FrancisCorps | Syracuse, NY

Time of Discernment

By Katie Rauch, FC 22

I can trace the start of my journey to FrancisCorps back to my sophomore year of college, when I was in a small faith group composed of myself, two other sophomores, and then like eight seniors! I loved the community there and saw people that I had become close with discern doing a year of service. As I walked with them through that, I realized that maybe, in a few years I would do the same. So when it came time for senior year, I knew what I had in mind for a gap year, but my only question was, where?

I did my research and looked all over the Catholic Volunteer Network, but ultimately, FrancisCorps found me, via an email from Joha. It drew me to the website, which I found so fun and quirky, and I realized that this was a unique program, one that would not only form a deep bond of community, but also one that would nurture my personal growth. I was so drawn to how this program really focused on spirituality, but also how it emphasized community, and building relationships within the household but also with the greater community. I also was surprised that I had come upon a Franciscan program, as it seemed like St. Claire and St. Francis had been showing up in my life constantly for the past year, and I had been learning so much about them, so I knew it was no coincidence. I filled out the application forms, and I remember sitting there after my skype interview with AJ and Friar Rick and saying to my roommate, “Man I hope they like me, because I really LOVE this program.” Though COVID-19 threatened to change everyone’s plans, I felt so reassured with the measures that FrancisCorps took, and I knew no matter what the risk, coming here would be worth it. Despite all of the disappointments and cancellations of 2020, it all cleared the way for me to be here and to be fully present to my community, and for that, I am grateful.

I am so excited to now be over a month and a half into service at Assumption Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen, and I am still excited by my job all the time. I love getting to help cook for everyone, getting to spend time with the wonderful volunteers there, and even helping out in the Assumption Parish offices with little things like the bulletin! I also cannot understate my love of being in community. I constantly find myself laughing with FC22, and love all of the adventures we go on (socially distanced from others of course!). I also love being able to share my love of food and cooking with both my housemates and everyone at the Soup Kitchen. The rest of the year still has so much in store, I can’t wait to hopefully go to some new places on retreat, host more community nights, and see more of what NY has to offer! I am so looking forward to continuing to grow as a community, learning more about each other, sharing in all the joys and sorrows of the year, and hopefully learning and discerning more about myself too!

Katie is the Assistant Director of Assumption Church Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen. Visit our service sites page to learn more about Katie’s site and others we offer. 

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