SSND Shalom Border Experience 2014
Top left: Members of the SSND Shalom North America committee pray on the Arizona side of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
SSNDS participate in border immersion experience
The School Sisters of Notre Dame community in Douglas, Arizona, is hosting eight international SSND Shalom representatives from Canada, Rome and the United States Oct. 18-22 and leading them in a short immersion and exploration into the complex issues of immigration in this borderland.
In a context of prayerful reflection, highlights of this “life at the border” experience include meetings with local community leaders, as well as immigration attorney Margo Cowan and Lupe Castillo, a professor at Pima Community College, both of Tucson.
The Shalom participants include Sisters Eileen Reilly, Roxanne Schares, Jeanne Wingenter, Rose Mary Sander, Carol Ann Prenger, and Charmaine Krohe, all SSNDs, as well as Mr. Tim Dewane and Sister Arlene Flahery, OP. The members of the SSND community in Douglas are Sisters Lucy Nigh, Judy Bourg and Christine Garcia.
Touring, praying along US-Mexico border
In Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico, the SSND group met with migrants at a resource center and a shelter; visited a maquila factory (a manufacturing operation in a free trade zone); met members of the coffee cooperative, Café Justo; ate lunch at a women’s garden and sewing cooperative; and accompanied representatives from an organization that fills water tanks in the desert of Mexico, near the border wall.
The group toured the Douglas Border Patrol station and attended a session of “Streamline” at the DeConcini Federal Court House in Tucson. They participated in the Douglas weekly interfaith Healing Our Borders vigil, where prayers are said for the 260 migrants whose bodies have been recovered in Cochise County. (The names are a compilation from the 14 years that this prayer vigil has been taking place.)
Promoting human dignity, care of Earth
Inspired by Sacred Scripture, the Social Doctrine of the Church, and congregational documents, the School Sisters of Notre Dame established Shalom, an international network for justice, peace, and the integrity of creation in 1992. Through Shalom, SSNDs take actions which lead to reconciliation, solidarity with the oppressed, promotion of human dignity and care of Earth.
Within a context of prayer and reflection, representatives of the global and North America Shalom Network are meeting in Douglas to learn more about immigration and border issues, review SSND efforts to respond to the signs of the times, and strategize opportunities to engage themselves and others in addressing pressing social justice concerns.
As members of an international congregation, we recognize our obligation and opportunities to develop a world vision and a sense of global responsibility. Our internationality challenges us to witness to unity in a divided world. In accord with church teaching and directives, we work actively, especially in our local situations, to eliminate the root causes of injustice in order to realize a world of peace, justice, and love."
Excerpted from the Constitution of the School Sisters of Notre Dame.
- By Sister Lucy Nigh, SSND