News

Hospitality Brings Hope at Rose Haven

Families are regular guests at Rose Haven in Portland, OR, which offers a clothes closet, a food pantry and a noontime meal Mondays through Fridays. Guests have access to private showers and programs for children, including an annual back-to-school fair that provides school supplies and a holiday gathering that distributes brand-new gifts to children.

Like many other U.S. cities, Portland, OR is facing a housing crisis. Amid the dark clouds of homelessness, there exists a light of hope and help. Rose Haven, started in 1997 by Good Shepherd Sister Cathie Boerboom, provides a day shelter and community center for women and children experiencing poverty, trauma, and mental and physical health challenges.

From nearly the beginning, Holy Names Sister Judy Bertoli was a weekly volunteer. She spent several hours most Tuesdays as a welcoming presence of hospitality among Rose Haven guests, listening to their stories with a willing ear, enjoying their company with a gracious smile, and being a spiritual companion with a loving heart. Traveling an hour each way by bus into Northwest Portland, she brought a one-of-kind healing energy to guests and staff alike.

As a regular volunteer, Sister Judy saw the impact of Rose Haven’s ID Replacement Program and secured a grant from the SNJM Ministry Fund to support it. The women and children who frequent Rose Haven are among the most disenfranchised in the city. They experience isolation and invisibility on a daily basis. Lack of proper identification makes their problems worse.

Rose Haven guest Lynne knows first-hand how important the ID program is. Living outside, her possessions have been stolen, sometimes repeatedly. Without ID, she could not check into night shelter, utilize community clinic services or access the food bank. It is a challenge to replace identification, and the fees are more than a person experiencing poverty can afford.

Rose Haven helps guests like Lynne replace lost or stolen ID. The reinstatement of her ID quite literally reaffirmed her existence and transformed her life.

Thanks to the Sisters of the Holy Names and the support of donors to the SNJM Ministry Fund, Rose Haven provided 194 IDs or vital records in 2018 for women and children experiencing homelessness or abuse.

Sister Judy’s impact is felt by the women who can take their rightful place in society thanks to the center and its ID replacement program.

 

Sister Judy Bertoli has been sowing the seeds of hospitality and welcome at Rose Haven from its early days.

Sister Linda Haydock to Speak on Human Trafficking

Sister Linda Haydock, congregational leader of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, will give a talk about recognizing, understanding and working to end human trafficking in a public presentation on Sept. 27.

Sister Linda’s presentation in Marylhurst, OR will address where and how human trafficking takes place, progress that has been made and practical suggestions for influencing business practices to help bring about change.

As a global congregation, the Sisters of the Holy Names have maintained opposition to trafficking in women and children as a corporate stand – one of their principal commitments – since 2004. In collaboration with other religious congregations and nongovernmental organizations, they have advocated for policies and programs that address the prevention of trafficking and worked to provide alternatives for women and children in danger of being trafficked. Holy Names Sisters have supported training hotel and hospitality workers to recognize the signs of human trafficking, participated in silent vigils and been involved in many other public witness activities.

Sister Linda became the first executive director of the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center (IPJC) when it was formed in 1991 with the Sisters of the Holy Names as one of its founding congregations. Working to stop modern-day slavery is among IPJC’s major activities. After nurturing IPJC’s growth as a community-building force for systemic change for 26 years, in 2017 she became leader of her religious congregation. She is the recipient of the 2016 Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen Humanitarian Award.

Her talk is scheduled for 2:00 PM on Sept. 27 in the Chapel of the Holy Names, located in Mary’s Woods at Marylhurst, 17400 Holy Names Dr., Lake Oswego, OR. There is no cost to attend but space is limited. Please click here for details and to reserve seats by Sept. 19.

Public Statement on Gun Violence in Texas and Ohio

The violent attacks and loss of life in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH last weekend leave us shocked and saddened. We pray for the victims and their families and for all the people who are suffering because of these senseless and hateful acts.

