The Spirit of Francis

Paige in Assisi smiling

One of the very first things that excited me about FrancisCorps and volunteering at Francis House was the chance to be involved in Franciscan communities. I was excited to learn more about Saints Francis and Clare, and see the many ways they impacted the lives of so many people. While I did experience the joy and peace of the Franciscan charism in so many people this year, I also learned to recognize it more in myself as well.

I recognized the spirit of Francis through my community members, in times we circled around the door of a community member with covid so we could still pray together every night, in times my community members suggested I drink some water instead of another cup of coffee, in the early morning road trip days, and the late night game nights. The inside jokes, the many many laughs, and the vulnerability of sharing sorrows and troubles together. The bond between Tristen, Alli, RaeAnn, Lucy, and I that has grown so much through this one year together goes far beyond just sharing a house or being just a group of friends. I am confident that these shared experiences from this year are something that will unite us for the rest of our lives, something we can lean on and go back to whenever we need, just as we could go to and lean on each other throughout this year.

I experienced the spirit of Francis through my larger community too, in A.J., Jenny Rose, Friar Nader, all the friars we encountered this year, the friends we made in Syracuse, Assumption Church community, and at my service at Francis House. I recognize it in the staff at Francis House, but also in the volunteers, the residents, and their family members. The little things that I found I could do to make someone’s day better, the shared stories of ourselves and our loved ones, the laughs at many unexpected things that happen around the house, and the heartfelt hugs of being together through the end of a resident’s life. I am so grateful for everyone I was able to journey with throughout the year and the impact they all will have on me going forward in my life.

And finally, I recognized the spirit of Francis in myself. Saint Francis heard God’s call to rebuild His Church, and with all the confidence and joy in the world, Francis began physically reconstructing a church building. It wasn’t until later, after the church was finished, that Francis understood that the message wasn’t literal, but he continued off on his next step with the same joy and confidence of following God. It is with this same joy and confidence that I am approaching the next chapter of my life. While I may not have any concrete plans set up yet, I want to work in campus ministry and continue working on my longer term goal to be an author. I want to continue spreading the joy and the love of Christ the same way Francis and Clare did. To confidently follow God the same way they did, and trust that He will course-correct when I take His message too literally.

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