By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC

On Sunday afternoon, I went for a walk in nearby Tower Grove Park to ponder the powerful and challenging homily our pastor had given about “sheltering the oppressed and homeless,” a phrase from the prophet Isaiah from the first reading for the day.

On my stroll through the park, I encountered a family of immigrants and welcomed them to the United States. One of the teen-age girls understood enough English to tell me that they were from Syria. I watched their eyes as we tried to communicate and saw reactions from fear, apprehension, relief and gratitude. I simply wanted to let them know that many Americans welcome them.

After two weeks of turmoil, alternative facts, confusion, marches, protests, and signing petitions, the fabric of the country is frayed, tattered and worn.

  • Why should Catholics and Catholic Sisters care about the situation and get involved in trying to keep up with all the letters and petitions flooding social media?
  • Why sign on and sign up?
  • Why march?
  • Why try to mend the social structure?

The un-ease and dis-ease gnaws at and rends our spirits.

The answer has always been with us, right in front of us. It’s the gospel message; it’s the person of the Risen Christ calling us and urging us to tend to the threadbare patches in society where the weak, vulnerable, and outcasts try to hang on to dignity, human worth, and survival.

It is our Adorers charism of making the Paschal Mystery live today as we go where need touches our hearts.

This is not easy. We can expect resistance and opposition from some people with differing views, ideas, and values. Such a stance moves us way beyond politics and into God’s care and compassion for every person, every snippet of creation. We find ourselves in a place where we are meant to be, even if we are uneasy, even scared, about being there.

That Syrian family will get tucked into my daily prayer for immigrants, refugees, the lost and homeless.

They said they want to return to their country when it is safe. I wished them peace as we ended our brief encounter, a meeting that has made the “plight of immigrants” more real than I expected.