We join our voices with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which once again has called for stronger measures to address gun violence. LCWR has spoken out against those who incite anger and fear, which too often results in mass killings. We too commit ourselves to action on behalf of all who are threatened by pervasive gun violence. One step has been to participate in shareholder resolutions that ask weapons manufacturers to identify ways they could limit fatal shootings and avoid negative impacts on human rights.

We pray for those whose thoughts turn to acts of violence, that they will recognize the evil of that choice and their freedom to choose instead the way of peace and respect for the life of every human being.

We share the following “Prayer for Peace:”

Philippians 4:4-7
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Sometimes words are not enough
to express the language of our hearts,
sometimes minds are filled
with prayers without expression.

Sometimes there are not enough
spare moments in each day,
sometimes regret is all
we have as our confession.

Sometimes faith is not enough
but in the presence of your peace,
sometimes prayer can be
a quiet conversation.

Sometimes words are not enough
to express the anguish on our hearts,
sometimes prayers are answered
that remain unspoken.

 

Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary
U.S.-Ontario Province Leadership Team
Mary Breiling, SNJM
Maureen Delaney, SNJM
Guadalupe Guajardo, SNJM
Margaret Kennedy, SNJM
Mary Rita Rohde, SNJM

What It’s Like to Accompany Migrants at the U.S. Border

By Mary Becker, SNJM and Mary Ondreyco, SNJM

Two Holy Names Sisters are among the many volunteers who have been serving guests of Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas. They recently returned and shared their experiences in this report.

Annunciation House has been accompanying migrant, homeless and economically vulnerable peoples of the border since 1978. Recently with the influx of people from Latin America, Annunciation House has set up nine centers to continue this outreach and support. The people of El Paso have responded generously by providing daily meals, laundry service, transportation to bus stations or airport, translation services and clothes and food donations. Through the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Annunciation House asked for religious Sisters and people affiliated with their communities to volunteer and help at the various centers. Many responded to this request. The Sisters of Loretto have provided housing for volunteers at their El Convento residence.

Ruben Garcia, the executive director of Annunciation House, has a working relationship with ICE. When the immigrants and asylum seekers are released daily from the Sub-Stations or Detention Centers, Ruben is notified and ICE buses then bring people to the Centers. The majority of people who arrive at our Center, Nazareth House, are fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries. They come with the clothes on their backs, worn shoes, hungry, thirsty, often carrying a baby or with young children prone to illness. Through all this they arrive with inner strength, hope, a desire to live in peace and to work and support their families.

All the guests had documents received from ICE that are their current ID. With these documents they can travel legally and are given a hearing date – usually within two weeks – where they need to appear in a federal court as part of the asylum process. At that hearing, depending on the judge, they could be allowed to continue the asylum process or they might be deported. 

We realize that the immigration issue in the U.S. is a very complex issue and we continue to read and discuss articles that help us to better understand this reality. Several articles we recommend are: “Moving ‘Beyond the Wall’: Immigration panel talks moral, practical solutions” (National Catholic Reporter, Feb.5, 2019) and these links to two articles: “The Ethics of Trump’s Border Wall” by Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin (New York Times, Jan. 30, 2019) and “Trump Does His Divisive El Paso Number” by Roger Cohen (New York Times, Feb. 8, 2019).

The receiving centers have 24-hour coverage by a site coordinator (7:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.) and by volunteers during the day and through the night. We worked the 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. shift each day and each of us took one night shift from 10:00 p.m.-7:00 a.m.   

During the day shift many things happened:

  • ICE officials brought those released from the processing centers to Nazareth House. Most days, two busloads of people arrived and the center accommodated up to 50 new arrivals along with the 40 or 50 others waiting for their departures to sponsors in various states.
  • Spanish-speaking volunteers helped with the intake procedure as well as welcoming the guests who weren’t quite sure where they were and who was helping them in this next step of the process. Water, snacks or a meal were provided and each new arrival was helped to select a change of gently used, clean clothing. Towels, toiletries, sheets, pillows and blankets were provided, and all enjoyed a hot refreshing shower.
  • Most meals were provided by El Paso volunteers but on several occasions we, the day volunteers, cooked and prepared the lunch or dinner for around 100 people. We always asked some of our guests to help us with the meal preparation, the serving of the meal and then the clean-up of the many pots and pans. The guests loved working with us in these activities.
  • Volunteers also aided in the general maintenance of the center – folding clean sheets, checking rooms, preparing snack bags for all traveling by bus or plane to their new locales and helping with medical needs or emergencies. (Nursing experience would have been helpful here!)

