With a cheerful “heart” theme for the day, eighty high school junior girls participated in a Gift of Mission vocation awareness program held in Immaculata, PA, sponsored by an intercongregational team of vocation directors – including the Missionary Sisters – from the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC). Young ladies from Bishop Shanahan H.S., West Chester, PA; Mount St. Joseph Academy, Chestnut Hill, PA; York Catholic H.S., York, PA; and Glouscester Catholic H.S., Glouscester City, NJ entered into a fun and interactive day learning about vowed religious life, prayer, and ministry.
Cabrini Outreach has been sending an orthopaedic surgical team to Modilon General Hospital in Papua New Guinea since 2000. The team performs surgery for local residents, many of whom have had significant orthopaedic issues for many years, and [they provide] education and training for the local hospital surgeons and nurses. Patients come from surrounding towns and villages to receive attention from the skilled Cabrini team. The 2018 team was made up of two surgeons, an anaesthetist and a nurse, led by orthopaedic surgeon Adrian Trivett.
“It is quite confronting when you first go over there and challenging on a professional level but it is also incredibly rewarding,” Mr. Trivett said. He continued, “Surgeons in metropolitan Melbourne in 2018 tend to have a very narrow area of practice, but in Papua New Guinea it is back to basics, where you need to be a generalist orthopaedic surgeon.”
Mr. Trivett said the conditions at Modilon General Hospital were very different to the conditions surgeons are used to in Australia. The hospital can perform x-rays and some blood tests but has no advanced diagnostic equipment such as CT scan, MRI or ultrasound.
“There is an orthopaedic service at Modilon General Hospital but it functions at a very basic level,” Mr Trivett said. He commented, “Not only are you dealing with orthopaedic problems but you are also dealing with diseases that are typically not seen in western societies, such as polio, tuberculosis and rickets.” He said basic power supply was intermittent, at best, and the team had to learn to be resourceful under difficult conditions.
“Occasionally, the power went out while we were operating, so we were finishing operations under torchlight. The back-up generators don’t always work so you just have to work with what you’ve got. The wards are open, with 20 patients occupying each one and often there will be relatives, including children, sleeping on the floor, so it makes it pretty crowded.”
Mr Trivett said the staff and patients were incredibly grateful for the work the Cabrini team performed. “The patients are very appreciative of everything we do for them so they are really easy patients to look after,” he said. Mr Trivett said it was gratifying to be able to help people in a place where there was clearly so much need.
“It was a very satisfying experience and something that professionally hadn’t really existed in my practice before, so I was happy to lead this trip and to help so many patients. It was incredibly rewarding.”
During the week the team was in Papua New Guinea, it performed 26 operations and saw more than 50 patients, who had come from across the district to receive help from the Cabrini team.
CARA Survey Shows Uptick in Number of Women and Men Taking Perpetual Vows
~by Jacob Comello of Catholic News Service
When you head to Mass this Sunday, chances are you will hear the intention “an increase in vocations to the religious life” lifted up before the gifts are presented. A recent survey suggests those prayers might be getting answered.
The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, a nonprofit that conducts and publishes social-science research on the Catholic Church, just released findings of a national survey of men and women who in 2018 professed perpetual vows in monasteries, provinces or religious congregations based in the United States, and the results suggest an increasing number of Catholics are willing to pursue this kind of obligation.
Senior research associate Mary Gautier told CNS in a phone interview that CARA “(was) able to identify 240 persons” taking perpetual vows, “up from 200 the last time we did the survey.” Of these 240 identified women and men religious, a total of 92 sisters and nuns and 70 brothers and priests responded to the survey.
According to a news release, CARA reached respondents by contacting major superiors — leaders of religious institutes — belonging to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious and the Conference of Major Superiors of Men.
While the uptick isn’t hard evidence that the religious life is generally expanding, Gautier said that the greater ease in finding respondents who had committed to perpetual vows was certainly “good news.”
So what might have convinced these people, against the prevailing cultural norms, that the perpetual life was right for them?
According to the study, vocation programs are probably part of the answer, which include encounters where men and women considering such a path can visit an institution and “try it out” for a week or weekend. As the news release noted: “Nearly all of the religious of the profession class of 2018 (88 percent) participated in some type of vocation program or experience prior to entering their religious institute.”
Gautier also emphasized to CNS the growing racial diversity of the 2018 class. She noted that around one-third of those surveyed indicated that they belonged to a minority group, primarily Asian or Hispanic. Seven in 10 of the professed are U.S. or Canada-born.”
