Peace & Justice

Sinsinawa Presence at the Border
Sisters, Associates Volunteer in McAllen

by Associate Mary Goonan; Margaret McGuirk, OP; and Reg McKillip, OP, for the Sinsinawa Immigrant and Refugee Committee

From left: Associates Mary Goonan, Diane Mertens, Paula Eytalis, and MaDonna Thelen at the Catholic Charities Respite Center in McAllen, TX.
From left: Associates Mary Goonan, Diane Mertens, Paula Eytalis, and MaDonna Thelen at the Catholic Charities Respite Center in McAllen, TX.
Associate MaDonna Thelen holds a 6-week-old baby born in the Rio Grande.
Associate MaDonna Thelen holds a 6-week-old baby born in the Rio Grande.

During the month of October, a group of Dominican Sisters and Associates volunteered at the Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center (HRC) in McAllen, TX. A Sinsinawa group volunteered at this same respite center in 2021 last October and November.

The center welcomes individuals primarily from Central America who are about to be released by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and are referred to HRC from local detention centers. The center provides each migrant compassionate care via offering a safe environment, legal orientation and information, a warm meal and water, hygiene products and a warm shower, a clean change of clothes, temporary shelter, medical supplies and assistance, and transportation services. “There were about 150 or more asylum seekers coming through each day,” said Associate Mary Goonan who volunteered there the first two weeks of October. “They stay at the respite center until their sponsor sends the money for their plane or bus tickets.”

Our 2022 volunteers were Associates Diane Mertens and Mary Goonan (Oct. 2–15); Associates MaDonna Thelen and Paula Eytalis (Oct. 9–15); Associate Kay Brown, Margaret McGuirk, OP, and Kathleen Motzenbecker (Oct. 16–22); and Candidate Julie Rambin, Mary Ann Carroll, OP, Mary Howard Johnstone, OP, and Ann Marie Palmisano, OP (Oct. 23–29). Let us hold these women in prayer to show our gratitude and appreciation.

Click for Spectrum November 2022 Index

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