Cabrini University’s Alumni Office partnered with the University’s Wolfington Center to host a Catholic Relief Services (CRS) alumni event called Global Justice On Tap: A discussion on women building peace in Rwanda. The event was held in The Cottage where guests enjoyed one another’s company over dinner, followed by a moving discussion with Pascasie Musabyemungu, Project Manager, CRS Rwanda, who led an informal discussion around her work with Women Building Peace Project Across Borders. This event is part of a series that welcomes back alumni who were and are interested in global justice issues as a way to keep alumni engaged in the mission of Cabrini for many years after they graduate.
Eleven Cabrini University students, one alumna, three faculty members and the Director of the Wolfington Center participated in an immersion trip to San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala over [the recent] Spring Break. The trip was led for an 11th year by Communications Professor Dr. Jerry Zurek and Romance Languages and Literatures Professor Dr. Raquel Green, as part of their Engagements with the Common Good course entitled “Working for
Justice in Guatemala”.
All participants spent the week working in the mornings on construction projects in and around San Lucas Tolimán, and being educated on the numerous initiatives of the San Lucas Mission to promote health, education and the empowerment of women in the region.
San Lucas Tolimán is a community of roughly twenty thousand people located on the southeastern edge of Lake Atitlán, which was once famously described by naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt as the “most beautiful lake on Earth.” It is located in an area of Guatemala that was ravaged during the thirty-five year Guatemalan Civil War, particularly during the early 1980s, when Blessed Father Stanley Rother of neighboring Santiago Atitlán was one of several Catholic priests murdered in the country. In San Lucas Tolimán, Father Gregory Schaffer also was threatened with death, and one of his closest workers in the Mission was disappeared in the same year.
Despite such ever-present violence and deeply entrenched material poverty, Father Greg was able to profoundly alter the conditions of the area by empowering lasting social change rooted in the needs as stated by the community. Today, nearly seven years after Father Greg’s death, the staff and long-term volunteers of the Mission work alongside numerous visiting groups to engage in projects that support basic material needs and also contribute to the communal and spiritual growth of the residents of the area.
“Working in the community really opened my eyes to the spiritual richness of the people of San Lucas Tolimán, which is what I will forever focus on instead of their material deprivation. I learned so much from each person about grace, dignity and respect,” said Dr. Todd Matthews, one of the faculty members on the trip.
In addition to San Lucas Tolimán, Dr. Ray Ward, Director of the Wolfington Center, Dr. Melissa González-Contreras and Dr. Matthews also had the opportunity to spend a day at the Dispensario Madre Cabrini in the town of Bárcena, close to Guatemala City and roughly three hours from San Lucas Tolimán. There they were able to meet with Sister Juanita of the Missionary Sisters, along with the Administrator of the Dispensario, Claudia Aceituno, and several members of the staff. They also saw the tremendous work being done by the Missionary Sisters and lay staff with the residents of Bárcena and surrounding villages. The Dispensario operates a medical clinic, provides psychological services, vocational training and a variety of other services such as a school and workshops that particularly aim to educate and empower women.
In the hillside village of El Tablón, a women’s center has been established, where roughly 1/3 of the women in the community regularly meet to learn about leadership and women’s rights along with providing social support to each other. Compared to San Lucas Tolimán, these efforts are in the nascent stage of development but are already having a significant impact on the lives of those in a community where most children are not able to go beyond a grade school education and many of them are married in their early teens.
Social change is slow and often frustrating, but the work done by the Missionary Sisters in Bárcena and all of the participants in the San Lucas Tolimán Mission is directly improving the lives of countless Guatemalans and is a powerful reminder of the beauty and impact of what Mother Cabrini started over a century ago. We may not change the world, but lives can be transformed, as we saw happening to ourselves and to the people in these two missions we were privileged to visit. ~ submitted by Dr. Todd Matthews
Spiritual Retreats are central to many immigrant faith traditions and Cabrini Retreat Center is privileged to welcome many immigrant groups. But, even with subsidized fees, the demands of daily life as an immigrant prevent many others from a traditional retreat experience.
Introducing Sr. Cathy Fedewa, CSFN
The desire to respond more widely to the needs of the immigrant community, led to Sr. Catherine Fedewa, CSFN, joining the staff at the Retreat Center as Coordinator of Immigrant Outreach and Advocacy.
Sr. Cathy takes the spirit of Cabrini beyond the door and into the community and brings back valuable insights.
