Today everyone seeks to be in movement, but there are movements that are not for health, physical well-being, daily work or recreation. I will refer here to a movement that forces you to leave what you love, what you exist for, what you live for. These movements, often forced, are called migration. All kinds of people, men, women, older adults and children, go out, embark on a journey in search of something better. They move from one place to another, leaving what they love most: their land, friends and family.
Migrants are often escaping from terrible, horrible, painful situations. They leave to escape poverty and to seek out a new livelihood, enjoy opportunities and possibilities. They want something better for their children and family. They also want to escape the conflicts and devastation that plague their countries.
The Migrant Woman is a symbol of courage, of risk, and of struggles. They are entrepreneurs. They leave traces in their wake. Yes, indelible marks in history. They leave indelible marks in history, and for the whole world. But they are called “refugees” and they are “migrants,” without names or faces, as if they were all the same. But each of them has a different story to tell: their life, who they lost, and how they got to where they are. They have escaped from harsh realities in their countries of origin and many times from difficult roads, trials and abuses, but in their hearts and minds is the power to continue giving life to what they most want their children to be.
The migrant woman becomes the protagonist of her own migratory experience. She comes from a country where doors are closed. She has no opportunity to develop them herself and fulfill her potential, let alone find a decent job that to help her move forward. Her dreams and deep desires to give stability lead her to what is necessary for her children and family .
The indelible marks are confused with the stigmas imposed on migrant women, when they are called dangerous, violent, criminal, etc. Before seeing the person, recognizing a story frequently marked by pain and injustice, rejection is imposed and they are stigmatized, marginalized, oppressed, exploited, made invisible. The stigmas built into the migrant population are varied in their form and scope. In extreme cases, they are considered gang members or criminals, and more typically, characteristics such as laziness, filth, bad manners, chaos are attributed to them.
Countries, communities or places do not want to recognize them and migrant women themselves live in fear of being discovered and sanctioned. With the experience of going unnoticed, continuous mobility, the very fact of hiding and sometimes extreme vulnerability, the value of their very life is questioned. How awful!
Women who migrate who leave, who are moving towards another life destination, represent almost half of the 244 million migrants and half of the 19.6 million refugees in the world. (United Nations General Assembly, 2016).
I want to express my admiration of the dedication and resistance of these migrant women who are an example and testimony of that woman who leaves an indelible mark on the land that she steps on, touches, embraces, and welcomes. I highlight their resilient spirit and strength, as brave warriors who continue to fight for their goals and dreams of life and do not sit idly by, but move forward and find creative options in the face of difficulties and obstacles. On them falls the responsibility of being the head of the family and raising their children. I have had the experience of seeing mothers making this long journey with children that have special needs, with the firm certainty that they will achieve their goal and to be able to find in the northern country the cure for the illness of her child.
Mary as Mother, explained Pope Francis, plays a very special role: she places herself between her Son Jesus and human beings. it is in the reality of their deprivation, destitution and suffering. And she added that she intercedes before her Son for the “needs of men and women, especially the weakest and most needy”.(Angelus of January 1, 2021
Pope Saint John Paul II said in his Letter to women in 1995 that giving thanks is not enough, since “unfortunately we are heirs of a history of enormous conditioning that, at all times and in each place, they have made the path of women difficult, despised in their dignity, forgotten in their prerogatives, frequently marginalized and even reduced to slavery.”
In this month that we celebrate Mother’s Day, let us stop for a moment to extend great recognition to so many migrant mothers who set an example of generous dedication, service, unconditional love and who are capable of continuing to give life, of leaving indelible and visible marks in the midst of this culture of death and heartbreak.
Thank you, Lord, for your the vocation and mission of each woman that you have created with such delicacy in the world. We ask that this vocation become a source of liberating commitment to them, for what they represent in the life of humanity. Amen.