May 25, 2022

Reflection on Immigration Reform by Sister Anne Martin Phelan

In the Gospel today Jesus is speaking at the Last Supper, as he gathers with his disciples, sharing life with them. He realizes that there is much he wants to express but cannot say, so he washes their feet, breaks bread, and shares wine. His words and actions comfort and strengthen them in ways that only the Holy Spirit might help them to understand.


Indeed, the Father, Son and Spirit are one; they act of one accord, seeking the same good. We are invited to find ourselves in their relationship to one another.


Our personal reflection today is on how we are being called to renew our country’s efforts to bring about new and balanced immigration reform policies.


Thirty-five years ago, the martyred archbishop of El Salvador, Oscar Romero, reminded us that “Nothing is as important to the church as human life, as the human person; above all, the person of the poor and the oppressed.”  Besides being human beings, they are also divine beings, since Jesus said that whatever is done to them, he takes as done to him. Bloodshed and deaths on our borders are beyond all politics. They touch the very heart of God.


As a country, we are humbled by the truth of our lives. We have been busy about so many things, and we have neglected to show concern and tenderness towards our struggling immigrant brothers and sisters. We have not dared to speak when they have been unjustly treated. We’ve not cared about their perilous journey, nor their heartbreak at having to flee from terror and violence only to be met by fear, suspicion, and detention.  Our indifference rises in judgment of us.


Our prayer today and every day is “O Creator God, give us your eyes to see and ears to hear the immigrants’ cries to belong. Give us hearts open to welcome and to accept the gifts that they are. Grant us the wisdom and generosity to work toward much-needed immigration reform policies and practices that will respect the rights and dignities of all.”


Sister Anne Martin currently serves at St. Cajetan Parish in Chicago, IL as the Religious Education Coordinator and as coordinator of Associates and Sojourners for the Clinton Franciscans. Sister Anne Martin has served as a teacher and principal at schools in Iowa, Illinois, and Freeport, Grand Bahama. She served at St. Francis De Paula school in Chicago for 15 years and at St. Gerald school in Oak Lawn, IL for 11 years.  In 1998, she served with the development office of the Sisters of St. Francis. Sister Anne Martin has served on numerous boards with a variety of organizations. From 2012 to 2016, Sister Anne Martin served as President of the Sisters of St. Francis.