Alleluia! We Have Seen Our Savior
By Lincoln S., director of Mercy Associates – South Central Community
This past month, a small group of Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Associates joined others for an immersion, service-learning experience along the U.S.-Mexico border. I recall the faces and the stories of the women and men we met—mostly homeless, mentally ill, hungry, sick, alone, or afraid. In a sort of holy restless way, their images continue to haunt me. I pray that the tenderness with which each of us tried to meet human suffering offered consolation to these our struggling sisters and brothers. Human trafficking, border safety, immigration reform, healthcare, and ecology were just some of the complex issues we addressed during our week in South Texas.
The experience was originally an initiative of the Center for Immigrant Healthcare Justice (CIHJ). Once the week-long endeavor was underway, it became apparent that this was a cooperative effort among the CIHJ, Sisters of Mercy in Texas and Mercy Associates from locations throughout the United States.
One of the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas and their lay associates is immigration. Members of the Mercy Community commit to standing in solidarity with people who are migrating in order to find fullness of life in the United States. I stand in awe as I consider the over 100 year history of the Sisters of Mercy in Laredo and the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Their efforts to ease human suffering reflect sisters’ and associates’ commitment to participate in the mission of Jesus, especially through prayer and service.
Following our week in Laredo, we ventured into the Lower Rio Grande Valley—passing through numerous border inspection stations as we drove. Participants met with leaders from the ARISE ministries, a network of programs and ministries founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1987 for immigrants in South Texas, and even made a trip to La Posada, a ministry for asylum seekers sponsored by the Sisters of Divine Providence. With each encounter, we knew God was presenting another opportunity for us to enflesh Mercy, for us to walk alongside our compassionate Redeemer who chooses the disguise of the poor.
Whether along the U.S.-Mexico border or in our own towns, each of us experiences the risen Savior in the form of our suffering sisters and brothers when we open our hearts to pray or our hands to serve. I pray for God to grant us a holy restlessness as we consider all of Mercy’s Critical Concerns. May we also be blessed with the grace and the humility to confront our own need for conversion of life as we witness to the Gospel and seek to address the needs of all of God’s people.