Franciscan Formation Friends 2021 Newsletter Vol. 7
Week 10: October 28, 2021
FMS staff, international missioners in formation, and DC Service Corps members gather for a group photo at the 2021 World Care Benefit on Thursday, October 21st.
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 10!
World Care Benefit 2021
On Thursday, October 21, FMS held its annual World Care Benefit at St. Francis Hall in Brookland, DC.
St. Francis Hall was beautifully decorated and set up by FMS staff and volunteers on Thursday for the World Care Benefit.
Victor Artaiz, international missioner in formation, and Christopher Zaragoza, DC Service Corps volunteer, greeted guests who waited on line for Mr. Magic's famous ice cream shakes.
FMS was honored to host Cardinal Wilton Gregory as the event's keynote speaker.
Associate director Meghan Meros and House Manager Fatima Godfrey presented the San Damiano Servant Leadership Award to Amarilis Rodriguiez, a student at Seton Hall University who founded the nonprofit Baskets for Neighbors.
Franciscan Living
Lonnie Ellis, a member of the St. Anthony of Nagasaki fraternity of Secular Franciscans, led a session on Secular Franciscan spirituality at the koi pond at the Franciscan Monastery Gardens in Brookland on Tuesday.
Secular Franciscan Spirituality
On Tuesday, October 19th, the international missioners in formation and DC Service Corps members participated in a session called "Living Out the Franciscan Values in the 21st Century" led by Lonnie Ellis, OFS. Lonnie shared his experience living as a Secular Franciscan with the modern challenges of the 21st century, such as the high cost of living and raising a family paired with the commitment to a low-income lifestyle that Secular Franciscans make. Lonnie also shared his journey towards commitment to lay Franciscan life, and the missioners and DC Service Corps members were encouraged to share their own stories as well. The participants learned about the history of the Secular Franciscan Order, which was founded by St. Francis when a married couple decided to follow the Franciscan rule over 800 years ago. Today, Secular Franciscans have formed communities all over the world, and the Casa community has hosted the local St. Anthony of Nagasaki fraternity on their front porch for monthly meetings.
Franciscan Advocacy
On Tuesday afternoon, the Casa community was visited by Sr. Marie Lucey, OSF, and Sr. Maria Orlandini, OSF. The sisters work for Franciscan Action Network, an organization consisting of lay and religious Franciscans who advocate for better policy on behalf of human dignity, care of creation, peacemaking, and individuals experiencing poverty. Franciscan Action Network members participate in a number of advocacy practices, including peaceful protest, occasional civil disobedience, and urging lawmakers in various ways to change policy. The sisters taught the participants how to call their local lawmakers and urge them to vote for or against certain policies and laws, and Sr. Marie Lucey made a call to her Maryland senator to set an example for the missioners and volunteers.

"Sr. Marie and Sr. Maria are two incredible, talented, and passionate women who work very hard for the care of creation and God's people. I greatly admire their persistent hope and work advocating for the vulnerable and marginalized. I appreciated their honesty in the difficulty of their work and the reality of success not being guaranteed."
-Victoria Wangler, DC Service Corps volunteer
Coping with Trauma, Stress, and Conflict on Mission
Beth Riehle leads the missioners in formation in "body prayer."
Last week, the Casa community had the honor of hosting Beth Riehle, a lifelong missioner and former Program Director for FMS. Beth led three sessions for the missioners in formation in which they discussed the challenges that they might face on mission. Two of the sessions on Monday covered the subject of "Dealing with Stress and Trauma on Mission," and Beth taught the missioners about various healthy coping skills that can help with challenging experiences on mission.The missioners also learned about the body's initial response to a traumatic situation, (fight, flight, or freeze), and how trauma can effect the individual's personality and relationships in the longterm.
Beth also provided the missioners in formation with centering tools that will help them cope with stress on mission. One of these tools, introduced in Beth's third session, "Non-Violence and Conflict Transformation," was "body prayer." During this exercise, Beth encouraged the missioners to use their bodies to pray physically as a way of incorporating their whole person into prayer and offering.
Save the Date: Commissioning Mass
The 2021 Commissioning Mass for the 37th Class of lay missioners will take place on November 20th at 2:30pm in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land. A reception will follow at the Casa San Salvador, and a Facebook live link will be provided for those who are not able to attend in person.
Prayer Theme of the Week
Each week, the missioners 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.
Centering and Contemplation
This week's prayer theme was "centering and contemplation," which is a form of prayer that helps to build peace, trust, and focus within a person. Centering prayer is a practice that was formed in response to Jesus's command to, "go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret" MT 6:6. The missioners in formation practiced centering prayer by taking 20 minutes alone, focusing on a word that represented their prayer intention, and refocusing on that word for the remainder of their time.

Another way to practice centering prayer and contemplation is through body prayer, as outlined in Beth Reihle's session, and with the aid of quiet, meditative music.
Franciscan Saint of the Week
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary
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.

Elizabeth was born to the King and Queen of Hungary in the year 1207. She lived a lavish and privileged lifestyle in the Hungarian court until the age of 13, when conflict arose between Germany and Hungary, and Elizabeth's mother was targeted and killed. This event caused Elizabeth to seek meaning and comfort in prayer, and she found great peace in the Church.

When Franciscan missionaries arrived in her city in 1223, Elizabeth was inspired by their commitment to simplicity and she decided to join the Third Order of Franciscans and devote her life to her citizens who were experiencing poverty. Together with her husband, Elizabeth committed her time, money, possessions, and resources to the citizens who needed them most. She was known to give up her personal bed to people suffering from leprosy, which was a debilitating and isolating disease at the time. She also established a hospital in her home that provided medical aid for those who could not afford it, and she personally distributed bread to the hungry in her city.

Her extended family did not approve of Elizabeth's lifestyle, and she endured harsh treatment from them as a result. Saint Elizabeth died on November 17th, 1232, and she is now considered the patron saint of the Secular Franciscan Order, Catholic charities, and bakers.
St. Elizabeth of Hungary, pray for us!
Let's stay connected!
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