A Sister of the Holy Family of Nazareth, Sr. Cathy comes to Cabrini with a wealth of experience. She serves on the Board of Bethany House of Hospitality for Women, is a member of Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants, and Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants. Tutoring a Chinese student through Aquinas Literacy Center and making regular visits to detained immigrants are now part of the outreach the Retreat Center provides through Sister Cathy’s passion for the immigrant community. [Read more…]
Sr. Norma Pimentel, a Missionaries of Jesus sister, made news on January 10th when she was invited to a roundtable discussion of border issues as President Donald Trump visited the U.S. southern border. She had invited him in a public letter the day before to visit the Humanitarian Respite Center she runs.
But Trump had dismissed that border visit beforehand as a waste of time and mere photo op, The New York Times reported. Pimentel’s presence at the roundtable was just that — she was in the audience, not at the table, and not allowed to speak. All those speaking praised Trump administration policies.
Yet behind Pimentel’s witness for more humanitarian treatment of asylum-seekers by the administration is a host of women religious who have traveled across the United States and Canada to volunteer at the border in recent months. The wave of volunteers comes in response to information and a call to help issued in October by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
At least 286 sisters have volunteered at the border, and congregations have sent more than $340,000 to the agencies working there, such as the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas, and Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas, and many others, said Sr. Carol Zinn, SSJ executive director of LCWR.
Zinn, a Sister of St. Joseph of Philadelphia, said those are only the volunteers and donations LCWR knows about, and that she woul
dn’t be surprised if the true number was more than 500 volunteers and more than $500,000 donated, and the volunteers and donations continue to flow south.
President Trump made a pitch for the wall in an address from the Oval Office Jan. 8, a speech the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas said in a statement was “rooted in untruths, fear and division.”
“Make no mistake, there is a humanitarian crisis on the border, but it is one of the Trump Administration’s own making,” the statement said.
It concluded: “We are at a pivotal moment in history, one that asks our nation to reflect and act justly upon what it truly means to welcome the stranger. Our faith demands that we not be on the wrong side of history.” To read the full account: https://www.globalsistersreport.org/news/ministry-migration/trump-visits-border-pimentel-and-other-sisters-keep-their-witness-55781 To read a related article: https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/building-bridges-border
The Vatican praised the adoption by more than 160 nations of a key agreement on global migration, saying today’s migration challenges are better tackled together than with “isolationist” stances.
The U.N. Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration “includes a comprehensive framework of best practices and policy instruments to increase international cooperation and sharing of responsibility in the governance of migration,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin, head of the Vatican delegation told government leaders.
The agreement, which is not legally binding, gives countries “the space to respond to their national circumstances and priorities, in full respect of international law and of the human rights of all migrants, regardless of their status,” he said at the gathering on December 10. [Read more…]
~ by Nuri Vallbona, Global Sisters Report
The stories and images are powerful. Delivered into living rooms nightly, they capture the faces of crying children and parents, panicked immigrants fleeing violence and anxious students facing deportation. [Read more…]
One of the many rallies held around the nation on June 30th to protest the separation of families who have crossed the border into the United States occurred in the sleepy village of East Quogue, in the Town of Southampton, NY. Organized by MoveOn.org. during the weeks following the news of the separation of children from parents, this peaceful rally attracted a few hundred people and some local politicians.
On this hot Saturday afternoon attendees gathered in the park carrying home-made signs and flags, and wearing T-shirts and other symbols of disagreement with the separation of children from parents. Surprising to me was that virtually all those present were apparently Caucasian, and that many came as familes with young children. Clearly it was a teaching moment for the parents who could be overheard explaining what it means to protest something, and how to conduct themselves during the speeches being delivered by a victim of the policy, a town official running for re-elction, and the organizers.
The Hamptons rely heavily upon new immigrant laborers for the many restaurants and resorts, as well as for lawn care and construction, among many other work opportunities. Recently, deli’s serving ethnic food have sprung up, and churches are welcoming laborers with services in Spanish. Immigration and other needed services are being offered, as well. Sadly, housing is a major issue: many were found camping in the woods through the winter months.
It was moving to see the white villagers and, maybe vacationers, out in support of uniting families, but it was concening that the population most affected was absent. Were they all working to keep lawns manicured, meals prepared and served, and homes cleaned on this sweltering Saturday? Were they afraid to gather in public? Maybe it was a combination of these and other motives. I’m glad we were there to represent ourselves, US citizens who know that our nation is above the the current policies coming out of the White House, and to represent them, the victims of the hate being disseminated by some. ~ by Patricia Krasnausky, President and CEO, Cabirni Eldercare
~ A National Catholic Reporter editorial
“If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you as required by law,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said during a speech to the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies May 7. “If you don’t like that,” he added, “then don’t smuggle children over our border.”
The subject of Sessions’ talk was not criminal gangs or human trafficking. He was talking about mothers and fathers seeking refuge from unrelenting violence and economic deprivation. He was talking about jailing parents for doing their duty to protect their children.
