June 17, 2013 at 10:57am
Welcome to Patricia Flicker Schlauderaff, our new Director of Franciscan Community Volunteers!
We are happy to introduce you to Pat who will become the new Franciscan Community Volunteer Director on July 1, 2013. Pat lives in St. Joseph, MN with her husband Paul and comes to this new position with a variety of ministry experiences and a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry from St. John’s School Theology in Collegeville, MN. She comes excited to serve in a Franciscan ministry sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters and looks forward to sharing in the lives of young adults. The 5th group of young adults will begin their 11 month program as Franciscan Community Volunteers on August 4th, and Pat is eager to journey with them.
Please help us welcome Pat into this position and her transitional month with Sr. Clara during July.
-provided by Sr. Clara
June 14, 2013 at 10:32am
This article is provided by Sister Beatrice Eichten, Community Minister of the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, Minnesota
It is with great admiration and gratitude that we say farewell to Sister Clara Stang, who is stepping aside as founder and director of the Franciscan Community Volunteers program. At the request of the Franciscan Sisters’ Leadership team, Sister Clara began exploring how to develop effective outreach with young adults in the St. Cloud area. The request came out of the realization that the congregation had fewer opportunities for interaction with young adults because of not having sisters serving in area high schools, colleges or hospitals. Also, they were aware that, once out of college, young adults had minimal avenues for building relationships with other young adults and with persons involved in service and religious ministries. How could we strengthen young adults in their spirituality, their relational skills and their awareness of service with persons who are poor and in need?
To that end, in 2009, Sister Clara founded Franciscan Community Volunteers. It would be housed in the former Holy Spirit convent in St. Cloud along with the Welcoming House, which provided outreach to college students. Since 2009, 21 young adults have participated in the 11-month, live-in program built on three pillars: Franciscan spirituality, intentional community living and service with organizations serving persons who are poor. Sister Clara mentored these young adults while building the FCV program into a strong and effective ministry.
She lived in community with the volunteers and four other Franciscan Sisters, built relationships with area service providers, and developed a network of friends and supporters for the volunteers and the program. In 2011, she was successful in having the FCV program qualify for participation in Americorps. Contacts with young adults who have completed a live-in volunteer program give strong evidence of the positive effect it has on their faith, their commitment to social justice and service to their communities.
Taste of St. Cloud, an annual fundraising event featuring area restaurants and a silent auction, was developed. The fourth annual event was held in May with over 600 people supporting the event. With the help of her associate director Kaitlin, the Franciscan Sisters, the FCV volunteers, and a host of other volunteers, the Taste provides a tasty and fun way to help fund the FCV program. It also connects people with the Franciscan Sisters, the FCV program and other persons in the area.
Sister Clara is passionate about the benefits of Franciscan Community Volunteers in the lives of young adults. She will continue serving as a consultant to the new director and for other religious congregations seeking to develop long-term volunteer programs. We wish her well and send her on her way with our love and gratitude, knowing God will continue to bless her and lead her in her future endeavors.
June 6, 2013 at 10:20am
Roger & Sue Linz of Sauk Rapids have offered the gift of Companionship to Franciscan Community Volunteers for 2 years. A Companion (sometimes called Sponsor) is an individual or couple who offers local support to one of the young adults serving as a Franciscan Community Volunteer during their service year.
Companions might have the FCV over for dinner, play games with them, take them to events happening in the area, or just come to for a visit as a way to offer local hospitality. Many FCVs have no connections to St. Cloud before they join the volunteer program, so connecting with a supportive adults in the St. Cloud area help the FCV feel that this is their Home for the year.
Sue Linz shares that "Being a part of the Franciscan Community Volunteer program has been such a joy for us. What a wonderful program it is and the Taste of St. Cloud is a great way for so many people to get together, enjoy good food, and meet all the volunteers. They are such an inspiration to us."
Thank you, Roger & Sue, and all of our Companions, for creating a supportive environment here in St. Cloud. We appreciate you!
