INTREPID PEOPLE OF COURAGE AMONG US: REFLECTIONS OF SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME DE NAMUR WELCOMING MIGRANTS AT THE US TEXAS BORDER

7The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur of the East-West Province initiated a Ministry at the Texas Border offering opportunities for our Sisters to volunteer.   By the end of this year, 41 sisters will have served in McAllen, Texas in a Respite Center run by Catholic Charities of the Brownsville Diocese. Collectively, they welcomed thousands of Central Americans during their unforgettable time there. Some of these Sisters share their reflections with us.

Sister Claire Pierz: My trip to McAllen was filled with many moving opportunities to8 experience the plight of people coming to our country—the kindest most patient people you could want to meet and so grateful for everything. At one point, I held a baby for a mother so she could eat her breakfast. One man even offered to pay for his soup. They were so grateful… even for a smiling welcoming face.

Sister Denise Rajotte: Over the last two months, two experiences have stayed in my mind and heart: a stream of faces of asylees runs in my head numerous times during each day and a sense of singlemindedness, communion with all the asylees and a clear focus on the needs of the present day. Indeed, a blessing!

9Sister Mary Friel: A beautiful Mayan mother Maria, with her teenage son had walked to the Mexican/US border in 15 days, fleeing violence and fear of forced membership in gangs… a young Honduran father said how his parents, aunt, uncle and two cousins had been shot dead. I was in tears, and he was too…

Sister Betsy Flynn: …we could hear the cries of small children… screams of troubled children, hungry children, and babies… I listened to the cries of the poor, and these cries opened my heart to the hope and courage of their mothers and fathers…risking their lives for the hope of a better life and future for their families.

Sister Mary Alice McCabe: …we have met an army of volunteers, St. Joseph Sisters of Philly, Anglican Deacons-Trinity on the Border, Rabbis, pastors, groups of Presbyterians and Methodists and many local folks like Marcia who dedicated her week off to the respite center. …the clinic gave over the counter meds …the Doctor pulled out her wallet and gave personal money to Sr. Maryann to run to the drugstore for more boxes of medicine.

Sister Ginny Scally: The gentle father I met was from Nicaragua. Gangs had murdered

10

Sr. Denis Raiotte & Mary Friel

his aunt, uncle, and two cousins. He had a job, but it paid next to nothing. He made a choice with his wife, to flee with his family, to the United States. He desired only to work hard to earn decent money so they could have “a future full of hope” … and a semblance of dignity and honor.

We thank each sister for her profound and touching reflections.  There will be a continuation of these reflections in August. We extend our gratitude to Sisters Ellen Dabrieo, Judith Flahavan, Betsy Flynn, and Mary Alice McCabe for their initiative, planning, organization and on-going vision of this much-needed ministry. Prayers and donations for supplies at the Center will always be appreciated.

My warmest appreciation too, to Sister Rita Raboin, who generously edited and organized these reflections.

 

 

 

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