This was Sessions announcing the new “zero tolerance” policy for immigrants crossing illegally into the United States. We’re already seeing the effects: The number of minors in U.S. custody was 10,773 on May 29, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, an increase of about 2,000 minors in custody since the policy was announced.
Making family separation a point of government policy is unacceptable and immoral. For anyone purporting to hold and support family values it is abhorrent. On a policy level, it is ineffective: It deters no one and keeps no one safe.
As we have seen time after time with this administration, the policy was announced without being thoroughly thought through and with no planning. Border agents and child welfare agencies had no advancise warning. By early June, Homeland Security facilities to house minors were at capacity. On June 5, NBC News reported that of 550 children in detention in U.S. border stations, 300 of them had been in custody more than 72 hours — and nearly half of those are classified as “tender age children,” meaning under the age of 12. The New York Times found more than 100 children under the age of 4 have been separated from their families.
No law requires that migrant families be separated at the border. Previous administrations have treated this as an administrative, not criminal, issue. The Trump administration could to do the same but has chosen not to.
The United Nations human rights office said June 5 that the policy “is a serious violation of the rights of the child,” and called on U.S. authorities to adopt noncustodial alternatives. The ACLU has filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court in San Diego, calling for a halt to separations and for reunification of families.
As Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration, said in a statement June 1, “Family unity is a cornerstone of our American immigration system and a foundational element of Catholic teaching. … Rupturing the bond between parent and child causes scientifically-proven trauma that often leads to irreparable emotional scarring.”
To read the complete article: https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/editorial-family-separation-immoral-ineffective-policy
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) is deeply troubled by the decision of the Trump administration to terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for more than 57,000 Hondurans. Honduras is the seventh country whose citizens have been stripped of their right to protection by this administration.
“Rescinding TPS from human beings under continuing threat of violence of all types is inconsistent with the values and traditions of this nation and with our belief in the God-given dignity of all persons and their inalienable right to life,” said Carole Shinnick, SSND, interim executive director of LCWR.
The TPS program is designed to protect people from being returned to harm. That is precisely what Hondurans will face if they are forced to return to a country racked by violence, roiled by political repression, and plagued by continuing environmental challenges.
Hondurans have been contributing members of our communities for 20 years. They have raised families, paid taxes, and contributed to the growth and development of this country even as U. S. foreign policy has added to the endemic poverty and persistent violence that continue to afflict Honduras.
The cancellation of TPS for Hondurans brings to approximately 315,000 the number of our neighbors, friends, parishioners, co-workers, and colleagues whose gifts will be lost to us all. The short-sighted decision to rescind TPS protection for the citizens of Honduras, El Salvador, Haiti, Nepal, Liberia, Nicaragua, and Sudan places us all at risk. Ending their protection promises to tear families apart, fragment our communities, disrupt local economies, and places their well-being at risk.
Catholic sisters will continue to heed the scriptural command to welcome the stranger and care for those in need. We urge the Trump administration to reconsider its decisions and we call on Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to develop legislative solutions to protect vulnerable people. National Office, Leadership Conference of Women Religious
CURIA GENERALIZIA – MISSIONARIE DEL SACRO CUORE DI GESÙ 00135 ROMA
Feast of Mother Cabrini
Dear Sisters, Cabrini Lay Missionaries and Partners in Mission,
Rome, November 13, 2017
Happy Feast Day to all of you. This Centenary year celebrating Mother Cabrini’s passage from this life to the next has been one of tremendous grace. Let’s unite in thanksgiving for all of the wonderful consolations that the Sacred Heart of Jesus has given to us throughout this year.
May we be worthy of all that God has given to us and have the courage to collaborate with His desire for us, that we truly be Bearers of the Love of God to the World today. Now is the favorable time; we must continue to move towards the future with love, humility and missionary audacity.
It is with great joy that we also announce the founding on this date of the new Santa Francisca Cabrini Province that is comprised of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. The discernment for the major superior will take place November 25-27. I ask that we all join in praying for this new province, and offer my gratitude for the work that the sisters have done to bring about this new canonical entity. I am sure that our Mother Foundress, for whom the Province is named, will bestow on this province special help at this time of building something new for the good of the Institute and for the good of mission.
In this time of unprecedented human migration and displacement we must continue to look for ways of deepening our response to those who are without home or country. This is our charism. Let us work together with courage and energy to respond to the beginning of two new missionary endeavors; A house for refugees in Rome, and new mission in Uganda on the Sudanese border. It will take all of us together to make these missionary dreams become a reality.
The General Council and myself want to thank all of you for all that you do every day. Be assured of our pray, support and love as we together move towards the future in this favorable time in our MSC Institute.
United with you in the Heart of Christ,
Sr. Barbara Staley, MSC