February 27, 2019
The piece below appears in the Winter 2019 issue of SHCJ Associates Newsletter American Province. To learn more about Cornelia’s spirituality, read the Associates’ Newsletters by clicking here.
By Anne Ayella, Associate, USA
In the spirit of Cornelia Connelly, the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus have often encouraged and invited us to live a “love full of action”. The most recent invitation takes us to the San Diego-Mexican border. Many SHCJ Sisters and Associates are deeply troubled and feel called to act on behalf of our migrant and refugee sisters and brothers. The 2016 General Chapter called Sisters and Associates to “do all we can individually and together to alleviate the struggle and suffering of migrants”. With resources made available from a bequest to the Society and disbursed through the Wants of the Age ( WOTA) committee, several Sisters and Associates have been moved to act on the front line.
Sr. Margaret Doyle has recently returned from working in San Diego. As a result of contact over the years with Casa Cornelia Law Center, she has known the plight of families trying to immigrate to the US. When the LCWR issued a call last Fall for volunteers to work at the San Diego shelter that welcomes and cares for families released from detention by ICE, Sr. Margaret shared, “ I had the time and the desire to help. With the resources from the WOTA fund and the Chapter’s blessing, I was able to do my small part to address this urgent need in San Diego.’’ Over another dozen Sisters and Associates will be sharing in the border ministry over the next several months, as well.
Sr. Marcia Sichol, Chair of the WOTA committee shared, “most of my years in ministry have been spent in administration, a step or two removed from direct service to people our Sisters serve. The chance to work directly with the refugees in San Diego presents me with a real opportunity to work with those whom I had been assisting.”
SHCJ Associate and WOTA committee member, Stephanie Fielder shares, “I’ve been appalled by the actions of our government separating families, refusing to allow people to apply for asylum and turning people away at the border. I’ve used my voice in protest and have used my money to support organizations that are fighting for change. God then sent the opportunity through the SHCJ to use my hands by volunteering at a shelter at the border. This opportunity to serve speaks to Cornelia’s charism to serve the wants of our time and to be the loving face of God through our actions. ‘’
SHCJ Associate Barbara De Concini also sees “ the Province’s invitation as an invitation to practice a love full of action.” She shares, “I cannot think of a better opportunity, made so easy for us by the Society, to reach out to persons who continue to suffer incredibly in their search for a safe home for their children. What I am doing is precious little.” How exciting to see such a wonderful response to the call for action! Whether we are traveling to the border or offering our prayers or support, may we continue to live out Cornelia’s challenge to “meet the wants of the age”.