Written by: Sister Pat Murphy, RSM
June 10, 2013
The warm temperature of El Paso could not compare to the
warm welcome we received on this beautiful day in June. Initially, we were
greeted by religious and lay women of the area with signs, applause and many
hugs. I saw some faces I knew, and many women who knew people from Chicago connected
to our advocacy work for immigration reform.
Following that warm welcome, we were provided with a
delicious dinner at a restaurant in El Paso. New women, religious sisters and
lay women, joined us at the restaurant – more welcomes and more hugs.
Our next stop was St. Pius X Catholic Community. Here, a
program entitled “Together on the Journey” was presented. The first speaker
representing the city of El Paso read a proclamation naming this week “NETWORK
Nuns on the Bus Week.
There also were talks by congressional Representatives and a
county judge. The sheriff spoke and proudly stated that El Paso has been the
safest city in the U.S. for the past three years and he continued – because of
500,000 law-abiding persons.
The stories shared this evening were very moving. One
narrative in particular was the story of a young woman from the Philippines who
was teaching in a Catholic school. She initially had a work visa and then
obtained a religious visa, which was not renewed because teaching in a Catholic
school was not considered religious work. The story has a happy ending,
however. Thanks to the Sisters of Charity, who accompanied her every step of
the way, she now has her green card and a driver’s license (an amusing story).
The story of this young woman is just one more example of our broken
immigration system. But it is also a beautiful and touching story of religious
women standing in solidarity with our immigrant sisters and brothers.
The day was a long one, but a
powerful one I’ll not forget.