Skip to content

JPIC Bits Around the Region

 Sister Dani Brought, ASC

By Sr. Dani Brought, ASC

Connections at the border and beyond

Sister Dani, Jennifer, and Brad

For a short but seemingly long week, I joined together with Brad Wolf, of Peace Action Network of Lancaster and author of A Ministry of Risk, Philip Berrigan and Jennifer Harbury, human rights lawyer and long-standing activist, at the US/Mexico border in the South Texas region.

During this time, I heard stories of the horrific experiences of migrants on their journey north towards the hope of a better life. We visited three different sites in Reynosa, Mexico, giving shelter to almost 4,000 persons. The sense of safety and welcome inside these shelters was like a warm blanket wrapping around those who had made the journey this far. Amidst an overwhelmingly tough and violent climate in the region around Reynosa, the faith filled leaders coordinating these shelters showed a strong tenacity, courage, and commitment expressed in a deep hope for those who were welcomed and then sent on to continue their journey. We also had the opportunity to meet with three different organizations providing services on the US side of the border, including the Respite Center in McAllen, directed by Sr. Norma Pimentel.

Beds at the Shelter

Casa de Migrante

Each encounter led me to ask “what keeps you going in this abysmal situation?” and “what can I/we do back in our homes?” Hope was the word used by everyone…hope in seeing another family being able to cross over to the US as asylum seekers, hope in being able to provide a bit of comfort for those who have suffered much, hope even in knowing that although these efforts may only be scratching the surface of the complex immigration problem, they do help someone, this person and that is what it means to give dignity to our dear neighbor. For us of the ASC family they counseled, continue to be open and aware of the immigration situation, continue to advocate for policy changes that promote a more just and humane immigration system, continue to be hope filled in helping the persons who are around you, even when it seems like little and continue to pray…putting all in God’s hands.

Sometimes a small act can mean the world for someone else. On the way home, as I was waiting for my connecting flight in Philadelphia, a woman gestured to me asking which bathroom she was to use. I found out she was from Haiti and having migrated up through the Americas, we were able to communicate in Spanish, in which she said the two words seemed the same…men/women. After a stop in the indicated place and a laugh together, I met her husband and two-year-old son and we discovered that we had all been at the Catholic Charities respite center on the same day and were traveling on the same three flights together. Over the next few hours we shared conversation, cookies, and company until the time for parting ways arrived. As they traveled on to Harrisburg and I to Columbia, our time together ended in hugs and a shout out “Tia, Tia” from the young child to whom he considered his newly adopted aunt! A small gesture that opened to a connection of welcome and care and delight with and among our “dear neighbor.”

Inside Casa de Migrante

Where do you find your connections today?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *