Periodically on Fridays I will share some words of wisdom from the founder of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace. Known in religion as Mother Francis Clare, Margaret Anna Cusack was a prolific writer in her day. She was also a strong advocate for justice, especially for people who were economically poor and those who found it necessary to migrate.
Whatever opinion many of us may have as to the cause of emigration, of the fact there is no question.
~ 1881 letter to Irish Bishops
She wrote these words in 1881 in a letter to the Irish Bishops. She was looking at the massive waves of emigration from the starvation of Ireland to the promise of America, and was concerned for the safety of the new immigrants, especially women, in a strange land. Her letter asked the Bishops to form an “Emigrants Aid & Protection Society” in conjunction with the American Bishops. Sadly, it seems they didn’t form such a society, but 3 years later Mother Francis Clare founded the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace. One of our first ministries was providing safe housing and services for immigrant women in New Jersey.
I am sure that she is smiling down upon her daughters today, very proud of the statement issued by our Congregation Leadership Team on the President’s executive action for immigrants.
The Leadership Team of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, want to express our appreciation for the actions taken last evening by President Obama to remove the threat of deportation for millions of families who have been living and working in the United States for years. It is past time that some action was taken for the many families who were living under the threat of immanent deportation. Most especially, it is important to end the fear of children that when they come home from school or work their parents may not be there.
It is our belief that the actions taken were well within the power of the President and will serve the best interests of this nation. His actions are measured and modest. We still see the need for a comprehensive plan to overhaul this nation’s broken immigration system. That is the work we hope to see congress take up in good faith and with compassion for all.
As Catholic Sisters and Associates we believe strongly in supporting families, and do all in our power to keep them together. Families, in all their contemporary varieties, are the basic cells of society and need to be protected. Families are created in love and it is in the family that the gift of love is first shared and eventually passed on to another generation. America needs strong families.
We have a great love for immigrants. Our sisters first came to the U.S. as immigrants 130 years ago to work with indigent immigrants already here. Many of our sisters serving here in the U.S are immigrants themselves. Today, our work joins us to the poor and marginalized, many of whom are immigrants.
We also believe that the gift of creation, Earth itself, is a gift that was given without borders. We are all one and should not let borders get in the way of realizing our oneness.
Immigrants have been a great blessing to the United States over its history and we have no doubt that today’s immigrants will continue that blessing. Economists tell us that they will be a help to our struggling national economy.
President Obama’s actions, though not helping all who are in the country without proper papers, will hopefully be a first step in welcoming all who are already here. In that hope, we give thanks to God.