Founded in 1812, the Sisters of Loretto have embraced the pioneer spirit in the west. Throughout their convent are the trunks of the sisters who built convents, schools and became a driving presence in working toward social justice issues such as the environment and refugees. The Sisters have graciously provided lodging for those from other religious communities who travel to El Paso to volunteer at Annunciation House. For the past two weeks, the Sisters have provided us with a home away from home, a place to unwind at the end of the day, a quiet place to pray and to think. They have been our safe haven.
With our time to serve at Annunciation House coming to an end, I realize on an even grander scale that all of us just want to be able to live a life where we are safe, where we are at peace, where we have opportunity and where we are accepted and loved. The people we served were so helpful to us. They volunteered to clean up after meals, unload donations and pick up garbage around the building. They have nothing more than the clothes on their backs yet I have seen such generosity and sharing among them. Despite that fact that we do not speak Spanish and they do not speak English, we learned how to communicate, to share stories and laughter. We hugged their children, wiped noses, encouraged parents, held their hands as they struggled with illness, clothed and fed their bodies (and hopefully their souls) and shared in an experience few will ever know. Their cheerfulness, positivity and optimism for a brighter future showed us just how blessed we are.
My prayer for today is for strength for the refugees as they step away from us to build new lives. They will have hard times as they adjust but hopefully they will look back on the hours they spent at Annunciation House as a time of hope that will give them the courage to continue to move forward. Please continue to join us on our Road to El Paso.