Who We Are
Franciscan Service Network is a network of Franciscan-based service programs across the United States and the world. Each of us offer opportunities for service to the poor and marginalized modeled after the lives of Saints Francis and Clare. Some of our programs work in one location; some work in multiple locations. Some of our programs only work with young adults, and some work with people of all ages. Some of us offer terms of service for one year, or some of us offer service terms for many more months. None of our programs are exactly the same - each offers a unique experience of its own. What we share is a rootedness in Franciscan spirituality, a desire to support intentional communities motived by justice and love, and to live out our values in service to those who are impoverished and oppressed.
Together we seek to increase national visibility and accessibility of our Franciscan-based programs, because we believe our programs offer invaluable opportunities to form lay leaders to live lives of service modeled after Saints Francis and Clare. We demonstrate our collaborative spirit by enriching each other through sharing resources and support. And through our work as a community we seek to model Franciscan spirituality and values in our world.
Who are Francis and Clare?
Saints Francis and Clare are saints whose popularity spans the centuries. So why are young and old so attracted to these saints of the 12th century? Why is it that people of all faiths are so attracted to them? The answer is simple, Francis and Clare fell in love with God and in so doing became real (without pretense). Both Francis and Clare’s deepest life’s quest was to come to know and love God and to find their true self.
Love in its very nature is relational and both Francis and Clare recognized God’s activity of love in all aspects of creation, in every individual person. Knowing this loving God they sought to imitate God by reaching out in love and service everywhere, but particularly to those who seemed unloved or uncared for. Drawn to these people Francis and Clare shared whatever they could, never holding back, but always loving, thereby creating community and living in solidarity. They sought to repair strained relationships by being peacemakers. They chose to live simply and humbly, and always gave generously. Francis and Clare modeled for us that as we build loving relationships, we not only serve others, but we become more in touch with our true self and with God.
Why Franciscan-Based Service?
In the heart of every person there is a deep desire to be known and to be loved. Key to Francis and Clare’s life was their deep quest for God and their constant awareness that God was All-Good. This relationship with God overflowed in a life of generous service. It is the nature of love to express itself in service.
The opportunity for a service experience based on the model and message of Francis and Clare brings to you this great privilege -- to follow your life’s quest. Francis and Clare are great examples of persons whose lives were rooted in God’s love, giving their life real purpose and meaning. Not only will your time of service provide an opportunity for self-discovery and purpose, it will be an opportunity to build loving relationships in community, in the service you do, and with your God. The time you spend intentionally modeling the peacemaking, simplicity, love and service of Francis and Clare will impact the rest of your life.