El Paso, TX - Voices from Annunciation House

Annunciation House Lives a Gospel Spirit!

Written by Sr. Gail Young, SSS

June 11, 2013

As the Sisters and I reflected on the reading of Joel this morning during our prayer time, the words that stood out for me were “Be not afraid” and “God is among you” because they bring a deep comfort to me as we lift up the work of the people who are on the frontlines and bring attention to the stories we will hear today. All throughout the day, these words were with me.

We arrived with a gracious welcome at Annunciation House by the wonderful volunteers, faith leaders, and Mr. Ruben Garcia who is the founder and director of this amazing volunteer-run nonprofit organization. The Annunciation House truly lives out their mission statement, which states:

“In a Gospel spirit of service and solidarity, we accompany the migrant, homeless, and economically vulnerable peoples of the border region through hospitality, advocacy, and education. We place ourselves among the poor so as to live our faith and transform our understanding of what constitutes more just relationships between peoples, countries and economies.”

 Mr. Garcia introduced the five speakers today including Sr. Simone Campbell: Sister Lourdes Lopez, DMRS, working with the unaccompanied minors; Guillermina, who is a Mexican Political Asylum-seeker; Sra. Maria Luz, who gave her talk on what it is like to be a Social Security Widow; and the last speaker, who was anonymous, named Maria. She covered her face with dark sunglasses and a sheet over her head. She stated, “It is sad to live in the shadows and that we need comprehensive immigration reform now.”

It was heartrending to me to hear the continuous violence that goes on in Mexico. It brought tears to my eyes when I listened to a story from a mother. Guillermina’s two brothers were both killed in Mexico just a matter of days from each other, by organized crime groups. This led Guillermina and the rest of her family to flee to El Paso. They were denied two times before they were accepted to seek asylum. She and her family have been staying at the Annunciation House where they are given hospitality and support. In 2012, 9,206 sought asylum but only 126 cases were granted. Guillermina believes that if she would had stayed in her country, she may not have lived to share her story with us today. How many others have devastating experiences like Guillermina?

We gave the ladies hugs and told them we won’t forget them and will work hard to advocate for them. We will continue to raise our hands and voices for just, comprehensive immigration reform now!

For more information about the Annunciation House, please visit www.annunciationhouse.org.