The “We” Mentality
My FrancisCorps journey begins at the start of the winter semester of my junior year of college. One of my really good friends got together a group of students from St. Mary’s, our Newman community at the University of Michigan, to attend the SEEK 2021 conference, which was held online that year due to COVID. One night, I found myself browsing through the sponsors tab on the conference’s website when I came across FrancisCorps. I had already been discerning doing a year of service after graduating from college, and that orange sun logo popped out to me almost immediately. Upon looking at the website with its photos, blog entries from the volunteers (Hey! Kind of like the thing you’re reading now!), and the virtual tour of the glorious FrancisCorps house with all its egg yolk-colored glory, I could already picture myself living in and serving the community in Syracuse. But, since it was the first program I looked into and didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket just yet, I put the idea of FrancisCorps on the backburner. Fast forward to my last semester in college, constantly encountering the question of what’s next and feeling overwhelmed with so many different opportunities and options, when I get an email saying that the April deadline to apply to FrancisCorps is soon approaching. FrancisCorps was placed on my heart once again, and after revisiting the website, praying deeply about the program and whether God was calling me to a year living in the great state of New York, I applied. But, it wasn’t until the interview with A.J., Jenny Rose, and Friar Rick that I fully knew God wanted me to become a part of FC 24, so when I got the call from A.J. that I had been offered a spot in the program, I immediately and enthusiastically accepted, excited that I would be spending a year putting my faith into action and being a part of something greater than myself.
There are many things that excite me about the FrancisCorps experience. What stood out to me initially in the discernment process was the emphasis that FrancisCorps holds on the interactions and intermingling of prayer, community, and service. As I mentioned previously, I was pretty involved in the Newman community at Michigan. This community allowed me to grow deeper in my relationships with others as Christ was always kept at the foundation of these relationships, and the friends I made at St. Mary’s encouraged and challenged me to go deeper in my faith and relationship with God in return. This outward support and encouragement from my peers greatly impacted the way I interact with my faith. Instead of looking at ways to become closer to Christ individually, I started to look at ways to involve Christ within the communal spaces in which I found myself, striving to bring others with me deeper into holiness. Faith became more of a “we” rather than a “me” mentality, and looking at options for post-grad service, I believed the emphasis on communal prayer was necessary in order for me to fully engage with the service I would be doing, which ultimately led me to FrancisCorps. And, boy, was that requirement fulfilled! We have only been here for about a month and a half, and I can already feel and see the impact that our daily prayer time we share as a community has on the ways in which I engage with others at my service site. I feel empowered by my community to show the light and love of Christ to all the people I interact with at CYO, especially to the kiddos I work with in the youth program. I am equally as excited to see how the rest of the year goes as well, and to see how the interactions between prayer, community, and service continue to change my heart as the year progresses.
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