If Only Briefly

. “Man, I’m glad to see you,” said a guy outside the gate, who was shaking, panicking, having an episode or on a substance, clearly in the midst of a nightmarish experience. “It’s ok,” I said, after a moment. He wandered over to the side of the gate, still very much panicking. I couldn’t do much for him but I was able to be there for him, if only briefly. Liam O'Toole, FVM Philly 2020-2021

August 16th, 2021|

Strive for Spirit

“Don’t strive for perfection;  you will always be disappointed.  Strive for the Spirit;  She’s always present.” ~ Michael Duffy, OFM My first few days of being the new FVM Program Director were a whirlwind. I began two weeks before the incoming Class of FVMs was to arrive. Two people decided they would not be joining us as expected. One person applied (my first ever interview!) and was accepted. Needless to say, I was feeling quite a bit stressed and flustered with all that was happening. So much was in flux! Thankfully, Orientation Retreat had already been planned by our wonderful Program Director who preceded me.  Into that storm of emotions and activity, Michael Duffy, OFM offered the wisdom above: “Don’t strive for perfection; you will always be disappointed. Strive [...]

July 30th, 2021|

Loving and Living Outside our Comfort Zone

“What has your volunteer year taught you about love?” That was the question I asked a panel of former volunteers during my final semester at St. Bonaventure University in Spring 2015. Among the panelists was an alumnus of FVM. Everyone gave thoughtful answers, and I was encouraged that I would not be alone in my experience of growing as a person in love and faith. Since that time, I lived for a year as an FVM in Camden, NJ, then a few years with the Franciscan Friars, and am currently in an interfaith community of graduates. Each year has been a different experience of learning and growth, even the growing pains along the way that have continued to help me better love others. I was raised in a small [...]

July 15th, 2021|

Living in Community

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) During the beginning of my year as a Franciscan Volunteer Minister, we discussed this Bible verse in relation to community life. It seemed to carry much weight to it, although only through the experience of living in community did I experience it firsthand. Living in community is a central part of [...]

June 30th, 2021|

A Good Path

 A few weeks ago, I was in a job interview and the interviewer asked me, "what's your five year plan? How does this job fit into your career goals?"  I hadn't really considered the question, and it brought back a lot of memories.  When I was a child, I never had a good answer to the common refrain of "what do you want to be when you grow up?"  I didn't know all the professions out there, how could I sort through and decide what I would most enjoy?  As a camp counselor helping fifth graders decorate a bulletin board under the heading, "when I grow up, I want to be..."  my contributions were the words "happy" and "gorgeous" next to their suggestions of "veterinarian," "teacher," and "doctor."  Nearing the end [...]

June 15th, 2021|
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