Community Conversation: Sisters on the Border
July 21, 2021
On June 29, 2021, NETWORK hosted a community conversation with the “Sisters on the Borders.” Sr. Doreen Doreen, CSJ, and Sr. Patrice Patrice, CSJ engaged in conversation and shared their experiences.
Sr. Doreen began by mentioning a question she received prior to this conversation. The question was, “How did I become involved in this work?” Sr. Doreen expressed her gratitude for this question as it helped her reflect on her many years of service. She later went on to speak about her experience after Vatican II and how that time pushed her toward direct service. She visited jails, volunteered in homeless shelters, and taught ESL in Spanish-speaking communities. Sr. Doreen said when speaking about her work, “My commitment to living the Gospel led me to this.”
Sr. Patrice spoke next and also shared Sr. Doreen’s experience of reflecting prior to this conversation. Sr. Patrice spoke about her work with refugees in Cambodia, the border of Sudan and Ethiopia as well as Haiti. Sr. Patrice explained that all refugees want to stay in their home countries but their home is no longer safe for them for a variety of reasons including environmental concerns, gang violence, or government mismanagement. Sr. Patrice also joined other Sisters and volunteers in El Paso, Texas to assist migrants. She explained that one, “had to be open to what the needs were.”
With her most recent work in San Diego, CA, Sr. Patrice expressed her gratitude for the different organizations that came together regardless of background to assist refugees. She was also aware of the fact that refugees’ arrival in the states is just the beginning of their journey and that they face many challenges in the immigration process in the United States.
The latter half of the evening was led by Ronnate Asirwatham, NETWORK’s Government Relations Director, who took to explain immigration policies that the Sisters discussed such as Title 42 and MPP(Migrant Protection Protocols) After Ronnate explained these policies, viewers were given reflections questions to discuss in the breakout rooms. These questions included, “What has been your experience with immigration in your community?” “How have certain policies or laws impacted the situation at the border?” “What narratives about immigration do you hear in general? How do those compare to your experience?”
If you would like to learn more or re-watch this conversation, find the recording on NETWORK’s YouTube channel.