~by Jeanne Christensen, RSM, Global Sisters Report
In 2004, for the first time, I met prostituted women who had survived and were moving successfully into recovery. I was awed by their stories, but more so by their strength, courage and resilience. How could anyone survive what they had experienced and still have hope? One told me, “God reached into hell and pulled me out.” I wanted to say, “Yes, but give yourself credit.” She now operates a nonprofit, helping other victims and survivors.
When younger, these women were among those at great risk — runaway youth. The National Conference of State Legislature cites studies showing that “youth age 12 to 17 are more at risk of homelessness than adults”; “one in seven young people between the ages of 10 and 18 will run away”; and “75 percent of runaways are female.” If runaways or homeless youth are on the streets without a safe place to go, their abduction is likely within 48 hours, according to public safety officials. They often run from or are forced out of terrible home situations. Many believe nothing could be worse. Unfortunately, they are usually wrong.
According to Shared Hope International’s Seeking Justice 2018 Report, only “23 states and the District of Columbia prohibit the criminalization of minors for prostitution offenses” by adopting varying statutory approaches to prevent the criminalization. While some states may be failing exploited children and adults, local nonprofits, organizations, agencies, education and health care facilities and systems, faith communities, anti-trafficking advocates and law enforcement are working together to address human trafficking.
[People should be aware that] predators identify the most vulnerable youth, marginalized in some way, lacking self-esteem and/or self-confidence. These young victims live in your city, maybe even in your neighborhood. You may have seen one of them in your hospital’s emergency department, or at the truck stop on the interstate. They may even be a student in your high school or university. It is good that more adults are enforcing rules about their children’s use of smartphones, tablets and other technology, and limiting access to the internet and social media.
Children as young as primary students unintentionally advertise their vulnerability by what they say or post on social media. As I have learned, the most vulnerable include runaways, foster children, immigrant youth, LGBTQ youth, those thrown out of their own homes, and those living in poverty or in dysfunctional families. Sadly, predators know this and seek them out.
Predators also make advances on children at malls, restaurants, coffee shops, arcades, movie theaters and other places where youth gather. Explaining to youth what human trafficking is, how they and their friends are at risk, and what they can do to avoid being targeted, lured or chosen as victims can help them understand how to protect themselves and their friends. Education and awareness are key.
To read the entire article: https://www.globalsistersreport.org/column/trafficking/trafficking-demands-action-all-us-55839
St. Josephine Bakhita – Patron Saint of Human Trafficking Victims – Feast Day, February 8, 2019
For many years, Josephine Bakhita was a slave but her spirit was always free and eventually that spirit prevailed.
Born in Olgossa in the Darfur region of southern Sudan, Josephine was kidnapped at the age of 7, sold into slavery and given the name Bakhita, which means fortunate. She was resold several times, finally in 1883 to Callisto Legnani, Italian consul in Khartoum, Sudan.
Two years later, he took Josephine to Italy and gave her to his friend Augusto Michieli. Bakhita became babysitter to Mimmina Michieli, whom she accompanied to Venice’s Institute of the Catechumens, run by the Canossian Sisters. While Mimmina was being instructed, Josephine felt drawn to the Catholic Church. She was baptized and confirmed in 1890, taking the name Josephine.
When the Michielis returned from Africa and wanted to take Mimmina and Josephine back with them, the future saint refused to go. During the ensuing court case, the Canossian Sisters and the patriarch of Venice intervened on Josephine’s behalf. The judge concluded that since slavery was illegal in Italy, she had actually been free since 1885.
Josephine entered the Institute of St. Magdalene of Canossa in 1893 and made her profession three years later. In 1902, she was transferred to the city of Schio (northeast of Verona), where she assisted her religious community through cooking, sewing, embroidery, and welcoming visitors at the door. She soon became well loved by the children attending the sisters’ school and the local citizens. She once said, “Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know Him. What a great grace it is to know God!”
The first steps toward her beatification began in 1959. She was beatified in 1992 and canonized eight years later.
From Franciscan Media: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-josephine-bakhita/
The U.S. Supreme Court on January 22 took no action on the Trump administration’s appeal of a federal appeals court’s injunction on its efforts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. It is unclear if the high court will take up the case.
In November, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in San Francisco, upheld a lower court’s preliminary injunction blocking the federal government’s attempts to stop the program implemented by the Obama administration in 2012.
Although several trial judges have found fault with Trump’s decision to end DACA, this decision was the first from a federal appeals court and the Trump administration has asked the Supreme Court to review it.
“We conclude that plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their claim that the recission of DACA — at least as justified on this record — is arbitrary, capricious or otherwise not in accordance with law,” the 9th Circuit panel ruled.
Lawsuits by California and other states challenging the Trump administration’s decision to end DACA will continue to move ahead in federal court while the injunction remains in place.
