Dominican Associate, Kathleen Friend, witnessed the immigrant/refugee crisis in Mexico with her own eyes on a recent volunteer/immersion trip near the Mexican border. “It impressed me that no matter where we went there were religious sisters involved,” said Kathleen. “You know the way the church is: Women aren’t allowed to preach, yet they are the ones doing the preaching — by what they do.”
The sites she visited were challenging. Kathleen saw one of the areas where asylum seekers wait to apply for asylum called “tent cities” It was full of make-shift tarp shelters, running children, and mud. She met a 96-year-old Carmelite priest named Peter and 88-year-old Sister of Mercy Betty who ministers in Juárez, a deadly city in Mexico where ten women are murdered each day.
She volunteered at Annunciation House, which expanded recently adding warehouse space to hold the 1,000 people a day, now down to 200, who enter the country and are waiting for their sponsors to send money or transportation tickets. She said that she learned that soccer balls were taken away from the children in a detention camp because the children were writing messages on them and kicking them over the wall. She also said families are still being separated, not parents, but grandparent caretakers from their grandchildren.
From this trip, Kathleen is ignited with the hope that new leadership will help to fix these disparaging issues.