“And I showed mercy to them…”

More than 600 members of the Secular Franciscan Order gathered in Phoenix, Arizona in from August 5th through 8th to share their faith and dedication to the franciscan lifestyle and charism. Members of the Franciscan Network for Migrants participated in a workshop entitled, “And I showed mercy to them…”

Fr. Sam Nosada, OFM moderated a panel that consisted of Brother David Buer, OFM, Donna Hollis, OSF, Gigi Gregory, OSF, Joanna Williams, Jim Andreano, OSF,  Joe Mackley, OSF, and Lori Winther

Brother David Buer, OFM shared about the work of the Ite Nuntiate community, a member of the Franciscan Network for Migrants, in the context of compassion and care. He described the points of entry for migrants crossing the southern border of the US, and pointed out the most dangerous regions, areas of the desert under tribal jurisdiction where volunteers are not allowed to leave water. He discussed how his community has been involved in practical and spiritual support of migrants.

Donna Hollis, OSF discussed Project Oak Tree, and the efforts on the part of the Archdiocese of Las Cruces to provide host families to migrant families leaving detention. She framed her discussing with the story of the Good Samaritan. 

Gigi Gregory, OFS shared her work with the Migrant Shelter Center in El Paso, Texas. Gigi is the VIce-Minister of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Region, and she described the work of a network of migrant shelters in the El Paso área of Texas.

Joanna Williams is the executive director of Kino Border Initiative, a binational shelter and migrant support program in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora. Joanna described the experiences of families who arrived at their shelter, why they left their countries, their life in Nogales, and their struggles, hopes and dreams. 

Jaqui, from Aguilas del Desierto, also provided an impromptu reflection on their work on rescue and recovery in the desert. 

Lori Winther heads up the Franciscan Network for Migrants in the US. She talked about the history of the Network, the successes to date of unifying the franciscan response to the  humanitarian crisis, and how people can become involved.

Jim Andreano, OFS and Joe Mackley, OFS, both discussed the Toolkit that the OSFs have developed, which can be found here.

There were many questions and a rich discussion with folks familiar and unfamiliar with the issue. More than 50 people attended the two sessions.

Lori Winther