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Three franciscan brothers in Inicial Formation share their experiences working at the service of migrants.

I am Bro. Flávio Lorrane Clementino de Almeida, OFM, I was born in August 25 1993 in Triunfo in the state of Pernambuco/Brasil. I belong to the Franciscan Province of Saint Anthony in Brazil.

 I have been a volunteer at  “La 72, Home – Refuge for Migrants” since February desde 2022. I have the opportunity to be present, day by day, with brothers and sisters that walk searching for a better life. During the first month after my arrival, I was helping in the basic needs of the shelter. After that I began to help in the area of communications taking pictures, making videos and managing the social media. Many migrants look for information through social media, and one of our mission is to get this information around. It also helps to show people our activities at the shelter. Here at the friary, we are 3 brothers, we carry out the mission to be a genuine Franciscan presence, so we intend to become one among them.

This experience has helped me to discern more deeply about my calling to the Franciscan religious life. I have encounter people that even though they have nothing, they never lose hope. This has been an impulse for me to give my life to the service of others. Here we get people that don’t even have a pair of shoes when sometimes I have a lot more than that. I reflect on my life and I see that many things are superfluous. I have changed some of the attitudes and I have learned to pay attention to the voice of God and the voice of the ones that suffer. I will go back to Brazil being a new friar Lorrane: one that have learned to let go and lives with the basics, one that have learned to listen more and talk less, one that is in solidarity with the ones that suffer and tries to cure the wounds, one that values fraternity and God’s Mercy.

I am Bro. Martín Salmoran Vázquez, OFM, I was born in October 16, 1992 in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México. I belong to the Saint Philip of Jesus Province in Mexico.

My actual ministry is at “La 72, Home – Refuge for Migrants” this shelter is located in Tenosique.Tabasco, México. My community is composed of 3 brothers (1 solemn professed and 2 in temporary vows) we are at the service of the people in movility situation. Our service consists in assisting these people on their way through Mexico. We provide water as we go across the border of Guatemala and Mexico. On our first encounter we provide information about the routes then we take them to La 72. Once at the shelter we provide food, medical assistance, dormitories and legal assistance so they can apply for Legal Refugee Status.

This experience with my brothers and sisters migrants has helped me to realize that our mission as Franciscan friars is to be close to our brothers and sisters in movility situation, to listen to them, to assist them spiritually and also to assist them in their physical needs. As son of Saint Franci I have to understand that we are as well Pilgrims and Strangers in this World. I also realize that our Church is a “Church on Mission”. We need more Friars committed to the service of these brothers and sisters.

This experience has also helped me to become more humane and to commit myself with the Order in this humanitarian work that we as Franciscans are doing In the end, this experience has changed my life, my vocation and my sense of belonging to the Order. “Let us begin, brothers, to serve the Lord, for up to now we have done little or nothing” – St. Francis of Assisi..

I am Bro. Pietro Guardati, OFM, I was born on May 25, 1996 in Rome. I belong to the Province of Saint Bonaventure Abruzzo-Lazio (Italia)

 The project that I am working at is called “Migrants on the Job” which is promoted by the Missionary Volunteering of the Risen Christ APS (Association for Social Promotion) in collaboration with the Youth Center of the Sacred of Heart Parish in Rome.

 This project was launched on 2019, and it is aimed to young migrants, refugees and  asylum seekers, ages 18 to 30 years old. Migrants that have the desire to undertake a path of personal growth and develop their potential, with the final goal to encourage their autonomy and integration to working wold.

 We offer a course that is divided in two parts: the first part consists in a motivational workshop, this workshop helps to get to know them personally, their dreams, expectations and capacities, while the second part consist in an orientation about the labor market in Italy and how it functions. At the end of the course, with the correct guidance, the participants are sent to the working world taking part in training practices or seeking to be placed as employees.

From the  Testament de St. Francis.

...when I was in sin, it seemed too bitter for me to see lepers. 2. And the Lord Himself led me among them and I showed mercy to them. 3. And when i left them, what had seemed bitter to me was turned into sweetness of soul and body.

My experience working among migrants is a way to express my vocational identity as friar minor. From a past of exclusion and discrimination to a present where the Lord is working a conversion in my heart so I can be with them as friar minor  and “with them, build a future according to God’s project without excluding anyone”(Pope Francis message on the 108 World Day of Migrants).

 This experience moves me to welcome what is different and to go out of myself, reciving the always-new gift of vocation, a call to give the same tender and merciful welcoming of God.