Before the volunteer time with Annunciation House, Mary O. participated in Capacitar workshops (holistic wellness practices) with people in Juarez and El Paso. Capacitar leaders have been working at the border for more than 10 years, and around 95 people participated in these workshops. The SNJM Ministry Fund provided funding for these workshops and for the planning of future workshops in border areas in El Paso and central and southern California.

On returning home and reflecting on our experiences, we are very grateful to the Holy Names community for your support, prayer and encouragement. We carried some of your donations with us and these enabled us to buy fresh salad, fruit and meat for the meals that we prepared for our guests. But most of all, we are grateful for the memories of the children and families, our guests, who left behind the violence and poverty of their home countries (as our own ancestors did) to start a new life here in the U.S., bringing with them much hope, spirit, determination and initiative.

Both Marys helping with serving dinner.

Guests in prayer.

Mary O. organizes clothing for guests’ travel.

Mary O. and guests clean up the kitchen.

Mary B and Sr. Alicia, SL, locate a guest’s family.

Cathy Olds, OP and Mary O. prepare intake packets.

Volunteers, Mary O. and Mary B. prepare dinner.

Public Statement in Support of DACA Dreamers

The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, U.S.-Ontario Province join with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other organizations outraged at today’s announcement, in expressing our deep sadness and disappointment that President Trump chose to discontinue protection of our 800,000 Dreamers through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

While we understand that Congress has several other tasks to attend to this session, because the window of opportunity is limited to six months, we urge Congress to take steps immediately to pass the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017. The Dreamers are integral to our society as members of our families, our neighbors, our students and friends. How can we stand by and watch them be expelled, banished to countries foreign to them? They are talented teachers in our schools, competent and compassionate caregivers in our retirement communities, our colleagues and employees. It is impossible to imagine our schools, local hotels, restaurants and businesses, our healthcare systems, armed services and first responders in emergencies without their leadership and skilled commitment.

Will we simply turn our heads in the face of another blatant decision supporting racism?

We strongly encourage all people committed to justice and respect for and love of neighbor to contact your congresspersons to urge them to ensure that the Dream Act of 2017 becomes law, write letters to editors and also join with others in prayer services and in local demonstrations in support of the 800,000 Dreamers and the Dream Act of 2017.

A Statement of Support for Immigrants and Asylum Seekers

The Sisters of the Holy Names of the U.S.-Ontario Province stand with the caravan of immigrants and asylum seekers from Central America coming to our U.S. border. We are appalled by President Trump’s inflammatory remarks concerning these families forced from their homes by extraordinary violence from gangs, insecurity and corruption in their countries. Families cannot live in this total fear without the hope of safety or sufficient income or a peaceful life.

We ask the U.S. Congress to challenge the president to uphold the values our country has practiced for generations of welcoming immigrants and sheltering asylum seekers. It is a human right to seek asylum. The president’s comments about these immigrants are disrespectful and often not true, i.e., saying these refugees include terrorists from the Middle East and that they are invading our country.

Now the administration is sending 5,200 troops to our southern border to stop this caravan of immigrants and asylum seekers. One retired military officer has declared that the military is deployed for war, not for assisting in apprehending immigrants. Why is the U.S. Congress letting the president basically declare war on families seeking to enter the U.S. to save their lives and to live in peace?

We urge the administration to withdraw all military troops from our border and to manage refugee arrivals humanely and in a manner that respects their dignity and rights under U.S. and international law. Specifically we ask:

  • Allow immigrants approaching our border to ask for protection in the U.S. and to be processed in a timely manner.
  • Ensure that asylum seekers have access to legal counsel and receive a fair resolution to their claim.
  • Guarantee that parents and children stay together while they seek asylum.

