Welcoming the Stranger.
“You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; you shall love the alien as yourself; for you, too, were once aliens.” (Leviticus 19.34)
We work on the front lines with immigrants and asylum seekers in various capacities around the country, and we work to educate, raise awareness, spark conversation and effect change to immigration legislation, always with hearts full of the inclusive love of Christ.
Here are just a few examples of our work:
Taller De José
Taller De José (Joseph’s Workshop) in Chicago is a sponsored ministry of the Congregation of St. Joseph that connects people to services and services to people. Begun in 2005 by Sisters Carol Crepeau, CSJ, Kathy Brazda, CSJ, and Rev. Robert Casey, Taller De José offers companionship and personal attention to people who have difficulty finding their way in a complex social system. Rather than duplicate existing services, Taller seeks to collaborate with other agencies to make social services more accessible to a population in need. Staff members are trained to listen to clients to assess the services they need and then accompany them in the process of finding those resources.
TEACH (Tutoring English to Advance Change) in Chicago (formerly School and Tutors on Wheels) is a sponsored ministry of the Congregation of St. Joseph that offers free adult individualized English instruction. TEACH works to ensure the inclusion of those who are typically excluded, underrepresented, or undervalued, and toward systemic change in society by empowering students to build their strengths and use their voices effectively.
Sister Erin McDonald
Sister Erin McDonald, CSJ, currently serves as University Minister for Service and Social Justice at the University of Detroit Mercy. In December, 2018, she went with several students to El Paso to work at the border, and wrote this article about her experience there. Prior to this, she served as a case manager at Freedom House in Detroit where she worked with asylum seekers from all over the world, helping them settle and assimilate in the U.S. Sister Erin also spent two years ministering in Rwanda with Jesuit Refugee Services.
In addition to direct service, our Sisters and Associates advocate for systemic change of policies and laws which seek to exclude or marginalize the dear neighbor wherever they may be. We stand with and for immigrants, refugees, and migrants by seeking to educate and raise awareness of the injustices regularly experienced by these at-risk populations. We are also members of and support organizations such as LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious), and the Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph, which seek just immigration reform and defend DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).
Statements of Support
In addition to the many ways we work with immigrants and asylum seekers on the front lines, the Congregation of St. Joseph also releases statements about important immigration issues and supports statements made by the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph and the the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, organizations of which we are members. Read our most recent statement here, as well as the most recent statement made by the U.S. Federation, calling for the welcome and humane treatment of arriving immigrants here, and the LCWR statement regarding keeping children and families together here.