formation, orchestrated a challenging game of catchphrase that involved fast-paced charades under a sheet. Much laughter and community bonding ensued.
On Tuesday, the Casa community enjoyed an all-appetizer dinner that Sr. Meg Earsley, international missioner in formation, and Lauren Barry, DC Service Corp volunteer, spent days preparing.
The weekend preceding the feast of St. Francis on Monday, some DC Service Corps volunteers enjoyed camping at Patapsco State Park in Maryland.
Pictured left to right: Tori Wangler, Joanie McMahon, Lauren Barry, and Anna Fluharty.
Catholic Social Teaching
On Tuesday, the Casa was visited by Charlie Gardner, the Program Officer for an Inclusive Economy at‎The Winston-Salem Foundation in North Carolina. Charlie spoke to the DC Service corp members and missioners in formation about the core principles of Catholic Social Teaching, which, as he explained, is often misunderstood in some Catholic communities. Charlie outlined the principles of Catholic Social Teaching, such as respecting the dignity of the human person, care for creation, and solidarity with the vulnerable, and he pointed out that these principles are emphasized in the New and Old Testaments of the Bible. Missioners in formation and DC Service Corp members read aloud passages from the Bible and Encyclicals like Laudato si and Evangelii Gaudium. With Charlie's guidance, the participants of his session were able to identify the sources of the core principles of Catholic Social Teaching.
"I appreciated exploring the long tradition of social justice within the Church, connecting the pillars of social justice to scripture, and being reminded that these teachings can't be confined to the page. They must become incarnate in our lives as Christians."
-Emily Putzke, DC Service Corp volunteer
Acknowledging Power and Privilege
"Revolution of the Heart," original watercolor by Annemarie Barrett
For the next three weeks, international missioners in formation will be doing the difficult but necessary job of tackling the subject of power and privilege dynamics within ministry. Annemarie Barrett, who served in Bolivia with FMS from 2013-2016 and now lives there permanently, met with the missioners in formation over Zoom on Thursday to discuss the subject. "Our Zoom time with Annemarie was an awakening of understanding of my white and western world life's privilege," said Victor Artaiz, who is a current missioner in formation, "Her story-telling and emphasized sentiments of humility and the letting go of innocence practice, will help to nurture future relationships on mission." Annemarie will visit the missioners in formation twice more to discuss cultural sensitivity and to further discuss the power and privilege dynamics that the missioners will need to be aware of when traveling to their mission sites in January.
2021 World Care Benefit
We invite you to our long-awaited “Franciscan Fall Festival” 2021 World Care Annual Benefit & Celebration, featuring Keynote Speaker Cardinal Wilton Gregory.

Our Annual Event will take place on October 21, 2021 at St. Francis Hall at 7:00 p.m. As we celebrate our home in Washington DC, we will honor those whose ministries in the city reflect Franciscan values.

Please bring a mask and proof of vaccination status. To submit vaccination proof ahead of the event, email
Prayer Theme of the Week
Visio Divina
Each week, the missioners will learn about different types of prayer as part of their faith formation. We encourage you to enter into this journey; hopefully it can assist in your own spiritual life as well.
Visio Divina, much like the well known Lectio Divina, is a form of prayer that emphasizes quiet contemplation. This week, international missioners in formation were asked to spend intentional time with an image, quieting their mind and inviting the Holy Spirit to speak to them through the image. During this time, the missioners were encouraged to pay attention to their emotional reactions to the image as well as the symbolism and colors that stood out to them. With practice, Visio Divina prayer can help stretch a person's imagination so that they can become more aware of God in their surroundings.
During morning prayer on Tuesday, the missioners spent time with this picture of a local mural of Maya Angelou in Washington DC.
Franciscan Saint of the Week
St. Agnes of Assisi
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.

St. Agnes was born the younger sister of St. Clare of Assisi in 1197. Much like her older sister, Agnes left her wealthy family to follow St. Francis only two weeks after Clare did, and the family did not take kindly to the sisters' choice to live in simplicity. In fact, Agnes's family tried to have her forcefully dragged from the monastery at San Damiano, but by some miracle, the knights were not able to physically move her. She remained rooted to the spot, insistent on living by the Franciscan rule. St. Francis himself was very fond of her, and although she was born with the name Caterina, he gave her the name Agnes because her humble, gentle demeanor reminded him of a lamb. St. Agnes became the abbess of a monastery of Poor Ladies in Monticelli and remained close to her sister and spiritual family in San Damiano for her whole life. St. Agnes was with St. Clare when she died in 1253, and followed her in death three months later.
St. Agnes of Assisi, pray for us!
Let's stay connected!
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