Sara Pennebecker with companions Roger & Sue Linz in June 2012
A backyard picnic with some of the Companion couples in September 2012 at the home of Tom & Cathy Rudolph. Roger & Sue (right end) were companions for Maureen Reynolds (left end).
- Kaitlin D.
May 20, 2013 at 02:33pm
Thank you to all who helped make our 4th Annual Taste of St. Cloud a big success! We are happy to share that this was our most successful Taste of St. Cloud yet, which helps fund the Franciscan Community Volunteers program. Our long term volunteers and the clients and students they work with daily thank you for help and support!
We would like to share some of the pictures from our event with you.
If you missed this year's event or want to make a point to join us next year, we have our 5th annual Taste of St. Cloud date already! Save the date for Monday, May 5th, 2014! Thanks again for your support.
April 18, 2013 at 01:25pm
We are very excited to give an update on the progress of our Taste of St. Cloud! With only 18 days remaining until our big event on Monday, May 6th, the primary fundraiser for the Franciscan Community Volunteers, we're doing great.
Here are some of the things you can look forward to at this year's 4th annual Taste of St. Cloud:
16 featured restaurants: Cold Spring Bakery, Coyote Moon Grille, Custom Catering, Great Harvest Bread Co, Grizzly's, Henry's Catering, House of Pizza, Jimmy's Pour House, Le St. Germain Catering, Mexican Village, Noodles & Co, Pacific Wok, Reality Roasters, Sawatdee, Sterling Catering, & Texas Roadhouse.
A cash bar available from Coyote Moon Grille & small samples given by Third Street Brewhouse in Cold Spring.
We're getting some WONDERFUL silent auction items donated for the event! Some highlights include:
-Twins tickets to games on 5/19 & 6/29
-Gift cards to Target, Northern Tool & Equipment, Boulder Tap House, HOM Furniture, Scheel's, Walgreens, & more
-Women's accessory basket from Marishka's
-Bagels for a Year from Panera
-Butterfly themed basket from St. Cloud Floral
-1/2 share of vegetables all summer from the Common Ground garden
-Dinners and outings sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters
-BoDeans concert at the Paramount Theater
-Organic & local foods basket from the Good Earth Co-Op
-Overnight stay at Grand Casino MilleLacs
-Handmade art items: wooden, paintings, weaving, cement art, and a native fur rug
We will post pictures about the baskets on our facebook page the week before the event - be watching for those!
Also new to the Taste of St. Cloud this year, we'll be setting up tents in the front of Coyote Moon at the ticket area, and another tent out back to extend the lower level. As we continue to grow, we are thankful for this extra space.
Thanks to all who have bought tickets already; you can purchase advance tickets ($25) online by May 4th on this website, here: or by mailing your check to Franciscan Sisters, 1600 11th Ave S. St. Cloud MN 56301, noting "FCV Taste" in the Memo. Tickets can also be bought at the door on the day of the event for $30.
Thanks to all our supporters and especially our Financial Supporters: Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, DJ Bitzan's Jewelry, Live Edit, St. Stephen's Parish, Brandl Motors, The Catholic Foundation, Marco, the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, Briggs and Morgan, and Westside Liquor.
See you at the Taste of St. Cloud in just 18 days!
- Kaitlin D
April 4, 2013 at 10:17am
Enjoy delicious cuisine from over a dozen local restaurants, live music, and a silent auction. Learn more about the FCV program, visit with the Sisters and meet the volunteers.
Tickets can be purchased on this page of our website.
Enjoy food from these 16 participating restaurants!
Many thanks to our financial sponsors of the Taste of St Cloud 2013.
April 2, 2013 at 10:00am
Francis. Pope Francis. What good news for all of us! Eight hundred years ago, St. Francis heard Jesus’ words, "Francis, Rebuild my church." I sense that Jorge Bergoglio heard these same words when the Cardinals voting at the conclave called him to be our New Pope! While not knowing exactly what it all meant, we are delighted that his answer again was ’yes.’