We must remember that the great majority of U.S. citizens’ ancestors have been immigrants. We want these current immigrants to have the same opportunity that our ancestors had.

For those of us who are Christians, we are reminded that Jesus clearly said we are to “welcome the stranger.” In today’s world, the strangers among us certainly include immigrants and refugees.

We urge all people of good will to contact your U.S. Congressional leaders to use their influence to stop our president’s current fear mongering and instead to allow immigrants and asylum seekers to cross the border and be humanely treated according to the laws of our country.

Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary
U.S.-Ontario Province Leadership Team

Maureen Delaney, SNJM
Mary Breiling, SNJM
Guadalupe Guajardo, SNJM
Margaret Kennedy, SNJM
Mary Rita Rohde, SNJM

Day of Service Honors Blessed Marie Rose

In the spirit of Blessed Marie Rose Durocher, people joined together on her feast day to witness to the mission she set in motion 175 years ago with the founding of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. Groups of Sisters, Associates, ministry partners, alumni, students, collaborators and friends planned activities on and around the SNJM Day of Service and Justice designated by the Congregational Leadership Team on Oct. 6, ranging from quiet prayers to advocacy for the needs of society and the Earth. In Seattle, WA, 13 Sisters and Associates gathered with members of other religious congregations, Holy Names Academy students and others to participate in an anti-human trafficking vigil held in downtown Seattle, organized each month by the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center. Members of Holy Redeemer Parish and students at St. Mary’s Academy in Portland, OR joined 19 Sisters who volunteered to cut fabric pieces for infant clothes, blankets and bibs. Mary Murphy, a St. Mary’s alumna and Holy Redeemer parishioner, sews the pieces for Mother & Child, formerly Birthright, a nonprofit that assists women and children in need. Meanwhile, Sisters Joan Flynn and Cathy Beckley joined a rally calling for an end to the contract between a regional Oregon prison and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. On the feast day, Sisters and Associates from the Yakima Mission Centre helped out at a food bank in Toppenish, WA. Every Saturday a lunch is served to people experiencing homelessness. In the Mid-Atlantic region, members of the congregation gathered to pray and write letters to legislators. Six members shared a prayer and read from Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ encyclical before heading for the Long Branch tributary to the Anacostia River to work on cleaning up the water before it flows into the Chesapeake Bay. Sisters, Associates and students at Holy Names schools in the Bay Area joined forces for several service projects as well as community-building activities. Holy Names University students played Blessed Marie Rose trivia and wrote cards to retired Sisters in the South Bay. On Oct. 5, students, alumni, staff and volunteers at HNU including Sisters Carol Nicklas and Carol Sellman worked alongside Holy Names High School students to clean up the area around Lake Merritt where the first Holy Names Sisters lived when they arrived in California 150 years ago. Holy Names High School celebrated Rose Week, with a special Mass on Oct. 3 that included an invitation for students to write their prayer intentions and place them in bowl to be taken to the altar. A celebration was held after Mass with a birthday cake for Blessed Marie Rose. Sisters in an assisted living center in Campbell, CA celebrated Blessed Marie Rose’s feast day with a prayer service created by Sister Aileen Carissimi. And on the other side of the country, in Albany, NY, a group of Holy Names Sisters, Associates and friends gathered in the former provincial administration building on Oct. 6 to celebrate with prayer and lunch. Sister Kay Burton decided to honor Blessed Marie Rose by joining a community group in cleaning trash and mowing the grounds of the Jonestown City Park in Jonestown, MS. The Holy Names Sisters have deep ties with the people in the area, where Holy Names health and education ministries date back to the 1980s.
Albany, NY celebrates Mother Marie Rose. L-R: Theresa Cecilia Lowe, SNJM, Marilyn Marx, SNJM, Bea Hall, SNJM and Shannon Lenet, Associate.
Albany Sisters celebrate feast day of Blessed Marie Rose.
Albany Sisters celebrate feast day of Blessed Marie Rose.
L-R: Mary Smith Galmore, City Clerk, Carlos Miles, Destiny Miles, Kay Burton, SNJM, Jamarjay Ewings, Andrew Magsby and Carrie Brooks.
Mid-Atlantic Sisters celebrate SNJM Day of Service and Justice. L-R: Carol Ries, SNJM, Sheila Wooters, Associate, Frankie Barber, SNJM, Carroll Ann Kemp, SNJM, Ann Marean, SNJM and Patricia Rogers, Associate.
Mid-Atlantic Sisters celebrate Mother Marie Rose. Clockwise, L-R: Kathleen Keller, SNJM, Frankie Barber, SNJM, Maria Faina, SNJM, Mary Ann Dunn, SNJM, Eileen Dunn, SNJM, Patricia Rogers, Associ- ate and Roberta Thompson, SNJM.
Oakland, California Christian Cahill, candidate, carries the cross in the Cathedral of Christ the Light.
Oakland, California Holy Names High School Choir performs at the Cathedral of Christ the Light.
Oakland, California Holy Names High School Choir performs at the Cathedral of Christ the Light.
Oakland, California Holy Names High School Choir performs at the Cathedral of Christ the Light.
Oakland, California SNJM seal plaque and Mother Marie Rose statue in the Cathedral of Christ the Light.
Oakland, California More than 400 people celebrated the 150th anniversary of SNJM ministries in California at a special Mass in Oakland on Oct. 6. Martha Rolley, SNJM and Kathryn Ondreyco, SNJM accompany Holy Names High School Choir at the Cathedral of Christ the Light.

