What We Do

Founded in 2005, we have pursued a mission of Rebuilding homes, Restoring lives, Renewing hope. We are rooted in Franciscan itineracy, connecting with towns throughout the world, and no single sister parish.

While the mission sites may be different, the format of our program remains the same. We assemble our teams with a multicultural, multigenerational mix, providing a sense of the Church in mission. Participants’ ages range from 14-90. We are open to other faith traditions, and join us in sharing their spiritual insights. Some adapt our model to missions in their own communities.

In preparation for each trip, we have three formation sessions, at which we introduce participants to each other, to the community in which they will work, to the model, and to Franciscan values and spirituality. We stress the importance of four Franciscan attitudes; openness, flexibility, patience, and persistence.

When we arrive, there is an orientation to the local community, a briefing on worksite safety and a reiteration of Franciscan values, along with some ideas of “infleshing them.” Each morning begins with a different member leading prayer in their own unique style. We divide into teams, each with a site leader accompanied by a member of the local NGO who is skilled in construction.

For each of our missions we work alongside members of the local communities. After work, we gather for dinner, when the team members share informally about the events of the day. In the evening we use Franciscan reflections and discussions, each day emphasizing a different theme. Often, we end the day with games, a nod to the Franciscan value of playfulness.

At the end of the workweek, we celebrate the experience, reflect on where we have seen God in each other during the week and do a debriefing and re-entry session. We always produce a video of the experience to keep it fresh and allow members an easy way to share their experiences. We gather a month later to share how re-entry has been and how the experience has affected our everyday lives.

Most participants return for another experience with SFB, and many expand their engagement in the community, including leadership of other service ministries.