Search Results for: Immigration

We work to ensure the dignity of immigrants, refugees and victims of human trafficking and stand in solidarity with all who suffer oppression.

What a Hug Means to Migrant Children

May 26, 2021

By Angelie Ryah, a member of the Casa de Misericordia Intentional Community in San Diego

Oh my friends. Words fail to capture my experience yesterday of being allowed inside the San Diego Convention Center, where 1,450 unaccompanied migrant girls are being held.

As part of a larger group of clergy volunteering to provide spiritual care to these vulnerable kids, I joined two of my community members, Sisters Mary Waskowiak and Mary Kay Dobrovolny, to attend a Mass led by the local archbishop. After lots of security procedures, we were escorted into the main area. I had expected to simply observe, but all three of us were seated on the platform with the bishop! We helped lead some singing and clapping, but most of all I looked into their faces; saw the tears and sadness; and watched them shift between smiles, confusion and crying within minutes.

Afterwards, we each got to offer prayer for whoever desired it, and long lines of kids immediately formed in front of us. It was unspeakably tender to get to bless them with a few words of hope. Many opened their arms for a hug and just melted into tears as I held them. It was so hard to let go! There were a few little brothers getting to stay with their sisters, and one shy little charmer of maybe 5 years kept coming back for another hug.

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In Texas, Lines, Lines, Lines…

February 28, 2021

By Sister Rose Weidenbenner

In the Rio Grande Valley, which is as far south as one can drive in Texas before reaching Mexico, people have gotten used to waiting in lines, long lines.

An image of Sister Pat Mulderick handing out blankes and food to one of persons in need waiting in the long lines.
After the devastating winter storms in Texas in February, women received blankets and food at the ARISE Support Center in Alamo. Sister Pat Mulderick was one of the Sisters of Mercy distributing items.

When COVID-19 testing was first available, people camped in their cars for hours, often overnight, in hopes of receiving one of the 200 free tests being offered at various sites around the county. Those who could pay $150 for a test also ended up waiting in long lines to register, only to discover they had to wait in another long line to receive the test. Finally, when the number of free tests increased to 5,000 per day, it was common to wait in line for more than four hours and then have to administer the uncomfortable test to oneself! 

As the pandemic worsened, local news channels showed disturbing images of residents waiting in long queues to receive hospital care for themselves or family members. As deaths from COVID numbered into the hundreds and then thousands, family members found themselves again enduring long delays as their loved ones were prepared for burial, and then they waited again to bury them. It often took months to process deaths through overburdened funeral homes.

And then the food lines started. Week after week after week, people sat in a queue of cars that stretched for miles; at other times, they stood in lines in heat-laden parking lots to purchase enough food to get them through to the next day.

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En Texas, filas, filas, filas…

February 28, 2021

Por la Hermana Rose Weidenbenner

En el Valle del Río Grande, que está tan al Sur como puedas conducir en Texas antes de llegar a México, la gente se ha acostumbrado a esperar en filas, largas filas.

An image of Sister Pat Mulderick handing out blankes and food to one of persons in need waiting in the long lines.
Después de las devastadoras tormentas invernales de febrero en Texas, las mujeres recibieron mantas y alimentos en el Centro de apoyo ARISE, en Álamo. Hermana Pat Mulderick fue una de las Hermanas de la Misericordia que distribuyó los productos.

Cuando por primera vez estuvieron disponibles las pruebas de COVID-19, las personas acamparon en sus autos por horas, a menudo durante la noche, con la esperanza de recibir una de las 200 pruebas gratuitas que se ofrecían en varios lugares del condado. Aquellos que podían pagar US$150 por una prueba también terminaron esperando en largas filas para registrarse, solo para descubrir que tenían que esperar en otra larga fila para recibir la prueba. Finalmente, cuando el número de pruebas gratuitas aumentó a 5.000 por día, era común esperar en fila durante más de cuatro horas y luego ¡cada persona tenía que administrarse a sí misma la prueba incómoda!

