Every day migrants arrive at the hotel shelter – 80 to 140, each in search of new life free from violence, lack of employment due to the pandemic or climate change that destroyed the land with violent storms.

The migrants are treated with such compassion and respect as the team of Catholic Charities, health care professionals and a handful of volunteers see to their needs.  All new arrivals are tested for COVID and vaccinated.  Only a few have tested positive for COVID and were sent to another location.  Sisters from across the country come either one or a few at a time for two to three weeks this summer.  They assist with snack preparations, welcoming, clothes sorting and driving migrants to the airport.  Sr. Natalia Mejia and I have prayed and spoken with families at the door of their hotel rooms in either Spanish or Portuguese, assisted them in gathering clothes and backpacks for their family and escorted them back to their rooms.  Frequently, children’s clothing and huggable stuffed animals are not available.  The supply disappears very quickly.

I have requested and received donations from different local areas and at our Bishop’s Pastoral Council meeting last night where I received some immediate responses. 

Sr. Natalia and I go to Thrift Stores and low-priced stores to gather needed items.

When we returned to the shelter one day, a little toddler saw us pulling in our cart with clothing, backpacks and stuffed toys.  I was holding my favorite, a stuffed elephant, which caught the eye of this little girl.  She looked longingly at the elephant which soon became her prized possession as she ran hugging him back to her mother who was being ‘processed’.

It’s such simple encounters where we discover the Lord in our midst of suffering and journeying together.  No need for words.  We’re even more aware of how our eyes can speak since everyone’s smile is hidden behind a mask.

Thank you for your continued prayers, donations and participation in our migrant ministry from afar.

You are serving the poor and the vulnerable especially women and children.  Thank you!

– Sr. Rosie Nicholson, RJM

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