Presentation Sisters’ Justice Commission:  Sisters Gabriella Crowley, Kathleen Bierne and Pat Prunty.

Presentation Sisters’ Justice Commission: Sisters Gabriella Crowley, Kathleen Bierne and Pat Prunty.

An editorial article written by the Presentation Sisters’ Justice Commission: Sisters Kathleen Bierne, Pat Prunty and Gabriella Crowley

DATE:   January 13, 2016

When we arrived in Dakota Territory in 1880, we came as immigrants and were hosted and welcomed by the Lakota People. The blizzard of 1880-1881 caused the Sisters’ sod hut to collapse, resulting in the Lakota’s generosity to share their blankets and food. This experience led our early pioneer Sisters to experience themselves as neighbors, receiving compassion and hospitality from their hosts! Soon, the people of French, Irish, German and other European immigrants made up the diversity of the Sisters’ ministries. As we adapted to the influx of immigrants in the 20th century and remembering the compassionate hospitality of our Lakota sisters and brothers, we are compelled to “PAY IT FORWARD” by embracing the diversity of cultures and offering a welcoming spirit to the new migrants.

The cycle of migration continues today; thousands are fleeing war, persecution, famine and homelessness. People from Central America and the Middle East are often desperate to escape drug wars, insurrections and economic depravity. For example, as of August, 2015, the murder rate in El Salvador was 96 per 100,000 inhabitants, making it the most dangerous country in the world! Daily, we see images on the evening news of Syrian refugees dying on their journey to safety or walking hundreds of miles over perilous terrain or risking their lives by travelling in unsafe and overcrowded boats with the hope of reaching a land that will welcome and receive them with dignity.

How does one respond? Are we responding with compassion and hospitality? The gesture of hospitality goes beyond the human response of fear; it requires our nation to acknowledge that God dwells in and cares for every person, NO EXCEPTIONS. We indeed are all sisters and brothers to one another, children of God by whatever name we call the Source of all Being. Our Sioux Falls Hispanic Ministry, Caminando Juntos, welcomes and accompanies the new immigrants through difficult times. Our Aberdeen Hispanic Ministry is partnering with other faiths to welcome the refugees. We do what we can.

We join with Pope Francis in challenging our state and national leaders to be guided by the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In his speech to the U.S. Congress, Pope Francis reminds us that “Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us. The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.”

Your U.S. Senators need to hear from you that you oppose H.R. 4038 and other bills that would stop or halt the resettlement of vetted Syrian and Iraqi refugees and their families fleeing violence and death.