I'm a 19-Year-Old Girl and I Eat Lunch With Franciscan Friars

I'm a 19-Year-Old Girl and I Eat Lunch With Franciscan Friars

A packed lunch and an office building has never been more exciting.

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For starters, Friars are men who choose to live a simple lifestyle in their community. Theirs is a life of prayer and service to the Church and the world, following the life and example of St. Francis of Assisi. As brothers, they strive to follow the Gospel by living the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. In addition to that, they try to walk in the footsteps of Christ by living and proclaiming the Gospel, using their God-given talents to serve the poor and marginalized.

A Franciscan's day is quite simple really, and much more "normal" than one might imagine. The Brown habit might throw you off a bit, but really their day is just composed of prayer, time with the community, and work. The friars – some are priests and some are not — can do any kind of honest work: pastoral work, social work, community work, education, missionary work, and so on. Among Franciscans, you will find social animators, doctors and nurses, cooks, preachers, parish priests, catechists, teachers and professors, journalist, laborers, and more.

In all of their ministry, Franciscans aim to follow in the footprints of Jesus Christ — to live a lively and true fraternity, rooted in a spirit of prayer, to which all work comes second. In their choice of how they live, where they live and what they do, they emphasize service to those who are most in need. That is very evident in what they do as well. I am currently interning at a non-profit ministry of the Franciscan Friars in Cincinnati, Ohio called Franciscan Media. We are proudly based in Cincinnati's historic Over-the-Rhine, aka the "bad part of town." where the Franciscans have ministered since the 1800s. This area is historically known for violence and poverty, with gated parking lots and food kitchens sprinkling the streets, but the Franciscan Corner is practically crime free and calm because they are so respected due to their good works for the community. I picked up on that pretty quickly.

Since 1893, Franciscan Media has sought to inform and inspire Catholics and others across the country and throughout the world. For many years, the principal communication was St. Anthony Messenger — which is still the number-one national Catholic family magazine, after more than 125 years. Though this publication has kept pace with the times over the years in content and appearance, we have expanded our efforts in both form and outreach.

This is where I come in. I have been writing for Franciscan's Blog for quite some time and was brought on board as a summer intern for a fresh perspective and a younger voice, which hopefully I am bringing to the table.

It just so happens that I get to work at a building connected to the St. Anthony Center, and at a non-profit publishing company who's publisher is a Friar. So the whole lunch thing is just an added bonus, and it makes for some good conversation and plenty of learning opportunities.

Cover Image Credit:

Wikimedia Commons

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I'm A Christian Girl And I'm Not A Feminist, Because God Did Not Intend For Women To Be Equals

It is OK for me to not want to be equivalent with a man.

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To start off, I am not writing this to bash feminists or get hate messages. I am simply writing this to state why I do not perceive myself as a feminist.

March is International Women's Month and that is what has got me thinking about how I view myself as a young woman in the 21st century. I enjoy every day getting to soak up the world as a young lady, particularly in the South.

If you know me, then you know that I love and utterly adore Jesus. He is so perfect. He is everything. He is my whole life. Some people might say that I am a "Bible-thumper" or someone who has had too much Kool-aid and maybe I am, but I know who my Creator is and that He died for me, and that is all that matters.

In my young age, I loved to just sit in church with my parents and absorb all that God would deliver. As I have grown up, I have ventured off and joined a church that is different than my parents, so the responsibility falls more on me, but I love that. Since this era of independence began, I have thoroughly enjoyed taking ownership of my faith.

I spend a lot of time chatting with God, worshipping Him in all kinds of ways, and just diving deeper into His Word. Through all of this growth as a Christian, I have learned a lot, but something I have learned is a concept that some may not agree with, which does not surprise me.

I do not believe God meant for women and men to be equal.

There, I acknowledged the elephant in the room.

It is a shocker, I know, but I have some Biblical evidence to back up this belief that I have.

Let us begin in Genesis. God created man and then he created woman. This was two separate occurrences and order is key. He created Adam and then Eve.

Jesus treated women with grace and kindness, do not get me wrong. I mean just look at how He treated the woman at the well, the one who used all of her expensive perfume to cleanse His feet and not to mention His own biological mother! He has a truly unique place in his heart for women, but He also has special intentions for us in the world and in the family setting.

We are to submit to our husbands.

We are to be energetic, strong, and a hard worker.

We are to be busy and helpful to those in need.

We are to be fearless.

All of this is explicitly laid out by God in Proverbs 31.

We are not to be equal to our male counterparts. Jesus does not lay out the Proverbs 31 man, but He rather lays out the Proverbs 31 woman.

A husband or man is to be the head of the household as Christ is to the church.

A man is to love a woman so deeply that represents how he loves himself.

A man is to leave his father and mother.

Women and men are not equal in God's eyes, but they each represent Him in their own ways that the other needs.

If we were all equal, we would not need one another and therefore we would not need God. I am so thankful that we were not created equal. I am so thankful that God is so great that He could not just create only man or woman to represent His image. He is so perfect.

So, you see I am not a feminist, and it is OK.

It is acceptable for me to have this belief that God intended for men to lead women. It is also okay for people to have differing opinions. Writing this was not easy, but I know that not all people agree.

To feminists and those that are not, you are allowed to believe whatever you wish but have evidence to back it up.

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Leading By Christ's Example

What should leadership look like? It should look like Jesus.

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I have been so blessed to serve as President of my sorority for the past year. However, I often think hard about how I am leading and what people think of my leadership. I sometimes wonder if I'm doing it all correctly. Even when you don't think people notice something you are doing, THEY DO.

I think in the world we live in, we have many leaders. Some good ones and some not so great ones. I think where many leaders fall into the wrong is when they try to do it their way and only their way.

For me, I've come to the realization that leaders have the potential to lead greatly. However, it's where we get out inspiration and ideas from. If leaders get their motivation from fame, success, or money, they may find some of those things, but will never be fully satisfied with their leadership.

What's so wonderful about leadership is that we have the perfect example of how to lead. Jesus Christ. He was perfect and He is the example we need to follow, whether that's in leadership or just in general life. Over this past year, I have learned more and more about what leadership should look like when following Christ. It should look like Jesus.

I find this knowledge from not only friends and family, but from the Bible. Specifically, the New Testament. I think it has been so helpful to read how Jesus spoke, acted, and loved others. Even though He was this perfect person, He was still approachable and friendly with those around Him. People felt comfortable around Him. He encouraged those around Him and He loved everyone, greatly.

I think Satan loves to play with our minds. He wants us to doubt ourselves and turn away from Jesus. He wants to throw distractions in our face and turn our motivation to fame, money, success, etc. But it's so important to have your eyes fixed on Jesus. He is where we need to find our inspiration and motivation. He encourages us, loves us, cares for us, and much more. Even when it comes to us doubting ourselves or worrying about what is ahead of us, He has a plan. His plan is so much greater than our own, and He knows our future and our hearts even when we don't.

If you are in a leadership role or learning how to lead, I encourage you to look at Jesus' story. Look how He spoke, acted, and loved those around Him. I encourage you to lead by His example.

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