Horseheads resident elected to new term - Catholic Courier

Horseheads resident elected to new term

Mary M. Smith says her volunteerism is so extensive, “It’s more than a 40-hour work week would be.” One effort that’s keeping her extra busy this spring is her involvement with the Secular Franciscan Order.

“The Secular Franciscan is a person devoted to the ideals of St. Francis of Assisi. We’re part of the world, but we seek to live the spirit of this special son of God and provide an example of what it means to be joyous in our love for one another,” said Smith, a parishioner of St. Mary Our Mother in Horseheads.

Smith was recently elected to her second three-year term as regional secretary for the Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Region of the Secular Franciscans. She was professed as a Secular Franciscan in 1991 with St. John the Baptist Fraternity in Elmira, and is former All-Commissions chairperson for the region. She will represent the region at the national All-Commissions conference in Denver in mid-June.

Although Secular Franciscans make a public profession, they are not bound by the same public vows as members of religious orders who live in community. Secular Franciscan membership is open to men and women, single or married, young or old. They have a Vatican-approved rule, a novitiate and regular meetings.

Smith said several fellow Southern Tier residents are active in the Secular Franciscan movement. One of their current ministries, she noted, is cooking for the Elmira Free Community Kitchen.

Smith’s volunteer efforts have also involved her parish, hospitals and a correctional facility; as well as Church Women United; Pax Christi; Chemung County Council of Women; Amnesty International; Southern Tier Labor-Religion Coalition; Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture; Samaritan Center; Habitat for Humanity; Right to Life; Chemung County Housing Coalition; White Ribbons Against Pornography; and Catholic Daughters of America.

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