A blog by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration about justice and peace issues

 Hi all, it’s today’s guest blogger, Sister Sarah Hennessey, FSPA

I just returned from a gathering called “Engaging the Impasse of Immigration” sponsored by NETWORK. It was so fabulous that I want to share some of the vision and excitement! There were 25 women religious (sisters and nuns) there from all over the country and a lot from the Dubuque, Iowa, area, including the sister who was the pastoral administrator at Postville. We told stories. We cried. We broke our hearts open and looked at the issue of immigration from many sides. We concluded that stories are important to break through the impasse and find some middle ground. We need fresh language and stories and common ground to live prophetically and to organize for legalized change.

Some action ideas discussed that NETWORK will implement in its next newsletter and in its work with staffers on the hill. Other ideas included a pilot project of engaging the impasse through stories that could be done in northeast Iowa. Also, there is a traveling exhibit on the history of women religious that is starting this summer and the idea was that the local pieces could have a focus on immigration. The anniversary of Postville is May 12, 2009. There will be an event in Postville and we will look at ways to be in solidarity with them. Look for more details about this coming up. With all of our ideas everyone at the gathering committed herself to some action.

What ideas do you have?

Because we found stories to be so powerful, I want to share some that the NETWORK intern, Katrine Herrick, gathered. One is a moving video of a young boy; the next comes from the point of view of the Minutemen; and last is a story of someone picked up in the raid in Postville.

I want to share these stories with you so you can travel into the impasse with me.

Peace in Christ, Sister Sarah

1. Watch “Juan: An Immigrant’s Story

2. While this slideshow is on the Minutemen Web site, I believe that it provides an interesting perspective that leads to a better understanding of why some hold their beliefs. I hope you will let the slideshow play and hold these people and their families and communities in your heart.

3.This is the story of a worker who returned to Guatemala, where most of the detained were from. Vincente Sanail Lopez has warned everyone in his hometown about the consequences they could face for illegally working in the United States. “I’ve told people what happened to me, and they think I’m making it up,” he said in Spanish. He told his neighbors how in May he was arrested with nearly 300 other Guatemalans at the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa. He told them how he was led away in chains and how he spent five months in prison with drug traffickers and thieves. He told them how he was dumped off at the Guatemala City airport, with nothing but his prison uniform and a warning that if he ever returned to the United States, he could be sentenced to 10 years behind bars. For the rest of the article and more stories of the returned, visit the DesMoines Register.

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