A medida que empeoraba la pandemia, los canales de noticias locales mostraban imágenes inquietantes de residentes que esperaban en largas filas para recibir atención hospitalaria para ellos o para sus familiares. Conforme ascendían a cientos las muertes por COVID y luego a miles, los familiares se encontraron nuevamente soportando largas demoras mientras se preparaban a sus seres queridos para el entierro, y luego esperaron nuevamente para enterrarlos. A menudo tomaba meses procesar las muertes a través de las funerarias sobrecargadas.

Y luego comenzaron las filas para la comida. Semana tras semana, tras semana, la gente hacía una fila de autos que se extendía por kilómetros; en otras ocasiones, hacían filas en estacionamientos extremadamente calurosos para comprar suficiente comida con el fin de sobrevivir el día siguiente.

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A Ministry of Service to Immigrants

September 22, 2020

By Sister Pat Lamb

Ministering to our immigrant sisters and brothers at the U.S.–Mexico border never called to me. Instead, my experience in this ministry began more than 30 years ago in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was during the 1986 time of amnesty, and we set up a site at our church, with an attorney, to assist those seeking citizenship. Those eight years in Grand Rapids kept me in touch with many of the issues the migrant workers we served during the summer season were facing. Mass at our church was in Spanish, as were the summer liturgies with the migrants near their camps. We helped the workers settle for the short while they were there, and over the years it became like welcoming old friends or family back when they returned each summer.

A picture of Sister Pat lamb with donated shoes and supplies for immigrants who are students at local schools.
Sister Pat Lamb shows off a car full of shoes, ready for transport to the school where children got to pick the pair they liked the best.

It was not until my years in Holland, Michigan, that I began to meet undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Central America. I soon learned that they had incredible stories of troubled, often violent situations in their beloved home countries that left them with no other option but to pack up their families and depart on foot, usually in the night. So much of their journeys were through unwelcoming situations, with little food or water and no safe place to rest. Eventually, they would arrive at the U.S. border, at what they thought would be a place of hope and a promise of welcome.

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Un ministerio de servicio a inmigrantes

September 22, 2020

Por la Hermana Pat Lamb

Nunca me sentí llamada a servir a nuestras hermanas y hermanos inmigrantes en la frontera con México. En cambio, mi experiencia en este servicio dio inicio hace más de 30 años en Grand Rapids, Michigan. Durante el tiempo de amnistía de 1986, establecimos un lugar en nuestra iglesia con un abogado para ayudar a quienes buscaban la ciudadanía. En esos ocho años en Grand Rapids pude ver muchos de los problemas que enfrentan los trabajadores inmigrantes que ayudamos ese verano. La misa en nuestra iglesia era en español, como las liturgias de verano con los inmigrantes cerca de sus campamentos. Ayudamos a trabajadores a establecerse para el corto tiempo que permanecerían allí, y con el paso de los años cada verano era como dar la bienvenida a los viejos amigos o familiares que regresaban.

Hermana Pat Lamb muestra un automóvil lleno de zapatos, lista para llevarlos a la escuela donde los niños podrán elegir el par que más les guste.

No fue hasta mis años en Holland, Michigan que comencé a encontrarme con inmigrantes indocumentados de México y Centroamérica. Supe de inmediato que tenían historias increíbles de situaciones problemáticas, a menudo violentas, en sus queridos países de origen y que no les dejaba otra opción que empacar con sus familias y partir a pie, generalmente por la noche. Gran parte de sus viajes se desarrollaban a través de situaciones desagradables, con poca comida o agua y sin un lugar seguro para descansar. Eventualmente, llegarían a la frontera de los Estados Unidos, a lo que pensaban iba a ser un lugar de esperanza y una promesa de bienvenida.

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The Simple Profundities of Life on the Border

March 5, 2020

By Sister Victoria Incrivaglia

I have been an educator at the secondary level for seven years and practiced as a therapist (licensed clinical social worker) for 38 years; then I listened to the emerging desire to engage in a different expression of practicing as a therapist. Thus began the journey of learning the details of digital photography as well as therapeutic photography, contemplative photography and visio divina. I earned a certificate in digital photography, and I continue photography courses through the Missouri Botanical Garden. This avenue provides the more artistic expression of photography.

