How does immigration affect us? Do we know Sisters or Associates who are of immigrant origin? Who, among us, works with refugees or immigrants? These are a few of the topics upon which we touched this summer at our meeting of the Justice and Peace Network.
This four-day meeting took place in Oregon, at Canby Grove, not far from Marylhurst where our Sisters live.
Video interviews with concrete witnessing by the sisters in the Network, themselves committed to immigrants, illegal immigrants or refugees, shed light on the difficult situations which these people are experiencing.
Two invited guests, one from the Congo and the other from Rwanda, witnessed to their experiences of having been uprooted, of the necessity of adapting so as to integrate into a new culture, but also of their capacity to be filled with awe and of being grateful to those whom they encountered along the way in the host country.
They also acknowledged that they often have the feeling of being "foreigners" in their new country.
We studied a text suggested by the Committee for the Network on Immigration and Refugees. This text, which describes how immigration is perceived in our respective countries, was discussed and amended. It will be sent out to local communities as a basic tool for reflection.
We also reviewed our activities and commitments regarding human trafficking and water, to see what we have done so far and to stand together in common action.
The youth who participated in the Youth Forum during the summer of 2012 spent an afternoon with us. With earnestness and proficiency on their topics, they gave an overview of their experience during the forum.
We were impressed by their understanding of the phenomenon of human trafficking and the problems linked to water, as well as with their willingness to pursue concrete actions in their milieu so as to "change the world".
Claudette Bastien, S.N.J.M.