A recent Catholic News Service article, written by Joseph Kolb, tells the story of Franciscan sisters who work in the US desert near the border with Mexico, serving the poor and immigrant. Following today’s First Reading from the Book of Exodus, which discusses God’s command that people do not harm or abuse the immigrants in their midst, it seems most fitting to pass along this story of heroic service to God’s people. In an age when certain folks are revved up over their “right” to “defend” an arbitrary national border (God has no border!), harming the lives and families of people in the meantime, we are wise to pause and reflect on what God has said to us in Scripture about just this issue and look at the model of Christian discipleship presented to us by these sisters as they strive to live in the footsteps of Francis of Assisi.

The compact car lifted a trail of dust as it traveled slowly along the 18-foot-tall chain-link fence, attracting the attention of the U.S. Border Patrol agent sitting in his green and white SUV.

When the vehicle stopped and two women got out, he was concerned contraband might be tossed over the fence into the United States to the waiting vehicle. Instead, the women began throwing items into Mexico.

The two women were Franciscan Missionaries of Mary who come to the fence periodically and toss whatever they can get to give the needy families of Puerto de Anapra, one of the poorest and most violent suburbs of Ciudad Juarez.

“The agent said it was OK for us to be here, but only for a short time,” said the older nun, who identified herself as Sister Marie. Her companion on the goodwill venture into this remote area of the fence — where Texas, New Mexico and Mexico converge — was Sister Karen. Both sisters requested their last names not be disclosed.

“It’s sad, they are so poor,” said Sister Marie. “It breaks my heart see them have to live like this and how they live in such fear.”

The presence of the sisters attracted nearly 20 people, who rushed down dirty, garbage-strewn alleys to make it to the fence to receive their gifts.

As the children pressed their faces against the tight fence, Sister Karen pushed the licorice through the narrow spaces to the tiny fingers of the children. The small spaces make it much more difficult for migrants to get a good footing to cross into the United States.

Continue reading CNS Story Here

Photo: File


  1. Br. Dan–When you say that, “God has no border,” are you saying that the United States should not secure its borders, or am I way off?

  2. Beautiful post. I shared this on Facebook and one of my FB friends, a reporter for the Dallas Morning News, shared this link from 2006. It was an article that he wrote about a priest in Eagle Pass, TX… What I really loved is what David wrote to me in a comment, and which I cut and paste here: “Fran, I did this story for the DMN six years ago on a priest in Eagle Pass on the border whose parish refuses to turn away undocumented immigrants. Border Patrol gave them a large crucifix they found tangled in debris in the Rio Grande. The church christened it ‘El Cristo indoumentado.’

  3. Maybe I am a doofus, but the link to this Vatican document doesn’t work. It seems to go to Vatican Radio. Can you check and see if there’s a more direct link? I really want to read this document.

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