During his 2017 announcement about ending the program, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions called DACA “an unconstitutional exercise of authority.”
DACA began under then President Barack Obama via executive order As president, Trump said he would make a decision “with heart,” and said that even though he was ending DACA, he was calling on Congress to find a solution to help the young adults. Lawmakers have failed to deliver, leaving the courts to toss around challenges.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2017 called the cancellation of DACA “reprehensible” and said it caused “unnecessary fear for DACA youth and their families.” The USCCB, along with a variety of Catholic groups, organizations and religious orders, have since then called for a solution to help the young adults.
Last August, a federal judge in Washington ordered the Trump administration to restore DACA a program that helped young adults brought into the country illegally as minors, saying reasons calling for its demise were not justified. ~ Catholic News Service
In 1997, Pope Saint John Paul II instituted a day of prayer for women and men in consecrated life. This celebration is attached to the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2nd. This Feast is also known as Candlemas Day; the day on which candles are blessed symbolizing Christ who is the light of the world. So too, those in consecrated life are called to reflect the light of Jesus Christ to all peoples. The celebration of World Day for Consecrated Life is transferred to the following Sunday in order to highlight the gift of consecrated persons for the whole Church.
World Day for Consecrated Life is celebrated on February 2nd. In 2019, this day is celebrated in parishes on February 2-3. Let us keep the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and all those in consecrated life to celebrate the gift they bring to the Church and to the world.
In a video produced by NRVC Board member Father Toby Collins, C.R. and Andrew Turski, members of the National Religious Vocation Conference talk about why they love their vocation to Religious Life.
To view the video on the joy of consecrated life:
Cabrini’s Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Hub in Brunswick is helping some of the most vulnerable in our community.
Since opening in 2016, the Hub has received more than 500 referrals of patients and currently has 320 active clients.
The operation is twofold, with a nurse-led primary care service and a specialist mental health service, largely staffed by pro bono health professionals. Medical Director for the Hub, Dr. Gillian Singleton, said the service filled an unmet need in the community.
“There aren’t many health services in the north-eastern corridor with the capacity to meet the needs of the individuals and families we see, so we are filling a huge gap,” Dr. Singleton said.
“More than half of the people we see have no access to Medicare and more than 80 per cent have no source of income or financial support and so have barriers to accessing other medical services. Referrals to our service are increasing every month and the demographics of our clients are shifting, with increasing numbers of women and children presenting to the Hub.”
“At the primary care service, we see a lot of complexity, more than 60 per cent of our patients have at least one chronic disease, 18 per cent have multiple chronic diseases and 22 per cent have concurrent mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Other common conditions managed at the Hub include chronic pain, hepatitis B, nutritional deficiencies, diabetes and latent tuberculosis.”
Of those patients presenting to the mental health service, more than 50 per cent have experienced torture and trauma, 70 per cent have spent time in immigration detention and 18 per cent have been transferred from offshore detention.
“It is very hard to maintain your resilience when you have received so many setbacks,” Dr. Singleton said.
“The evidence is clear that the longer people are living in uncertainty, the more likely they are to experience significant physical and mental health issues.
“Generally speaking, people seeking asylum who arrive in Australia are incredibly resilient people and there is good evidence that if they are well supported, they have enormous potential but detention and prolonged processing times can impact their ability to maintain that resilience. It’s important to recognise that people who arrived by boat and are awaiting resolution of their claims, even if successful, will not be eligible to settle in Australia permanently, at best they may be able to access a three or five-year temporary visa.”
“The most common thing we see in individuals presenting to our service, is a sense of hopelessness and injustice, they feel unsupported and can’t see any potential for respite in the future, which impacts their mental state and their sense of self. This can lead them to give up on life because they feel they are out of options.”
Dr. Singleton said recent changes to Federal Government legislation meant many people who were previously eligible for income support and other services, such as torture and trauma counseling and casework support, are no longer eligible.
“Most of the asylum seekers we see are on temporary bridging visas and are learning English. They are expected to find a job but this can be very difficult if you are on a temporary visa with minimal English,” she said.
“Unlike permanent residents, they have no access to Centrelink so most of them have no income at all to support themselves.”
Most of the asylum seekers are reliant on charitable organisations to provide housing, food and other vital resources.
The Hub also offers pharmaceutical waivers, which enable asylum seekers to access essential medications they require.
Hub clients have come from 37 different countries, but the majority are from the Middle Eastern region, particularly Iran, Pakistan and Iraq.
Dr. Singleton said many of the individuals who consult her at the Hub had been in detention centres and faced waits of more than five years for processing in Australia.
