Written by Sister Jan Kilian, this blog will give an understanding of what it’s like to be Franciscan. Living out the spirit of Saint Francis, we see all God’s creation as brother and sister. We, Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, are committed to building relationships and community, ministering wherever there is greatest need, promoting justice and healing Mother Earth’s wounds. My writings will give a glimpse of the compassion, spirituality, interconnectedness and goodness of living Franciscan.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sister Carmen Barsody



I am entering my 25th year as a Franciscan Sister of Little Falls, MN. What I am most grateful for are the many personal experiences that have allowed me to see life from many points of view. I grew up in the small town of Elk River, MN where I was surrounded by extended family, and most everyone in our home church of St. Andrew knew each other. I was still of a generation where we had to use our imagination to play, we could stay out after dark and one pair of Stride Rite shoes was what we got for the school year. I went to college at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, a big city for a country girl. My first roommate was from Cuba, and I began to study Spanish. Women were leaders in education and taught us to think at St. Catherine’s. Faith was valued and integrated in our campus life, and interfaith relationships and respect were natural.

I left college after 3 years and went to Maracay, Venezuela as a Lay Volunteer with the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, MN. I was in search of a path for my heart, something deeper than a career path to accumulate personal wealth. It was in Venezuela that I knew I was heading toward a “home” for my heart and my gifts. I returned to the U.S. after 6 months and entered the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls on April Fools Day, 1984. Little did I know that 14 years later I would co-found a street ministry named Faithful Fools in San Francisco, California, an educational and charitable organization (
www.faithfulfools.org).

Somehow I knew that the Franciscan communal relationship would most nurture, guide and share my passionate love with the earth and its people. The first 14 years of my religious life included my initial formation in St. Paul, MN where volunteering in a homeless shelter was a significant part of our communal life; a position as Pastoral Associate in a predominantly Hispanic Parish in the Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago; and then 7 years in Nicaragua. All this was preparation to be a Faithful Franciscan Fool in the world where the primary value is to live with an active, compassionate and ever expanding heart and mind.

The most important attitude we live with at Faithful Fools is, we are always learning. I believe that the learning we receive through personal experiences forever changes and informs us as we live and make choices in our lives. I am interested in creating ways for people to have personal experiences, most especially with people whom we as a church and society marginalize, or as a world consider disposable.

What I am most grateful for at this time is that I have a visceral understanding of Franciscan Joy, a joy of the heart that comes with feeling fully alive. What I pray for every day is to be faithful.

1 comment:

Elise said...

Lovely, Carmen! I love the blog.