Oakland, California
More than 400 people celebrated the 150th anniversary of SNJM ministries in California at a special Mass in Oakland on Oct. 6.
Martha Rolley, SNJM, Kathryn Ondreyco, SNJM and Nicki Thomas, SNJM accompany Holy Names High School Choir at the Cathedral of Christ the Light.

Oakland, California Holy Names High School banner carried during the processional at the Cathedral of Christ the Light.
Oakland, California Maureen Delaney, SNJM addresses the congregation at the Cathedral of Christ the Light.
Oakland, California More than 400 people celebrated the 150th anniversary of SNJM ministries in California at a special Mass in Oakland on Oct. 6. Sisters walk in the processional at Cathedral of Christ the Light.
Oakland, California Sisters carry the SNJM seal in the processional at the Cathedral of Christ the Light.

More than 400 people celebrated the 150th anniversary of SNJM ministries in California at a special Mass in Oakland on Oct. 6.

Miriam Malone, SNJM addresses the congregation.

More than 400 people celebrated the 150th anniversary of SNJM ministries in California at a special Mass in Oakland on Oct. 6.

Statuette of Mother Marie Rose at the Mass.

More than 400 people celebrated the 150th anniversary of SNJM ministries in California at a special Mass in Oakland on Oct. 6.

Associate Carrie McClish addresses the congregation.

More than 400 people celebrated the 150th anniversary of SNJM ministries in California at a special Mass in Oakland on Oct. 6.
Rosemary Delaney, SNJM addresses the congregation.

More than 400 people celebrated the 150th anniversary of SNJM ministries in California at a special Mass in Oakland on Oct. 6.
More than 400 people celebrated the 150th anniversary of SNJM ministries in California at a special Mass in Oakland on Oct. 6. Miriam Malone, SNJM and Martha Rolley, SNJM after the Mass in Oakland.
More than 400 people celebrated the 150th anniversary of SNJM ministries in California at a special Mass in Oakland on Oct. 6. Maureen Delaney, SNJM, Margaret Kennedy, SNJM and Elizabeth Liebert, SNJM walk in the processional at Cathedral of Christ the Light.
More than 400 people celebrated the 150th anniversary of SNJM ministries in California at a special Mass in Oakland on Oct. 6. Cheryl Milner, SNJM and Patti Doyle, SNJM walk in the processional at Cathedral of Christ the Light.
More than 400 people celebrated the 150th anniversary of SNJM ministries in California at a special Mass in Oakland on Oct. 6. Sisters and Associates address the congregation at Cathedral of Christ the Light.

