Franciscan Community Volunteers say goodbye

Countless lives have been impacted through Franciscan Community Volunteers, a ministry of the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls which invited young adults into a process of companionship with the poor in the spirit of Sts. Francis and Clare. 

The St. Cloud-based program, which focused on meaningful service, intentional community and Franciscan spirituality, has served multiple locations across Central Minnesota since 2009, including organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club, Catholic Charities Children’s Home and Youth House and St. Benedict’s Senior Community.

It is with heavy hearts that the sisters announced the volunteer program will end in June 2020.

The Franciscan Community Volunteers, with 53 volunteers, have contributed 68,000 hours over 11 seasons. (photo submitted)

In recent years, we’ve had trouble recruiting enough volunteers to join the program,” said Elizabeth Rydeen, communication director for the Franciscan Sisters in Little Falls. “When FCV started, we were in a recession and young adults were having a hard time finding a job right out of college. FCV offered a unique experience of learning the Franciscan way of life while obtaining valuable experience working with the people on the margins. We are grateful for the generosity of all who supported this important ministry and are ever grateful for the commitment and impact of all the volunteers.”

FCV executive director Pat Flicker said walking with these young adults has been one of the greatest privileges of her life.

I have witnessed young men and women taking time to volunteer their service helping people on the margins while discerning what it is they want to do or be in their future years,” she said. “It’s been a joy to watch them grow and blossom while they live and pray here with each other, the sisters and myself as they clarified their next steps. We heard incredible stories from the program alum who returned for the 10-year reunion in 2019. There is no doubt the program has been life-changing for all.”

Flicker has great hope that, although the program is ending, the spirit and values that developed during the volunteers’ time with FCV lives on through their hearts and lives of continued service. The Franciscan Welcoming House will continue to be a space of hospitality and outreach to young adults.

The Taste of St. Cloud, the annual fundraiser for FCV, a sponsored ministry of the Franciscan Sisters, has officially been postponed in light of the current coro­navirus pandemic. Stay informed by visiting or call (320) 229-0307.

Author: Kristi Anderson

Kristi Anderson is the editor of The Central Minnesota Catholic Magazine for the Diocese of St. Cloud.

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