My Neighbor

“My Neighbor” - two words that summon thoughts of the kids next door who wail in the morning, the man across the street with disdain for loud noises (and perhaps people, in general), and the sweet old southern lady named Dot who I have been blessed to call my neighbor this year. “My Neighbor” is additionally the name of one of the ministry sites I have been working with in Durham. With the mission to recognize and connect with those living on the streets and experiencing food insecurity, My Neighbor is a diverse community of volunteers and guests, all of whom share a meal in the mornings every-other day of the work week. Despite the fact that sharing food is the main activity of each morning, food is not [...]

August 22nd, 2022|

Love Lived in Service

Love, Lived in Service took on a whole new meaning for me, having been given the opportunity to be at St. Francis Inn, to live, serve, and see the connection between poverty and the soul. The Old Testament is deeply rooted in this religious concept of poverty (Zephaniah). It was more to do with a spiritual attitude of neediness and humility toward God than with material poverty: a poor person’s recourse to God without relying on his own merits and trusting in God’s mercy to be saved. This religious attitude toward poverty is closely related to what we call “spiritual childhood.” As Christians, we ought to see ourselves as little children in God's presence and belonging to God. Indeed, as Christian, poverty means that we must be detached from [...]

July 28th, 2022|

Ay Buddy!!

Working at St Francis Inn, you get to see a lot of diverse guests dine in. Some guests come every day and you get to learn their names and their stories. Some guests, you learn their names because they are truly needy and are ringing the bell every day asking for something. Some guests have a nickname that was once given to them by staff (most likely by Fr Michael). But there is one special guest who, once he gets comfortable around you, will give you a nickname. After you have earned a nickname you have officially earned his friendship. Here is my story of how Mr. Jose nicknames me Sumo Wrestler Dan. When we first started volunteering, we were kindly advised that Mr. Jose can be a tough [...]

June 13th, 2022|

Making Connections

One of the most important parts of my year has been making connections. Whether that be with the staff or guests, I always feel like I’m making connections. These new relationships have made a significant impact on me. Our guests have grown on me so much throughout my time here. Just something as simple as calling someone’s name and saying hello can make a difference in the guests' day. The small actions matter and can truly be big at St. Francis Inn. It’s so special to get to know our guests and what they really have to say. Making these connections breaks the barriers and stereotypes we have all been taught by society. When you get to know somebody suddenly you know them for what’s beyond their appearance the [...]

May 15th, 2022|

Tapestry of Community

There were many good reasons to commit to spending a year as an FVM at St. Francis Inn, including serving those in need, opportunities for spiritual and personal growth, and experiencing community life. And don’t get me wrong, I am deeply grateful for all of those things, but what has stood out to me as I reflected on the past half-year is just how many wonderful people I have met. Following pandemic-induced isolation these past few years, I am acutely aware of how important it is for us to have meaningful friendships and relationships with others. The people around us enrich our lives immeasurably. They influence how we see the world, they bring color and excitement to our daily activities, they open us up to new ideas and possibilities, [...]

March 15th, 2022|
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