In the 1980s, women religious played a prominent role in the sanctuary movement, which sheltered refugees fleeing Central American civil wars. Now their communities are trying to discern whether a sanctuary movement is the best way to help immigrants under threat today.
I was privileged to join a 10-day "root causes pilgrimage" to Honduras last December with a group from California, the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity. The purpose of the pilgrimage was to identify the real reasons why so many from the "Northern Triangle" — Guatemala, El Salvador, and particularly Honduras — continue to migrate north despite the many obstacles they face. Delegations like this from the United States provide a witness to the poverty, the political system, and other issues which the people face.
GSR Today: When I met Aayda Merhej a year ago, she struggled with the day-to-day agonies that exacted a toll on many Syrian refugees in Lebanon. "We're just trying to survive right now," she told me.
I'm what you might call a cradle Catholic. I grew up in the "Catholic ghetto" on the south side of Indianapolis. Everyone I knew, aside from a few Asians and adopted kids at my school, was white and Catholic. My senior year of high school, I experienced a significant holy disruption to the bubble of white privilege in which I lived — a holy disruption that continues to shape my journey today.
For sisters and organizations helping resettle Syrian refugees in Ontario, reaching out to help the families means relying on others in the community and forging new paths toward interfaith cooperation.
Faith in Public Life hosted a recent telephone town hall with Jesuit Fr. James Martin, Missionaries of Jesus Sr. Norma Pimentel, and Julieta Garibay offering calls to action about immigration.
"I hope all those people who want immigrants, take them in themselves. When we run out of welfare and dip more into Social Security what will we all do then?" This is from a Facebook post by a Catholic friend; it sums up what I suspect many people, some Trump supporters, believe about refugees and immigrants.
Sacred Heart of Jesus Sr. Florence Nweonuma was on the front lines helping draft the law that outlawed trafficking in Nigeria in 2003. Global Sisters Report caught up with Nweonuma in October to hear her reflections on two decades of anti-trafficking work.
On television this week, I watched the footage of startled and scared travelers from the seven countries banned by President Donald Trump's executive order, finally free after hours of being detained, questioned and, in some case,s even handcuffed by immigration officials, pushing their luggage carts past large crowds of people in baggage claim.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious issued a statement Monday about the executive orders that President Donald Trump issued Jan. 27, saying they show "misplaced priorities," denigrate American values and endanger all citizens.