Oakland, California

L-R: Marcia Frideger, SNJM (holding flowers), Linda Orrick, SNJM (back left, yellow shirt), Carrie Mc- Clish, Associate (next to Sr. Linda), Marilyn Lewellyn Mackinnon, Associate (pink sweater, second row), Rosemary Brennon, Associate (behind Marilyn), Sophia Park, SNJM (seated, next to Marilyn), Carol Sellman, SNJM (pink sweater, right side), Carol Nick- las, SNJM (holding flowers) and Mary Scott, Associ- ate (far right, standing).

Oakland, California

Associates Marilyn Mackinnon and Carrie McClish.

Oakland, California

Birthday cake for Blessed Marie Rose.

Oakland, California, Lake Merrit Cleanup Carol Nicklas, SNJM

Oakland, California, Lake Merrit Cleanup

Bottom: Carol Nicklas, SNJM and Carol Sellman, SNJM (far left in red shirts) with the HNU and HNHS volunteers.
Portland, Oregon Portland Sisters Cut Baby Blankets and Clothes for Service Day L-R: Sharon Collver, SNJM and Kathleen Hilton, SNJM.
Portland, Oregon Portland Sisters Cut Baby Blankets and Clothes for Service Day Phyllis Jaszkowiak, SNJM and Mary Anne Jungblut, SNJM cut fabric for SNJM Day of Service and Justice.
Portland, Oregon Portland Sisters Cut Baby Blankets and Clothes for Service Day L-R: Marilyn Nunemaker, SNJM, Anne Marie Rotter, SNJM, Mary Murphy and Vivian Ripp, SNJM.
California Sisters Celebrate Feast Day at the Villages Back row, L-R: Mary Leo Grijalva, SNJM (partially blocked from view), Marie Kronheimer, SNJM and Lynn Gutteridge, SNJM. Front row, L-R: Miriam Henry Hussey, SNJM, Cathe- rine Nessi, SNJM and Joan Frances Ortega, SNJM.
California Sisters Celebrate Feast Day at the Villages L-R: Michaeline Falvey, SNJM, Joan Bourdon, SNJM, Gail Milholland, SNJM, Jean Elizabeth Griffin, SNJM, Gerrie Will, SNJM, Collette Carroll, SNJM and Aileen Carissimi, SNJM.
Seattle L-R: Linda Riggers, SNJM, Anne Herkenrath, SNJM, Mary Annette Dworshak, SNJM, Lydia Nikolaisen, SNJM, Judy Ryan, SNJM, Georgia Yianakulis, SNJM, Teresa Shields, SNJM, Shelagh Lustig, Associate and Sue Wildermuth, Associate.
Seattle L-R: Lydia Nikolaisen, SNJM, Anne Herkenrath, SNJM (both seated) and Mary Annette Dworshak, SNJM (next to them in red coat). Behind banner, L-R: Monica Moffatt, SNJM (turquoise coat), Christopher Shelley, Associate, Sue Wildermuth, Associate, Geor- gia Yianakulis, SNJM, Iva Gregory, OP, Linda Rig- gers, SNJM, Teresa Shields, SNJM, Jocie-Rhea Chism, SNJM (partially obscured with umbrella), Shelagh Lustig, Associate. Front row: Judy Ryan, SNJM (with cup in front of banner).


Sokane, Washington

Bhutanese cooks prepare meal for the feast day of Mother Marie Rose.


Spokane, Washington

Brother Jackson Lino leads children’s choir.

Yakima, Washington
L-R: Cecilia Chavez, Associate and Charlyne Brown, SNJM.

Yakima, Washington Associate Maureen O’Brien.

Yakima, Washington

L-R: Marina Rose Parisi, SNJM, Nino Vijarro, SNJM and Janie Vijarro, SNJM.

Students’ Justice Focus Renewed by SNJM Experience

Forty students from three nations came together in July for the SNJM Youth Justice Forum, an intensive week of study and service inspired by the legacy and spirit of the Sisters of the Holy Names.

All 40 girls, who attend SNJM-affiliated schools throughout the U.S., Canada and Lesotho, were included in the surprise announcement of Holy Names University‘s Marie Rose Durocher Youth Justice Leadership Scholarship awarding them four years of full undergraduate tuition at the university, which hosted the gathering.

