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.

2023 Short-Term Service Opportunities (3-14 days) - Click to view

Madonna Renewal Center, Freeport, IL May 21-27 Cost $75

Madonna Renewal Center (MRC) is a safe haven that offers hope and healing to women in need in a 12 to 24-month program for young adult pregnant women and their infants.  The most needed service for volunteers includes: cleaning, painting, sorting and restocking donated items, food pantry, resale shop, landscaping. There is also a need for building skills (carpentry, plumbing, etc.). Arrival is Sunday afternoon with departure on Saturday morning.  Open to men and women, age 21+.  Due date to apply: April 21

Catholic Worker House, Waterloo, IA Short-term: June 22-25 Cost $50

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Worker House is a faith-based intentional community committed to practicing the Works of Mercy as found in Jesus’ teachings. Service needs include: assisting with community meals, cleaning, painting, and ministry of presence. Arrival is Thursday with departure on Sunday. Open to men and women, age 21+.  Due date to apply: May 25

Week-long: July 9-15 Cost $100 In addition to the tasks listed above, there would be the opportunity to give service with a few other non-profit organizations in Waterloo like the Food Bank. Open to men and women, age 21+.  Due date to apply: June 11

Contact Sr. Shell Balek via email (balekm@osfdbq.org) or phone (563) 583-9786 for more information.


Long-Term Service Opportunities

It is understood that volunteers 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.
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Long-Term Service Opportunities (3 Months to 1 Year) - Click to view

1. Morton, Mississippi Excel 1-2 volunteers • Women, 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 our sisters. 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 Excel 1-2 volunteers, • Women/Men, 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 balekm@osfdbq.org (563) 583-9786