The Light of Saint Francis

 The light inside of each of us grows when we nurture it. The flames become bright and we are able to guide not only ourselves but those around us. Over the course of the last four years, I have met several people who carry this light with intention. They tent to their own flame in hopes of spreading it to others and even help others light their own flame. I wanted to know what made these people different from others. I wanted to find out what made their light so bright and contagious. I asked questions and tried to copy their way of life but I still did not understand how their flame was different from mine. One by one and realization by realization I understood. They all became Franciscan [...]

December 2nd, 2021|

The Smile in Their Eyes

Starting my FVM experience during this Covid-19 pandemic has presented many new challenges. Despite living in a world with vaccines, we still take full precautions at the Inn. Protecting our staff and guests is so crucial with the end of the pandemic still so uncertain. Here is a reflection on my experience so far. It has been well over a year since our lives changed when the Covid-19 pandemic shocked the world. People’s lives were altered drastically as everyone had to learn the new normal. Reflecting on where we are now, it is important to realize hope still remains that we can get through this, especially at St. Francis Inn. We are so blessed to be able to continue our ministry. Guests can come sit down inside and enjoy [...]

November 15th, 2021|

New City, New Family

The moment my plane touched ground in Philly, my eyes opened up to a whole new reality. It was the first time moving out of my home city of Chicago. I did not know what to expect of this new experience. I came in with the mentality of “Expect nothing, and you will enjoy everything”. My first mission was to find Fr. Michael. We had arranged for him to pick me up at the airport. I had never seen him before, all I had to reference him with was an old picture of him on the FVM website. I realised this was not going to help as everyone at the airport was masked up. When I arrived at the baggage area, there was a tall slim old man with [...]

October 30th, 2021|

Peace & All Good: A Letter to the Incoming FVMs

Dear FVMs,  You're headed to what I can only describe as a singular experience, and not just because Michael Duffy will take you on mystery rides.  It's a unique time because the shape of FVM both supports you and challenges you to grow.  And, while I hope that your whole life has that shape, your time in FVM is a profound gift, one that you simultaneously receive and give.   Nothing much that I could say would prepare you for the adventure that you're about to go on.  So I will just say this:  Talk to each other.  Over-communicate.  Risk repetition for the sake of love and clarity.  Your community - and you - will be better for it.  Tend to your prayer life, whatever that looks like for you.  [...]

September 24th, 2021|

The Rumble of the El

 I can still hear the whistle and the rumble of the El on the tracks. The echoing voices of the friars singing 'Salve Regina' in the chapel. I smell the urine and sweat in the yard bathroom and of the dirty dusty sad streets. And the sweet cookies that my mentee, from the Latin American Community Center, and I baked and shared. I remember feeling the layers of dirt on the clothes of poor old men as we, no longer afraid, embraced. And seeing the frailty, in all of our guests, no matter the age, physically, but mostly their innermost vulnerability. I can easily bring back memories from my FVM years which were almost 20 years ago. But the part that remains constant, natural, automatic is the Joy...Through FVM, I grew [...]

August 30th, 2021|
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