“Most are fleeing persecution, which in itself can cause significant mental health problems,” she said. “Some are very severely affected by what they have experienced. Living in uncertainty for years makes it very difficult to plan for the future because individuals don’t know what it holds for them, if they will see their families again or where they will eventually be settled.”
Dr. Singleton said for many of the asylum seekers, Australia was not the fresh start they had been expecting.
“They have come here in the hope of a better life and have instead faced further hardship including detention, destitution and many years waiting for their visa applications to be processed. Many lose contact with their relatives back home as they are ashamed that their new life has not turned out as expected.”
However, for many who come through the doors of the Hub it is just the help they needed.
“We have had some patients who have been granted permanent residency, though that is rare,” Dr Singleton said. “For others, we have been able to provide access to services they would never have otherwise been connected with. We have provided a safe, compassionate and respectful therapeutic space for them, so it feels like we are making a difference. “We often see individuals at their most vulnerable, when they first present, and then, months later, when you can see the small positive changes in their lives and an improved sense of self and hope, which can be incredibly rewarding. Everyone we see is extremely grateful for the assistance they receive.”
Aside from a small number of paid staff, the majority of the clinicians provide their services pro bono, including GPs, psychiatrists and a physiotherapist.
“It is really inspiring that there are so many health professionals who are dedicated and passionate about these issues and are willing to regularly give up their own time to provide this care to people in need,” Dr. Singleton said. “Personally, I have been passionate about refugee and asylum seeker health for a long time and I’m privileged to be able to provide care to those who otherwise couldn’t access it.”
Cabrini’s Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Hub is located in Sydney Road in Brunswick and is open Monday to Friday as well as some Saturdays.
The Hub has been receiving large numbers of referrals, particularly to the specialist mental health service, and is currently in need of psychiatrists who are willing to provide care pro bono. To express your interest in being involved, phone Tracey Cabrie at the Hub on 8388
A report published January 17 by the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services says the number of immigrant children separated from their parents at the border last year is unknown and the number given out by government officials at the end of 2018, saying that 2,737 children were separated, is not accurate. The number may be much higher.
The separations officially reported were those that took place between July and November 2018, when then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced what he called a zero tolerance policy, which meant that undocumented migrant parents caught crossing the border with their children would risk being separated from them. After some lawsuits were filed and much public outcry, the policy was reversed.
The report says the real number of separations may [extend] into the thousands, but it’s hard to pin down accurate information because of a poor tracking system and poor communication among the agencies that were involved. The office took on the task of looking at the numbers of children separated, the inspector general report said, “given the potential
impact of these actions on vulnerable children.”
In October, the same office that issued the report said DHS, the department tasked with implementing the policy, “was not fully prepared to implement the administration’s zero tolerance policy or to deal with some of its after-effects. Faced with resource limitations and other challenges, DHS regulated the number of asylum-seekers entering the country through ports of entry at the same time that it encouraged asylum-seekers to come to the ports. During zero tolerance, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, also held alien children separated from their parents for extended periods in facilities intended solely for short-term detention.”
“Finally, DHS provided inconsistent information to aliens who arrived with children during zero tolerance, which resulted in some parents not understanding that they would be separated from their children, and being unable to communicate with their children after separation.”
“Refugee children belong to their parents, not to the government or other institution. To steal children from their parents is a grave sin, immoral (and) evil,” said San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller via Twitter. “Their lives have already been extremely difficult. Why do we (the U.S.) torture them even more, treating them as criminals?” he continued.
Bishop Daniel E. Flores of the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, also said via Twitter that “separating immigrant parents and children as a supposed deterrent to immigration is a cruel and reprehensible policy. Children are not instruments of deterrence, they are children. A government that thinks any means is suitable to achieve an end cannot secure justice for anyone.” ~ Catholic News Service
Join us in celebrating Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC’s 20th Anniversary in 2019!
Twenty years ago the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus noticed a need for immigration services in the Lower East Side and began offering any support they could. Over the past two decades CIS-NYC has grown into an organization that supports and advocates for hundreds of immigrant families each year, providing a range of vital services in the spirit of Mother Cabrini, Patron Saint of Immigrants.
Throughout the year we will be celebrating this milestone by releasing stories and photos from CIS-NYC community members and clients, each of which capture the spirit of our work. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter at @cisnyc, or Instagram at @cis.nyc to make sure you catch all of these beautiful stories as they are released! Please feel free to share so that others can learn more about our immigrant community members and the work we do. You can view our first two stories here: http://bit.ly/cisnyc20
P.S. As a 20th birthday gift to us, we are asking our supporters to commit to making monthly donations of $20 to our work. By becoming a monthly sustainer, you are helping to ensure that we can continue providing vital services, resources and advocacy for immigrant families! You can make a donation at this link: http://bit.ly/donatecis20