In the coming weeks, the greater community of Longueuil will welcome a new Syrian refugee family - a young Christian family consisting of a 33 year old father, a 29 year old mother and a little three year old girl, with no relatives in Canada.
This undertaking, a first for the members of this joint partnership involving the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM), the Chemins de vie Organization, the Longueuil Diocesan Centre and several individuals, began in October 2015.
“Concerned about the situation of Syrian refugees, we asked ourselves how we could do our part”, explained Sister Denise Riel, SNJM who, with the assistance of Jacques Morin, quickly established a small working group.
“At the time of our first meeting with a few individuals and with those in charge of various organizations, we realized that we already had the amount of money necessary to take care of our first refugee family for one year”, continued Sister Denise Riel, who is very proud of the determination shown by the members of the ad hoc committee.
In addition to the 30 000 $ necessary for this sponsorship, several other details which had to be regulated so as to finalize the process, necessitated the assistance of the Service Jésuite aux réfugiés for the identification of a family and for the official immigration process. At the same time, the group gathered a committee of four people to act as interpreters, to establish links with organizations on the South Shore to ease their integration, especially with immersion courses, and to identify key items for furnishing a house and supplying the daily necessities for such a family.
“It was fortunate that with the closing of one of our houses in Saint Lambert, we were able to collect furniture and appliances which could be used for this Syrian family”, emphasized the Provincial Animator. The contributions of all enabled us to find and furnish accommodations which are well prepared and ready to welcome them.
At the moment, the sponsor group is still waiting for an official date for the arrival of the family. The dossier is progressing normally according to immigration authorities. The members of the sponsor group are hoping that it will only be a matter of weeks or days before everything materializes.
This has not hindered them from continuing their work of undertaking the steps necessary to welcome a second family during the year. Remember that the campaign to raise funds at the Diocesan Center is continuing, while all the donations received from the Sisters in the province will be used to buy certificates to meet the various needs of the young Syrian family, upon their arrival.