Franciscan Common Venture – Volunteer Service Program

Franciscan Common Venture provides the opportunity for women and men to contribute their talents, time and commitment in service by standing with the poor, caring for creation and building community. Short and long-term service opportunities are available in the United States and overseas.

Short-Term Service Opportunities

What qualities do I need? If you are a woman or a man at least 20 years of age who desires to:

  • be of service
  • grow spiritually
  • live in simple community
  • be an advocate for justice and peace
  • have a Christian/Catholic perspective
  • have the ability to work as a team person
  • be in good health.

It is understood that volunteers for any of the sites listed would commit themselves for a minimum of one week. All are asked to contribute a fee to help cover food, housing, and program costs unless otherwise noted.  Volunteers are responsible for their own travel to and from the site and food costs while traveling.  Click here to download the 2018 Common Venture brochure for more details. 

2018 Short-Term Service Opportunities (3-14 days) - Click to view

April 22-28
Busby, Montana
“BUZZ-by Quilting Bee” at the Wild Rose Center
The Wild Rose Center is always in need of various quilts both as a fundraiser to support their programs for the local community as well as for the sacred Give-Away Ceremony.  If you aren’t a quilter – not to worry! There are plenty of other tasks to lend your hands to!

June 9
Canticle of Creation Center/Prairie – Mount St. Francis
Volunteers from the Dubuque area will help the Canticle of Creation Center with tasks to keep the prairie healthy and other creation-care needs.

One week in June
Morton, Mississippi
Summer camp at EXCEL, Inc.
EXCEL (Enrichment and Excellence through Community Education Leadership) offers tutoring to Hispanic, African American and White children.

One week in June or July
Okolona, Mississippi
There will be opportunities to be immersed in the African American community, to learn about the Civil Rights movement in Mississippi and to participate in local community activities as they are available

July 14
Sioux City, Iowa
Clare Guest House
Volunteers from the Sioux City area will learn about the Clare Guest House ministry and help with yard work, cleaning, minor repairs and providing the evening meal for the guests.

July 10-14
Waterloo, Iowa
Diversity Immersion and Pilgrimage of Service
A variety of service related to the inclusion and celebration of the increasingly diverse population of Waterloo.  This will include such things as gardening tasks at a food bank community garden, a meal site, and activities with the Burmese community, among other service needs.  In addition there will be the opportunity to learn from and share with various residents about the rich diversity found in the metro area.

July 22-28
South Bend, Indiana
St. Margaret’s House
St. Margaret’s House is a day center committed to the gospel value of hospitality and improves the lives of women and children. Volunteers may do a variety of tasks including: work in the play center and in activities with the children, sort donations and work in the clothes closet, help in the computer lab, and join the noon meal with the women and children attending the Center.

August 11
Waterloo, Iowa
St. Francis Catholic Worker House
Volunteers from the Waterloo metro area will learn about the Catholic Worker movement and help with cleaning, yard work and other tasks as needed.

August 12-18
Winnebago, Nebraska
St. Augustine Indian Mission School
Volunteers will assist in the hand harvest and processing of corn to be used in meals for sacred events and rituals. Other volunteer work could include painting, minor repairs, cleaning and gardening. Possibility of attending a Pow-Wow and other cultural rituals.

September 9-15
Busby, Montana
Wild Rose Center
Help is needed in September to winterize the facilities.  Tasks may include: gardening, weeding, minor repair jobs, organizing supplies, painting, maintenance, and/or construction.

Download our 2018 Franciscan Common Venture brochure for more information about each site.


Long-Term Service Opportunities

It is understood that volunteers for any of the sites listed in this brochure would be at least 21 years of age and commit themselves for a minimum of three months, and up to a year (or longer) of service.  Volunteers will be expected to come to Mount St. Francis in Dubuque for orientation. Transportation to and from the place of service will be negotiated.  Volunteers will receive a monthly stipend for personal and living expenses. Volunteers are expected to contribute $200 ($800 for international programs) to help cover costs. A limited number of scholarships are available.  The service options at each of the sites will be matched with the skills, background, interests, and personal gifts of the volunteer. Programs are well coordinated so as to receive maximum benefit for both the volunteer and those being served.  Service sites for may be added or withdrawn, contingent upon circumstances.  To apply for any of the programs, return the Long Term Application and Volunteer Recommendation forms as soon as possible. Applications will be processed as they are received.

Long-Term Service Opportunities (3 Months to 1 Year) - Click to view

1. Morton, Mississippi
1-2 volunteers • Women/Men, age 21+
Preference is for volunteers with some experience in tutoring or working with small groups of children. Bilingual skills are helpful but not necessary.
Community: Volunteers will live and serve with Sisters Rita Goedken, Eileen Hauswald, and Pat Clemen.

Service Needs:

  • Assist as teachers, tutors, and aides for elementary school students in the afterschool program.
  • Tutor adults as needed, with basic reading, language, and math skills.
  • Assist with administrative and secretarial tasks, answering phones, and light cleaning. • Assist with meal delivery and visiting the elderly.

Application and Start Dates:

This opportunity is available year round. Apply as soon as you know when you’d like to serve. A start date will be negotiated with the host site.

2. Okolona, Mississippi
1-2 volunteers, • Women, age 21+
Community: Community life is shared with sisters of several congregations and with the staff of EXCEL. Living situation varies based on length of service and number of volunteers. Situations include living in a volunteer house, with a sister, or at the EXCEL Center for volunteers.

Service Options:

  • A volunteer to manage the One-of-a-Kind resale store. This would be the volunteer’s primary “ministry.” It would include overseeing store operations, coordinating other volunteers, sorting, and preparing donated items.
  • A second service need would be the management of the Mugs On Main Coffee Shop and Bakery. Open from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday, this service would include serving customers, preparing the coffee, and coordinating volunteers.

Application and Start Dates:

This opportunity is available year round. Apply as soon as you know when you’d like to serve. A start date will be negotiated with the host site.

3. Suchitoto, El Salvador
Centro Arte Para la Paz
1-2 volunteers • Women/Men, age 21+
Community: Volunteer would form community with Sister Peggy O’Neill and other staff members at the Centro Arte Para La Paz–a center dedicated to developing and promoting a culture of peace through the arts, creativity, imagination, and cultural exchange.

Service Options:

  • Volunteer would have background, skill, and experience to offer workshops and tutor adults and/or children in some form of art or music–for example, string or brass instruments, keyboard, dance, ballet, yoga, photography, Tai Chi, creative writing, theater, etc.; or be able to present seminars to promote non-violence, and spirituality.

Usual Application Deadlines and Start Dates:

  • Apply by April 1, notification of acceptance by June 1, formal orientation in Dubuque in August for start date in September
  • Apply by September 1, notification of acceptance by November 1, formal orientation in Dubuque in November or December, start in January

Start dates are negotiated with the host site.

Bilingual English-Spanish skills are necessary.

Apply for Franciscan Common Venture

For more information about the Common Venture program contact Michelle Balek, Common Venture Director. To apply to become a Franciscan Common Venture Volunteer, download the two forms and e-mail the completed information to: Sister Michelle Balek, OSF, Common Venture Coordintator (563) 583-9786