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Volume 1.1.4 - January 20, 2016

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Boston Leaders Call for an Immediate Halt to ICE Raids

The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition [MIRA] along with religious and community leaders held a press conference on Friday morning, January 8, 2016, calling for an end to the raids launched this past weekend by the Obama administration and for compassion and temporary relief for families. These raids are targeting Central American women and children who recently came to the US fleeing violence in their home  countries. Maryann Enright, CSJ, was invited to be one of the speakers at the press conference. Her comments were greeted with applause from those present. Her reflections are printed  here.

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Good Morning, I am S. Maryann Enright, a Sister of St. Joseph  of Boston and serve on the Congregation’s Immigration Committee. As we know, this New Year has started with a nationwide wave of immigration raids which are causing untold alarm in our cities. As we saw in Thursday’s Globe, the use of RAIDS to track down families is traumatizing our immigrant communities and creating mistrust of our police and local government. These families will be deported to countries where their lives could be more threatened than before they left.

Presently, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are some of the most dangerous countries in the world. El Salvador, in particular, is being overrun by gangs. I know this from first-hand experience. 

Here with me today are a group of women who traveled to El Salvador with a delegation in early December. We spent a week in El Salvador learning the root causes of emigration. The people of Central America’s Northern Triangle, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, are fleeing for their lives and turning to us for safety. We have to understand that the chaos created in these countries was backed by our US Government. Now is the time to evaluate asylum seekers, learn more about the root causes of emigration and dig deeper before we return them to their countries that are more dangerous than when they left. RAIDS are not the answer. We know of better ways. NOW is our time to make a difference. 

Prayer as a Personal Relationship

by Joanne Mauldin, CSJA

During our January 9 Associate Gathering, we were enriched by the presentation of Carol Fitzsimmons, CSJ, Joanne Fantini, CSJA, and Nan Bouché, CSJA. What is prayer? What is prayer for you? Each shared her personal experience of what drew her to spiritual direction, and thus to a deeper relationship with God. They invited us to be attentive to God's voice speaking in various ways such as scripture, friends, nature, music, and, most important, listening deeply to what God is saying. We were aware that there is no right or wrong way to pray, as long as you are in the present moment. Prayer is a gift and God calls us just as we are. There is nothing we can't bring to God.

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Role playing was done to represent the director and the directee. This was helpful in understanding for those considering what happens, during the sacred time on their journey. As one who has been in spiritual direction for 23 years, this has brought me to a deeper and more open relationship with God through my spiritual director, as well as confirming what God is saying in my life.

In closing, some questions for your personal reflection:
How might spiritual direction helpme?
What yearning /desires dwell in my heart that beg to be listened to?  

Where God is Born, Hope is Born

Introduction by Ellen Powers, CSJ

On behalf of the Boston LCWR Anti-trafficking Coalition, [ATC] we welcome you to our prayer to end human trafficking. Thank you for joining us today as, together, we give witness to the dignity of each person. In prayer and silent vigil we stand with and for those children, women, and men exploited for labor and for sex through the evil of modern-day slavery which we call HUMAN TRAFFICKING. 

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Our Anti-trafficking Coalition is a coalition of congregations of women religious in the Boston area – and now includes you! We believe that, in addition to words and actions, prayer and silent vigil are powerful tools to eradicate human trafficking.

It is heartening to know we do not stand alone. In cities across the country similar groups gather in solidarity, in prayer, in keeping vigil this weekend. We are also heartened by the efforts of many individuals and civic and faith leaders. They realize that the $150 billion dollar world-wide “industry” of trafficking of persons runs counter to basic tenets regarding the dignity and value of each person. They also realize, as we in Massachusetts have witnessed through media reports in the past year, this world wide “industry” of slavery exists in our own backyard – not only in Dorchester and Mattapan but in Weston and Wellesley.

In his Christmas message “to the city and the world” Pope Francis reminded us, “Where God is born, hope is born, and where hope is born, persons regain dignity” He continues, “Yet, even today great numbers of men and women are deprived of their human dignity... May our closeness today be felt by those who are most vulnerable, especially, child soldiers, women who suffer violence, and victims of human trafficking and the drug trade.” So, we stand today in very good company, attempting to put an end to human trafficking through our prayer and efforts 

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