During Lent this year, Franciscan Action Network invites you to join in seeking a conversion of heart in order to see anew. We will spend these weeks of preparation learning to see key issues with converted hearts and to act for justice, peace, creation, and human dignity from our hearts.

Below, please find resources we shared each week including audio clips of the stories (with written transcripts available) to gain inspiration from those who have allowed their hearts to be converted when dealing with issues including gun violence, poverty, migration, racism, climate, and war.

After listening to the stories, we invite you to share your reflections or read what others have submitted by clicking here.

Introduction: February 22

During Lent, Franciscan Action Network invites you to join in seeking a conversion of heart in order to see and act anew. We will spend these weeks of preparation learning to see key issues including creation, gun violence, migration, poverty, racism, and war with converted hearts and to act for justice and peace from our hearts. Each Wednesday we will offer words and stories to inspire you, questions to provoke reflection, opportunities to share your thoughts, and actions for you to consider taking.

Expand for link to Introduction transcript
Questions for personal reflection
  1. What does “seeing with the eyes of the heart” mean to me?
  2. In what ways could my heart be converted towards God this Lent?
  3. On which issues does my heart need conversion in order to be able to act with compassion?

Share your thoughts and read reflections from others here.

Prayer before the San Damiano Crucifix

Most High, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart.
Give me true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity,
sense, and knowledge that I may carry out Your Holy and true command.

– Saint Francis of Assisi

Seeing Gun Violence Anew: March 1

Words to inspire us:

“To turn the heart toward God, to make a place within the heart for the Spirit of truth to dwell, is to be joined to the Word and, in turn, to the Father. A life of turning one’s heart to God is a deepening of life in the Trinity. …We need, therefore, to check our hearts and ask, are we prepared to receive the Word of life or do our hearts have rocky soil in which the Word can easily get crushed?” (Sr. Ilia Delio, Franciscan Prayer)

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Mt. 26: 52-54)

Seeing Gun Violence Anew

by Sr. Maria Orlandini, OSF

Story of a heart changed by gun violence
Questions for personal reflection:
  1. How did Greg’s story as a survivor of gun violence affect me?
  2. Does my heart need conversion on the issue of whether violence is the solution to violence?
  3. What is my understanding of what Jesus and Saint Francis said to their followers about bearing arms?

Share your thoughts and read reflections from others here.

Prayer by Social Justice Resource Center

Jesus, you wept over a city. We are in deepest despair. As we weep over the dead and injured killed by guns, in anguish, we recognize the blood stains of hatred. We hear the sounds of fear, the echoes of gunshots — once again, once again.

Jesus, you came to bring us peace. We turn to you in overwhelming sorrow. How can we end this nightmare of violence? How can we build a world of inclusion, of solidarity? Give us the grace to reflect deeply and to work ceaselessly to heal the hearts; to stop the guns; to cherish all God’s children.

Jesus, you endured violent suffering to bring us light. We pray for the dead, may they rest in peace. We pray for the wounded; may they find healing. We pray for our nation, may we end the hate. We pray for our global family; may we learn we are one.


Seeing Poverty Anew: March 8

Words to inspire us:

“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” (Luke 12:34)

“To see God it is not necessary to change our glasses or the place from which we are looking. Our heart needs to be liberated from its own deceit. When we realize that our worst enemy is often hidden within our own hearts, this is a decisive maturation process. That is the most noble battle against the interior deceptions generated by our sins.” (Pope Francis, February 19, 2022) 

Questions for personal reflection:
  1. In what ways does my heart need to be converted regarding the causes of poverty and possible solutions?
  2. How do I respond to ideas about how the economy could be structured to prevent people from falling into and remaining in involuntary poverty?
  3. How might I truly practice and advocate what Sts. Francis and Clare as well as eight centuries of Franciscans living the Gospel have shown about an “alternate economy”?

Share your thoughts and read reflections from others here.

Prayer from an Address by Pope Francis in Assisi

Father, we ask forgiveness for having damaged the earth, for not having respected indigenous cultures, for not having valued and loved the poorest of the poor, for having created wealth without communion.

Living God, who with your Spirit have inspired the hearts, hands and minds of these young people and sent them on the way to a promised land, look kindly on their generosity, love and desire to spend their lives for a great ideal.

Bless them, Father, in their undertakings, studies and dreams; accompany them in their difficulties and sufferings, help them to transform their difficulties and sufferings into virtue and wisdom. Support their longing for the good and for life, lift them up when facing disappointments due to bad examples, do let them become discouraged but instead may they continue on their path.

You, whose only begotten Son became a carpenter, grant them the joy of transforming the world with love, ingenuity and hands.


Seeing Migration Anew: March 15

Words to inspire us:

When he met with refugees in Lampedusa in 2013, Pope Francis asked several questions: “Has any one of us wept because of this situation and others like it? Has any one of us grieved for the death of these brothers and sisters? Has any one of us wept for these persons who were on the boat? . . .We are a society which has forgotten how to weep, how to experience compassion–‘suffering with others’: the globalization of indifference has taken from us the ability to weep!” (Pope Francis Homily at Lampedusa, July 6, 2013)

Story of survival and faith

Migration Story of survival and faith

Questions for personal reflection:
  1. How has Merwyn’s story affected me? Did I weep when I heard Rosa and Violetta’s stories?
  2. Has my heart become hardened towards my sisters and brothers who are fleeing impossible conditions in their countries to seek refuge in ours?
  3. If I feel compassion for migrants and refugees, how do I deal with any dark thoughts that arise in me when I hear about the terrible suffering they face?