It was the fourth SNJM Youth Justice Forum, which connected the students with Sisters and lay people who led them in an exploration of the Sisters’ corporate stands on the right to clean water, against human trafficking and for the human rights of migrants and refugees. The girls participated in service projects throughout the city of Oakland, helped to clean Lake Merritt as part of their study on water (pictured above) and visited the Oakland Museum.

They listened to a panel of Holy Names Sisters and Associates, including Sisters Joan Doyle, Fran Kearney, Mary Haupt, Anna Keim and Mary Rogers and Associates Marilyn Mackinnon and Mary Scott. Each of the panelists shared their experiences of the SNJM charism and thoughts on the future of religious life.

The students left the forum grateful and renewed in their work towards justice. All of the groups will return to their schools to carry out a service project that they discussed and planned during the forum.

In a Facebook video filled with messages of appreciation, many of the students spoke about how deeply they were affected by their experiences with the Sisters.

“It means so much to us, and I think that by recognizing the love and devotion you have to all of the corporate stands, we ourselves will be able to bring that love back into our communities,” said a student from St. Mary’s Academy in Portland, OR.

“It has brought a light out of me, and it has brought a change,” said one of the students from Lesotho. “ …I am indeed saying that I am going to take matters into my own hands. I am going to act and I’m going to bring change to other people.”

Click here to visit the SNJM Youth Justice Forum Facebook page.

Silent Witness in Support of Migrants and Refugees

Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, Associates and staff took to the streets on July 7, 2018 to show support for immigrants to the U.S., especially the families of desperate asylum-seekers.During their five-day Chapter meeting in Portland, OR, the Holy Names Sisters and their allies prayed and called on U.S. leaders to respect the human rights of all people, and also repeated their call for the U.S. government to immediately reunite children separated from their parents by ICE on the southern border.

“People legally seeking asylum on our southern border primarily from Central America travel a long distance from their home countries at considerable risk. They seek to live in peace, without fear of gangs abducting their children, without the fear of innocent family members being arbitrarily killed sometimes by the military in their own countries,” Sister Maureen Delaney said in a recent public statement. “What has happened to our moral compass as a country? What has happened to the family values that the White House says it upholds?”

The Sisters have repeatedly called on their members of Congress to abide by the teachings of Jesus and to heed the word of God in the Bible: “The stranger among you shall be to you as the native among and you shall love them as yourself for you were once aliens in the land of Egypt.” (Lv 19:34) Our faith requires us to welcome the stranger and to offer compassionate care to those who are forced to flee their home countries because of persecution or violence. We call on Congress to do the same.

Don’t Separate Families at the U.S. Border

The Sisters of the Holy Names of the U.S.-Ontario Province strongly disagree with the new policy of the Trump Administration that tears children away from their parents who are seeking asylum on the southern U.S. border. Asylum seekers from Central America travel a long distance from their home countries at considerable risk because they want to live in peace, without fear of gangs abducting their children and senseless killings of innocent people, oftentimes by the military in their own countries.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said, “We don’t want to separate families, but we don’t want families to come to the border illegally and attempt to enter this country improperly.” However, the United States for many years has managed to provide asylum hearings to parents without dividing families. The Trump Administration has created a crisis for unaccompanied children by taking more than 700 minors from their parents between October 2017 and mid-April. The new administration policy is to not let any asylum seekers into the country on our border with Mexico. We find it extremely inhumane that families fleeing to our country for asylum are being cruelly wrenched apart once they cross our border.

There are also reports that between 1,000 and 1,500 unaccompanied children who made the hazardous journey to the U.S. without their parents cannot be accounted for by government agencies that have responsibility for them.

What has happened to our moral compass as a country, and what has happened to the family values that the White House supposedly upholds? It might be a good time to remind this administration and all U.S. Christians that Jesus said, “Whatever you do to the least of these, you do also to me.”

We strongly urge President Trump and all members of Congress to stop the inhumane policy of forcing apart children and their parents as families seek asylum with our country.

U.S.-Ontario Province Leadership Team
Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary