Reflecting on the Year of the Immigrant

The Provincial Assembly for the Stella Maris Province was held in October 2011.  A Theological Reflection was developed by a small group of sisters.  Distinct from a simple summary of events, the Theological Reflection invites us to consider how God might be asking us to integrate what we have experienced and to take action in service of the Gospel.  

Stella Maris Theological Reflection Provincial Assembly October, 2011

 As we were drawing to a close the “Year of the Immigrant” we gathered together as a Province with our sisters from the mission in Altar, Mexico, to explore the reality of immigration through the lenses of globalization, Catholic Social Teaching, and spirituality. With clear statistics and poignant stories Fr. Daniel Groody, C.S.C. enlightened our minds and hearts. Fr. Groody posed an initial question to frame our reflections: As we deepen our awareness of immigration – the movement of peoples across geographical boundaries – how is Christ being born in our midst? Or in other words, how is Christ present and active within this human drama we call “the immigration issue”?  Globalization was described as a linking of world-wide financial networks; a new internationalism; or the intersection of multiple cultures and societies. From a gospel perspective, we were asked to consider globalization as the possibility of human solidarity and inter-connectedness. In order for this possibility to become a reality each person, organization and nation must make options for the common good versus their own personal or self-promoting good. Justice, a right relationship between God and humanity and humanity with humanity, is the foundation of globalization and requires a conversion of our hearts and choices. When the 3 richest people in the world hold as much wealth as the gross national profit of 48 nations, something is out of balance! As we listened to this statistic and many others like it, we realized that instead of human solidarity and justice we seem to be experiencing increased fragmentation and polarization within the global community. Our charism invites us to do what we can to help heal the wounds caused by this lack of solidarity (C, 6). How will we respond? To guide us in our choices we were pointed in the direction of Catholic Social Teaching (CST). Core to CST are such fundamental truths as: the radical gratuitousness of God’s love; the profound dignity of the human person vs. treating the person as a commodity; an option for the most vulnerable; and freedom understood not only as a gift but as a responsibility.

Lastly, so as to descend from theory to human reality we listened to the agonizing story of so many of our immigrant brothers and sisters whose deepest desire is a better life for themselves and their family. We were then asked to reflect upon the journey of Jesus as he crossed the divine/human boundary and the options he made. Each of us was also challenged to a deep inner questioning – What boundaries do we have within us that prevent us from seeing or recognizing the presence of God in our suffering brother and sister? God’s mission was not only to heal the divine-human divide but also the human-human divide. God so loved the world that he migrated into our human reality to help us migrate back to God through his witness of solidarity with humanity, a solidarity that led to the gift of his life.

As Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC and laity) we are called to co-labor in the mission of God. How will we build a civilization of love? Are we willing to embrace conversion of heart and mind and live a radical charity that helps create human solidarity and an option for the most vulnerable among us? Let us remember the words of Jesus, “Whenever you did this to one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you did it to me.” (Mt 25: 40)


Submitted by:  A. Schwelm, Assistant Library Director




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