Share your thoughts and read reflections from others here.

Prayer by Pope Francis during Homily at Lampedusa

“Let us ask the Lord to remove the part of Herod that lurks in our hearts; let us ask the Lord for the grace to weep over our indifference, to weep over the cruelty of our world, of our own hearts, and of all those who in anonymity make social and economic decisions which open the door to tragic situations like this. . . . Today, has anyone wept in our world?”


Seeing Creation Anew: March 22

Words to inspire us:

St. Francis of Assisi: “The truly pure of heart are those who…seek the things of heaven, and who never cease to adore and behold the Lord God with a pure heart and soul.” (Admonition XVI)

Sr. Ilia Delio OSF: “What does this mean? It means that our hearts are pure when we view earthly things from ‘on high,’ that is, when we see their true value. We ‘seek the things of heaven’ when we search for the mystery of God present in everything, when we realize that the whole creation reflects the goodness of God.” (Franciscan Prayer, p 112) 

Seeing Creation Anew

by Sr. Louise Lears, SC

A story about action from the heart

In October of 2021, 24-year-old Paul Campion went on strike. Not your typical strike, but a hunger strike for climate, inspired by Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’. Read Paul Campion’s story.

Questions for personal reflection:
  1. What message or image do I want to take with me after hearing Paul’s story?
  2. How can I seek the purity of heart that will help me see all of creation as God sees it?
  3. How is my heart leading me to put that new vision of creation into action?

Share your thoughts and read reflections from others here.

Prayer from Laudato Si'

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light.


Seeing Racism Anew: March 29

Words to inspire us:

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

“Witnessing to the good yet to come and obliged to acquire purity of heart because of the vocation they have embraced, they should set themselves free to love God and their brothers and sisters.” (Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order, Article 12) 

Responding to racism from the heart

Read the story of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland who came to understand the harm caused by racism at a young age and responded with her heart.

Questions for personal reflection:
  1. What stands out most to me about Joan Trumpauer Mulholland’s story of disrupting systems of racism as a white person?
  2. When I honestly search my heart, where do I, at a subconscious level, have biased thoughts, attitudes and feelings that bring me to behave in a way that harms people of color (even if it’s not my intention)?
  3. What can I do to keep from replicating racially inequitable systems of institutional power, authority and violence?

Share your thoughts and read reflections from others here.


Take our stony hearts, O God
and give us hearts of flesh.

Take our hardened rock-white hearts
pull them from our chest,
from the center of our being
give us the grace to embrace the discomfort
of letting go of old ways of knowing
and believing
and being in the world.

Give us fleshy hearts, rich with color
give us the grace to nurture these hearts living in us,
in the center of our being
beating loudly to the rhythm
black lives

Take our stony hearts, O God
and give us hearts of flesh.


(Written by Kelly Adamson, Associate Director, University of Dayton Campus Ministry)

Seeing War Anew: April 5

Words to inspire us:

“Especially in situations of conflict, let us respect this, our ‘deepest dignity,’ and make active nonviolence our way of life…Jesus himself lived in violent times. Yet he taught that the true battlefield, where violence and peace meet, is the human heart: for ‘it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come’ (Mark 7:21)…To be true followers of Jesus today also includes embracing his teaching about nonviolence.” (Pope Francis, Message on the World Day of Peace, Jan 1, 2017)

“As you announce peace with your mouth, make sure that you have greater peace in your hearts.” (St Francis, Anonymous of Perugia)

“Your heart is to be an altar of God. It is here that the fire of intense love must burn always. You are to feed it every day with the wood of the cross of Christ and the commemoration of his passion.” (St Bonaventure, Letter to a Poor Clare Nun)


Seeing War Anew

by Friar Michael Lasky, OFM Conv.

Story: Ukrainian Hearts of Hope

FAN Board Member Friar Michael Lasky, OFM Conv. took part in drama therapy workshops with actors from Ukraine. Here is the story of Masha and Maria.

Questions for personal reflection:
  1. Is there violence in my own heart–towards myself, others, countries or groups–that affects my attitude towards war as a way to resolve differences?
  2. As I meditate on Jesus’ ultimate self-sacrifice during this Holy Week, what can I learn from his teachings and example of nonviolence?
  3. How can I move beyond my feelings of anger or helplessness to promote a just peace for Ukraine and other countries currently affected by war?

Share your thoughts and read reflections from others here.

Prayer: Pope Francis

Living, speaking, and acting without violence is not giving up, it is not losing or giving up anything. It is to aspire to everything.

As Saint John XXIII said 60 years ago in the Encyclical Pacem in Terris, war is madness, it is beyond reason.

Any war, any armed confrontation, always ends in defeat for all.

Let’s develop a culture of peace.

Let us remember that even in cases of self-defense, peace is the goal. And that a lasting peace can only be a peace without weapons.

Let us make nonviolence, both in daily life and in international relations, a guide for our actions.

And let us pray for a greater diffusion of the culture of nonviolence, which involves the lesser use of weapons, both by States and by citizens.


(April 2023 Prayer Intention)

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