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 Volunteer Ministers. Each person I met who I felt had this unique flame and light surrounding their spirit was at one point an FVM. Their spirit and their experiences created a beautiful nurturing light that was able to guide like-minded people to them. I continue to meet former FVMs and each one of them has the same spark and light in them. What I once thought was a unique experience of one person being a bright light in the world turned into a family of people who love, support, and nurture their fellow human beings. Every FVM I have met has brought the same light and kindness to the world which brought me to where I am today. The light of Saint Francis burns brightly in every FVM and I am honored and blessed to become a light to those around me now and in the future.

Marissa Ryan, Durham FVM ’21-’22