A photograph can be simultaneously simple as well as profound.  Each picture has a message that speaks to our heart and mind. I have found that many times I was in the right place at the right time to receive the moment of a photograph. I do not believe it happened by chance; it was all providential.

I took the following photographs during a visit to Pharr and Laredo, Texas, at the end of January/beginning of February 2020. They tell the story of our political situation today.

The Rio Grande River is 1,885 miles long. It separates families from being together along the boundaries of Texas and Mexico. Individuals who are in the U.S. through DACA cannot return to Mexico to see their families, as they would be detained and not allowed to re-enter the U.S.
The Rio Grande River is 1,885 miles long. It separates families from being together along the boundaries of Texas and Mexico.Individuals who are in the U.S. through DACA cannot return to Mexico to see their families, as they would be detained and not allowed to re-enter the U.S.
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Las Profundidades Sencillas de la Vida en la Frontera

March 5, 2020

Por la Hermana Victoria Incrivaglia

He sido educadora de nivel secundario durante siete años y terapeuta (trabajadora social clínica con licencia) por 38 años; luego escuché el deseo emergente de participar de un modo diferente para ejercer la terapia. Así comencé el recorrido de aprender los detalles de la fotografía digital y de la fotografía terapéutica, la fotografía contemplativa y la mirada divina. Obtuve una certificación en fotografía digital, y continúo en cursos de fotografía en el Jardín Botánico de Missouri. Esta vía proporciona la expresión más artística de la fotografía.

Una fotografía puede ser al mismo tiempo simple y profunda. Cada foto tiene un mensaje que le habla a nuestro corazón y a nuestra mente. Me he dado cuenta de que muchas veces he estado en el lugar y momento adecuados para captar el momento de una fotografía. No creo que haya sucedido por casualidad; todo fue providencial.

Las siguientes fotografías fueron tomadas durante una visita a Pharr y Laredo, Texas, a fines de enero e inicios de febrero de 2020. Hablan de nuestra historia y situación política actuales.

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Walking with the Women on the Other Side of the Wall

February 5, 2020

By Sisters Beth Dempsey and Mary Cleary

A woman from Guatemala abused by her husband walked from Guatemala to Mexico with her two daughters seeking asylum.

Sister Beth Blesses Daisy
Sister Beth Blesses Daisy

Another woman, Daisy, a mother of three, has been living in a tent with her husband and children since August; she has nearly two months to go, since their asylum hearing is not until March.

These are some of the women we met at the border in Matamoros, Mexico, when we spent two weeks volunteering at the Humanitarian Center in McAllen, Texas, a respite center run by Catholic Charities in the diocese of Brownsville.

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Caminando con las mujeres del otro lado del muro

February 5, 2020

Por las Hermanas Beth Dempsey y Mary Cleary

Una guatemalteca maltratada por su marido caminó de Guatemala a México con sus dos hijas en busca de asilo.

Hermana Beth bendice a Daisy
Hermana Beth bendice a Daisy

Daisy, madre de tres hijos, ha estado viviendo en una tienda de campaña con su marido e hijos desde agosto; le quedan casi dos meses, ya que su audiencia de asilo no es hasta marzo.

Estas son algunas de las mujeres que conocimos en la frontera en Matamoros, México cuando pasamos dos semanas como voluntarias en el Centro Humanitario de McAllen, Texas, un centro de descanso dirigido por Caridades Católicas en la Diócesis de Brownsville.

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Pilgrimages of Purpose — Mercy Educators at the Border

January 10, 2020

Reflections on National Migration Week, by Mercy staff and educators who have participated in border delegations with the Sisters of Mercy over the past four years.

Jean Stokan

For a long time, Jean Stokan resisted going to Central America. It was 1986, and she was doing advocacy work for the SHARE Foundation to end U.S. funding for the civil war in El Salvador. “I didn’t feel like I needed to go,” she said. “But I was almost getting burned out, so I decided to go, just to see the faces of the children for whom I had been working.”

The experience ended up changing the focus of her whole life. “I stopped asking myself, ‘What more can I do?’” she said. “Instead, I asked, ‘What can I do that is more difficult, more courageous?’”

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