Since we are committed to Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation, these pages will highlight how we and our colleagues, associates and students are living out our call to justice.
These stories can inspire and encourage others, so please share your stories with us.
At the Border
Ursuline Srs. Maria Teresa de Llano and Karen Schwane volunteered at La Frontera Migrant Shelter in Laredo, Texas:
Day after day, we meet families who are dropped off at La Frontera shelter by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after being granted temporary asylum. This is their last stop before heading to those who will sponsor them.
From the moment they step out of the white bus until they are taken to the bus station, they are in our care. Their hearts are full of faith, hope and trust that we, the staff and volunteers, will guide them step by step through the last leg of their journey. All along the way, they have been misled, taken advantage of and, in some cases, kidnapped for ransom, but their faith and hope do not waiver. Their resilience and desire to have a better life for their children pushes them forward.
They come from as far as Venezuela, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. They are given false promises by the coyotes who tell them they will not go hungry or thirsty; they will walk only a few miles; they will get to the other side safely; that now is the time to leave their country of origin, family members, the only life they have ever known and head to El Norte. They sell the little they have and begin a long and treacherous journey of thousands of miles with faith in their God and hope in their hearts. And they do it all for their children in hopes of a better life for them, a place they can settle in peace, work very hard and get an education so they do not have to go through what they, the parents, have experienced.
For some of them, the journey began weeks, months, even years before. But it does not matter to them how long and hard it will be. The only thing that matters is that their children will no longer have to fear the gangs, drug traffickers and the daily struggle to eke out a living. They know their chances of making it to el otro lado, the other side, are slim, filled with danger, and in the end, they may be deported shortly after they arrive. None of these matter to them: Their children are worth it.
They come to our shelter, trusting in the goodness of others to guide them through this final leg of the journey. They trust us with their lives and, most importantly, with the lives of their children. They trust us to give them water, food, a place to shower, clean clothes for the journey, and needed supplies such as snacks, water, diapers, wipes and formula for the little ones. They trust that we will help them and accompany them every step of the way as they contact their sponsor family. They trust us. And we, for our part, do everything we can because we hold that trust sacred.
The chance of meeting them again in this lifetime is very slim, but we know we have done our best to get them to their destination.
Nearer to Home
Sister Regina Marie and St. Bernard Parish—joined forces to paint the exterior of Miss Sharon’s house, which was damaged by Hurricane Katrina, then repaired, then hit again by Hurricane Ida and the ensuing tornado. Joining Sister Regina in giving the house three fresh coats of paint were Sister Ginger Cirone, five students from Loyola University, three students from Tulane University and three Ursuline alumnae.