We’re delighted to share a recap of the recent Building At-One-Ment Messengers (BAM) program hosted at the Holy Mountain Franciscan Retreat Center at Graymoor. BAM, an initiative of Joy Pellegrino, Executive Director of the Holy Mountain Franciscan Retreat Center, aimed to support the spiritual formation of young adults through guided learning experiences and volunteer services, all while exemplifying the Atonement Franciscan Charism.

The BAM program welcomed a group of college students, known as the Clark Scholars from Manhattanville College, under the guidance of Craig Donnelly, the Director of the Sister Mary T. Clark Center for Religion & Social Justice. These students immersed themselves in a mini spring break experience at Holy Mountain from March 5th to March 9th, 2024.

Throughout their stay, the students engaged in a series of enriching activities that reflected the essence of Franciscan spirituality and service. They participated in presentations on the Charism of the Friars of the Atonement with Paul Lipowski, heard about the charism lived through vocation with Fr. Jan Janoszka, SA, explored the impactful work of the Graymoor ecumenical and interreligious center with Aaron Hollander, and engaged in conversations with the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement.

The students also had the privilege of learning about the mission of St. Christopher’s Inn from Fr. Dennis Polanco and the Brothers Christopher, visiting San Damiano Farm, and experiencing the Union That Nothing Be Lost Thrift Shop and Graymoor Bookstore.

A highlight of the program was the opportunity for students to interact with individuals embodying the spirit of At-One-Ment through their ministries. Department heads, Sisters, and Friars joined the students for lunch, fostering meaningful connections and inspiring conversations.

Evening sessions were dedicated to “conversation circles” that delved into various themes such as volunteerism, mindfulness, reconciliation, earth sustainability, inter-faith dialogue, social justice, and prayer & spirituality. These sessions, enriched with music, film, and art, provided a holistic experience for the participants.

The BAM program at Holy Mountain Franciscan Retreat Center was a resounding success, offering students a transformative journey of spiritual growth, community engagement, and Atonement Franciscan-inspired service. Through their experiences, these young adults emerged as At-One-Ment Messengers, equipped to bring healing and wholeness to a fractured world, following in the footsteps of St. Francis, St. Clare, Fr. Paul, and Mother Lurana.