July 31, 2014

Humanitarian Crisis at the U.S. Border – and a Mercy Response (Americas)

Cries of tragedy, war, suffering continue to dominate world news. In the U.S. an ongoing humanitarian crisis is visible daily at the border between the United States and Mexico.

For several months a startling increase in the number of unaccompanied minors (persons under 21 years of age) has been taking place. In recent weeks care and compassion of these children has been met with hatred and movement of deportation. The United States Catholic Bishops are calling for a compassionate and humane response to these children.

 Anne Murphy rsm (pictured right) responded to an email invitation sent by the Institute Justice Team and joined 46 other Sisters of Mercy on a conference call with staff members of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops. While on the call, she heard the voice of Sister Suzanne Soppe (institute of the Americas, West Midwest Community and ministering at St. John’s Hospital in California). Later, Sr Anne learned from Suzanne that over 600 children are being housed at a military base in Ventura County, California, less than 3 miles from where the Sisters of Mercy co-sponsor a hospital. Through Suzanne, Anne connected with an organization seeking items especially for 13 year-old young teenagers. Anne, as a former school principal and junior high school teacher, has a “preferential option” for this age group because they easily get lost as persons tend to give wholeheartedly to smaller and younger children.

Anne sent a note to sisters and staff on the Burlingame campus where she works, describing the plight of the teenagers and asking for donations for this age group.. Liz Dossa, local director of communications then sent the request across the West Midwest Community. To date, Anne has received over $1,000 in cash and the promise of the San Francisco Jesuit pastor to take up a second collection for the children. Additionally, Anne’s office is full of donated clothes, games, sports equipment, toiletries. Many of the items show the loving attention of donors who sent special notes for the children and teenagers.

When asked why this is important to her, Anne said, “When I think of what these kids have gone through, I cry. I can’t imagine what it is for a parent to send kids away from home for their safety. When I pray I think about them.”

How can you help?

Join in the Institute's call for prayer.

Advocate with the Sisters of Mercy to call for action in addressing this crisis.

This base holds 13-17 year olds and those in charge are extremely restrictive on the items they will receive for the young people. The following items are permitted:
• sensitive skin toiletries, group based games and sports equipment like soccer balls
• Books and music in Spanish
• Batteries

Financial contributions will assist Sr Anne to purchase permitted items (see above). If you, your community, ministry, family or friends wish/are able to contribute, then you can do that online here or in person or by mail to:

Sisters of Mercy West Midwest
7262 Mercy Road
Omaha, NE 68124
Send an Email

Thumbnail Image: Border Wall, Brownsville, Texas. Public domain (2009)

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