The words to St. Francis - Rebuild My Church - are exactly what our Franciscan Community Volunteers have been doing since August. At a recent gathering, we asked the Franciscan Community Volunteers to list the words that quickly come to each of their minds when they think of their experience in this Franciscan setting. This Wordle (above) depicts their responses. Wouldn’t St. Francis and Pope Francis be proud of them? We are!
Where were you and how were you feeling when you heard the announcement that we now have a new pope who has chosen the name of Francis? I was at a Leadership meeting at the Franciscan Sisters Motherhouse in Little Falls. The announcement over the public address system interrupted the meeting, and needless to say, when we saw who was elected there was lots of excitement. Later when I got home, I was interested in the comments from the Franciscan Community Volunteers. From one I heard "It’s incredible, I think he is just what our world needs right now." From another who has had the previous experience of being a Jesuit Volunteer I heard, "I feel I’m connected because I have Jesuit and Franciscan roots just like he now has!"
Like St. Francis, Pope Francis has agreed to walk that faith journey. We, as Franciscan Community Volunteers, walk with him!
- By Sr. Clara
March 26, 2013 at 11:02am
Last night, March 25th, the Franciscan Community Volunteers had a community night field trip. As you may know, the volunteers and FCV staff gather each Monday for reflection, prayer, and dinner. We had the opportunity last night to attend an event at the Spirituality Center on the nearby campus of the College of St. Benedict. The Benedictine sisters there have been sponsoring a series on the Modern Day Stations of the Cross; how Christ in our midst is suffering. The station reflected upon last night was how Jesus was stripped of his garments.
Immigrants and refugees arriving in a new country often have very few possessions with them; they are stripped of the culture and language they know, often leaving family members behind, and are expected to acclimate to a new culture with minimal support. With many of the refugees from Somalia fleeing the war in their homeland, they often come without many possessions and are waiting to be welcomed into the community here.
As the number of Somalians in St. Cloud grows -- about 11,000! -- this event and the organization is timely and very appreciated. The presentation was given by a Somali woman named Anab Mohamed Dahir, who is a mother of 5 and has lived in the US for 15 years (11 years in Tennessee before coming to St Cloud 4 years ago). Anab and her children live in the La Cruz community through Catholic Charities, where she says about 700 Somali live together. Anab has founded a new non-profit organization called W.O.M.E.N.4 C.M. The name represents that Somali women are: Wonderful, Outstanding, Mature, Excellent, and Necessary For Central Minnesota.
W.O.M.E.N.4 C.M. assists newly arriving Somali women in St. Cloud so that there is assistance for the newest members of the St. Cloud community and a way for them to learn basic guidelines for driving, immigration services, homework expectations so their children succeed in school. Anab shared that "our goal is to get women out of their homes and into the community, to help them get jobs, to help them learn about places in their community, to help them with driving, voting, parenting, to provide activities and education, an all the things that will help them to have a better future." Anab is currently working on the obtaining a non-profit status for the organization to help recieve donations; currently, the individual women and families are funding the W.O.M.E.N 4 C.M. efforts themselves.
We greatly appreciated Anab's candor and insight as many of the Franciscan Community Volunteers are working with immigrants, especially from Somalia, in organizations around St. Cloud. One of our current service sites is with the La Cruz community center through Catholic Charities. What a wonderful service this new organization is providing; may we all grow in our efforts to welcome our newest Central MN neighbors!
-By Kaitlin D.
March 5, 2013 at 02:47pm
Sr. Clara Stang has been the Director of the Franciscan Community Volunteers program since its beginning in 2009, and she has been a Franciscan Sister of Little Falls since 1957. Sr. Clara reflects here on Lent as a time to follow the example of St. Francis.
Lent is a time in the Church year when Christians focus on the Paschal Mystery, meaning the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Lent is a time to relate to and ponder the cross of Jesus Christ. Do we view the cross as a place of guilt and judgment or a place of conversion and freedom? Pondering these questions brings me to my knees. It gets me to wrestle with some very core questions. Who am I? Whose am I? What is most important in my life? What is freedom? In choosing to love is it necessary to choose to suffer?
