Peace & Justice
|From left: Rose Mary Seiberlich-Schendel, Sr. Judy Seiberlich, Associate Maudette Carr, Sr. Norma Pimentel of Rio Grande Catholic Charities, Sr. Erica Jordan, Associate Felice Maciejewski, and Associate Mary Goonan ministering at the respite center.|
Ministry at the US-Mexico Border
by the RFM Team
Since August, there have been five different groups of Dominican Sisters, Associates, and friends of Sinsinawa volunteering at the border in our name at Catholic Charities Respite Center in McAllen, TX. In total, 32 volunteered, including Associates Margi Miller, Felice Maciejewski, Maudette Carr, Mary Goonan, Princess Wilson, Diane Mertens, Laurie and Tom Bartoletti, Sheila Przesmicki, Kay Brown, Terri Bolotin, Karen Anderson, MaDonna Thelen, and Cecilia Salvatore. Sister volunteers included Ann Marie Palmisano, OP; Mary Ann Carroll, OP; Mary Howard Johnstone, OP; Erica Jordan, OP; Judy Seiberlich, OP; Margaret McGuirk, OP; Kathy Komarek, OP; Evie Storto, OP; Marie Lucek, OP; and Reg McKillip, OP.
Below are reflections shared by those ministering at the border. Please continue to pray for those who are crossing the border and those left waiting in Mexico.
“What touched my heart was how many children were at both the resource center and in the camp in Mexico. As a grandmother, I also observed there were few or no people with gray hair or of the older generation, so they were left behind and may never see their children and grandchildren again. I am truly grateful for the experience and thank the planning committee and Congregation for including me in this volunteer opportunity which was both hopeful and heartbreaking.”
Kay Brown, Eden Prairie, MN
“We served at the Catholic Charity Respite Center for only five days. As I sat at the children’s table coloring with the little ones, I thought about people who have given their lives to mission. Jeanne Donovan, lay missioner who served in El Salvador, came to mind. She and three Sisters were killed—martyred—in 1980 during a terrible civil war. Throughout the week, Jeanne’s quote came to mind, ‘Several times I have decided to leave El Salvador. I almost could, except for the children, the poor, bruised victims of this insanity. Who would care for them? Whose heart could be so staunch as to favor the reasonable thing in a sea of their tears and loneliness? Not mine, dear friend, not mine.’ Here we are, some 40 years later, and who will care for the children?” Laurie Bartoletti, Sheridan, MT
“The travelers from Central America do not arrive at the Catholic Charities Respite Center pulling suitcases or carrying luggage. They come with only the clothes they wear. Despite their lack of material possessions, the migrants possess so many gifts and talents. I feel extremely fortunate to be a recipient of those gifts. During a language lesson, I had an opportunity to tutor a brother and sister pair from Guatemala. The brother, a sixth grader, gifted me with a story he wrote in English about his favorite foods and activities in Guatemala. Before boarding a bus to reconnect with cousins in Washington, DC, he told me how excited he was about moving to the United States capital and attending school there. I hope he and his sister find an academically challenging school and caring, creative, compassionate teachers who will nurture this
enthusiastic pair. I feel blessed serving the migrants.”
Diane Mertens, Madison, WI
“The first thing I noticed was the families with children without a home. I’ve seen the invisible people in my neighborhood due to homelessness before but never experienced the vulnerability and gratefulness from the immigrants. The children were precious, and most of them had smiles on their faces. The things we have here in the United States make me feel blessed that I can now afford and share my gifts with them. I will never forget the experience of walking across the bridge to Reynosa, Mexico, and seeing the tents with 2,500 people living there from Central and South America, Mexico, and Haiti. They were all courageous in their journey to safety. It’s the simple things in life.”
Princess Wilson, Atlanta, GA
“Volunteering at the Catholic Charities Respite Center was a humbling and inspiring experience. The immigrants seeking asylum were mostly from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. We shared stories, played with children, shared food, and helped with essential material needs as well as providing simple medications. The spirit of sister and brother to each other was a gift from God.”
Mary Goonan, Belleville, WI