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|In September 2015, Sister Jackie began a new journey to minister at Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas. “In a Gospel spirit of service and solidarity, Annunciation House’s mission is to accompany the migrant, homeless, and economically vulnerable peoples of the border region through hospitality, advocacy, and education. We place ourselves among these poor so as to live our faith and transform our understanding of what constitutes more just relationships between people, countries, and economies.” You can follow Sister Jackie’s journey on this site by checking back for her monthly updates.
“Though the ongoing national debate on immigration reform seems endless, we volunteer staff at Annunciation House see and hear a very different side to the conversation. We see and hear real humans who are the refugees about whom so much is “debated”. We bear witness to their unspeakable misery. And as important, we see and hear their hope, perseverance, and gratitude.” Sister Jackie
For more on Annunciation House visit: http://annunciationhouse.org/about-2/history-philosophy/
To contact Sister Jackie directly or to send her your prayers and support, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She may not be able to respond to all the emails but she is grateful for your support.January 2016
Several weeks ago I wrote about one of our morning reflections, led by a volunteer here at Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas. Her topic was “radical hospitality” based on the writings of Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB. I want to share with you two examples of others’ radical hospitality that have moved me to a deeper capacity for welcoming the stranger.
I was waiting in the El Paso airport for a long-day’s travel to Chicago for a meeting. I was berating myself because I left my house without a penny or credit card (and we all know how expensive anything is in our airports!). Fortunately a kind waitress gave me some water in a take-away cup.
Then I saw a fellow Annunciation House volunteer who was accompanying a Guatemalan mother and her 10 year-old son on their journey through our strange, but hope-filled country, to reunite with extended family in Nashville, TN. Since I and the mother and son were on the same first-leg of our journey, I took over the accompaniment responsibility. Francisca, the mother, carried only a white plastic garbage bag filled with their possessions and the documents from ICE which allowed them to travel.
With the kind assistance of the airline workers, we were seated all in one row. As well, they explained in fluent Spanish how they would have to leave the plane after this first flight and transfer to another in Houston and how to find the right connecting gate. Once on the plane, in my halting Spanish I tried to explain everything that was happening during their first plane trip. I could see their anxiety clearly on their faces.
Well, I was getting hungry and the peanuts just weren’t doing it for me. I could only imagine the hunger of my dear neighbors seated next to me who had had a simple breakfast hours before at one of the houses of hospitality of Annunciation House. I explained my pitiful money-less situation to the attendant on board and asked if she could give our friends some extra peanuts. She returned with an overflowing bag of pretzels and cans of soda. As well, she had tucked into the bag’s tied handle a $10.00 bill (perhaps there was more, but I could not see). Offering comfort in the most basic of ways to strangers—this is radical hospitality.
Secondly, I want to lift up the radical hospitality of three of our Sisters from LaGrange Park, Illinois and a Franciscan friend who have brought a bit of comfort to the guests of Annunciation House. I once mentioned to one of them that I was in need of aprons because I was always messing up my clothes while on shift-duty. Well, several weeks later I received a large box with more than a dozen of colorful, practical aprons lovingly stitched. I know Srs. Kathleen Lucas, Pat Borchardt, Adrienne Schmidt (all CSJs) and Sr. Diane Pfhler (OSF) put love into every cut and stitch. I know this because the guests, who take turns cooking for the rest of the house for three meals a day, began wearing the aprons with no encouragement from me. I just hung them in the kitchen and made them available to anyone who wanted to use them. I also shared them with two other AH houses of hospitality. The men cooks (cocineros) and women cooks (cocineras) without distinction really enjoy them because now their clothes don’t get all messed up! This is a gift which is all about upholding human dignity in the most simple of ways. Thank you, Sisters, for the gracious and profound ways you participate in the ministry of radical hospitality to our dear refugee neighbors.