St. Francis spent much of his life contemplating the Cross of Jesus. In this contemplation he asked and pondered a basic question, “Who are you God and who am I, Francis?” It is in front the Cross of Jesus, that Francis discovers God’s unconditional love. Francis comes to know a God who always chooses to Love. Love is God’s very essence. Gradually Francis comes to know that the reason God became one of us in our humanity as Jesus was precisely to teach us by word and example what it means to love.
It is before the Cross of Jesus that Francis also discovered his own purpose for life itself, namely to turn from selfishness in order to choose to love God and to choose to live a life love. This kind of love is not easy…there is a cost to love. The Cross the Jesus teaches how hard it is to always choose to love. Francis sought to love like Jesus did—and this for him was a life of daily conversion.
What an example Francis is for me. As a Franciscan, I’m realizing more and more that my life too is basically a call to love. It, too, is a call of conversion meaning I need to turn from selfishness to love. Even a life of daily conversion in itself would be totally impossible except that I know that God takes the initiative in loving me whether I love or not. The way of daily conversion is to rely on God’s love and grace to help me to be able to freely choose to love.
- By Sr. Clara
February 18, 2013 at 02:43pm
Lisa Yanzer is a 2012-2013 Franciscan Community Volunteer. Her story is unique in that she joined the FCV program after a year of long-term, post-grad service with the Jesuit Volunteers in Maine. Lisa serves at the St. Cloud School District #742 as an Autism Resource Program Assistant. Lisa offers a reflection on the Winter retreat weekend February 1st-3rd in Little Falls.
Our last moments together were spent at the airport. I remember vividly clinging to the three other people I spent a year with in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. We were unwilling to let go of each other after all that we had built in our incredible year together. Transitions are difficult; they are times of uncertainty and trust that we are ready to move towards something new or different. I came into the Franciscan Community Volunteer program the same day I left Portland, Maine and my community there. Eight hours of travel later, and I had transitioned from Maine to Minnesota and into a new community. I felt torn out of the comfort and love of relationships that were built through hard work and common goals and thrown into the unknown of relationships yet to be made.
I reflected on this transition when we recently went on our winter retreat. David Liedl led us in a prayer filled retreat; he named it "Lessons From the Deep: Leaving Thine Outgrown Shell by Life’s Unresting Sea.” He centered much of it on an amazing sea creature called the Chamber Nautilus. The Chamber Nautilus gives us a beautiful image of transitioning and growing. Throughout its life this sea creature moves into new chambers. Sealing off the old and outgrown chamber and living presently in the new, it does not leave these chambers behind to be forgotten but carries them with it always. We learned thought the retreat that, in a sense, this unique creature mirrors our own lives and the transitions we all are certain to face. I could see how perfectly this image reflected my transition from last year into this year.
David encouraged us to take time and reflect on life’s transitions and the beauty of that moment when you have indeed outgrown an old chamber and moved into something new and wonderful. This can be a very emotional thing to do. We spent much time searching inwardly and exploring those things in us that we often neglect to think about; maybe something is painful and we have been avoiding dealing with it or because we have built walls around those painful areas of our lives. For me it was another step in deconstructing what last year meant to me. I have transitioned out of my year with the JVCs, but I am still learning how it has affected me and how it will continue to affect the rest of my life. Even though my heart at times aches for my former community members, I am happily living in this new chamber, this community, and this year. Perhaps I moved into this chamber kicking and screaming, but I now live happily in its joys and challenges. It is good company to keep when you live with those who can, together with love, support, tears and laughter, dive deeply into true humanity.
“…Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul, As the swift seasons roll! Leave thy low-vaulted past! Let each new temple, nobler than the last, Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast, Till thou at length art free, Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes…
Serving in the spirit of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi, Franciscan Community Volunteers (FCV) is a ministry of the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, Minnesota. Volunteers are not expected to be Catholic, though the program is rooted in the Catholic Franciscan tradition and volunteers are asked to have an openness to participating in this environment.
To learn more about the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, MN, visit www.fslf.org