Humanitarian Crisis on the Border

Feb 19, 2020 | News & Events

Sr. Ellen Dabrieo, SNDdeN shared this brief account about the Border Project.

Sisters Marie Ann Prefontaine and Gerry Stanton meet the Children in the waiting area of the new Resource Center.

In 2018, The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) asked Religious Congregations in the United States to consider investing time, personnel and finances in ministries for assisting people caught in this humanitarian crisis on the southern border of the United States.

The Sisters in the US East-West Unit (EW), responding to a call from our Unit Leadership and reflecting through visioning sessions, supported the possibility of short-term service for asylum seekers on the US southern border.

The EW Leadership Team called for a fact-finding group to investigate the possibility of this ministry. Sisters Ellen Dabrieo, Judith Flahavan, Betsy Flynn and Mary Alice McCabe went to San Antonio, Texas for about a month in November-December 2018. They met with other women religious serving there, spent a week at the Catholic Charities Respite Center in McAllen, TX and drew up a plan for this ministry.

We read stories and tried to do something educational with them.

The Unit Leadership Team approved their plan to work with teams of SNDdeN at the Respite Center, and that each person be responsible at different times for a team who would work with the asylum seekers.

Since February 2019, about 40 Sisters of the EW Unit have served first at the Respite Center and now, since August 2019, they serve the needs of those migrants, who, under a new US policy, have been returned to the border town of Matamoros, Mexico. These SNDdeN reside in Alamo, TX, in a trailer rented from the Sisters of Mercy.