Immigration 101: Empowerment and Information
By Jill Uchiyama, The Literacy Connection, Co-director
During a time of uncertainty, The Literacy Connection is responding more than ever to the fear in conjunction with the latest DACA and TPS trends coming out of Washington. As we continue to serve our immigrant neighbors, we recognize the need for empowerment and the importance of understanding the facts.
As part of our response, TLC invited Know Your Rights Attorney, Norah Softic of Catholic Charities, to present a workshop titled “Immigration 101” to a group of thirty tutors, associates, clergy, and others working directly with immigrants. The meeting was arranged by Carol Leon, Outreach and Community Engagement Coordinator of The Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement. Ms. Softic presented a thorough introduction to the complexity and vast array of visas and status protection from permanent to temporary to a concerned audience.
While the mood continues to be heavy, we at The Literacy Connection are advocating for the best ways to keep up to date and on top of the changes. Workshops like Softic’s “Immigration 101” keep us clear in the face of confusion and allow those, such as the many tutors who serve students with special concerns, the ability to know how to help and advise them during these times.
PICTURED ABOVE: Norah Softic of Catholic Charities presents an overview of Immigration Law; one of Norah’s slides which enhanced the
presentation; Jill Uchiyama who organized the gathering [standing] and Sisters Zita Fleming, Diane Neumyer, Maryann Enright, and Denise Kelly
who were among the participants.
Impelled by God’s Inclusive Love...Into the Hands of the Living God.
Remembering the spirit, energy, and enthusiasm that graced our fall chapter days, Rosemary Brennan, CSJ, introduced our congregation retreat day and reminded us of our four Chapter Directions. She then introduced Marie McCarthy, SP, Associate Director for Program Development for LCWR, who facilitated our day of contemplative engagement and discernment. Marie’s soul-filled presentation was punctuated with moments of silent prayer, contemplative dialogue, and listening.
What follows is a synthesis of her reflections. A video of the day is available “ON DEMAND” at https://portal.stretchinternet.com/csjboston/
What’s important today is how you will all respond to the living God. What’s your part? How are you being called? What needs to happen will emerge. The key is having an open mind, an open heart, an open will.
There’s an energy in this room that has nothing to do with diminishment. The story of diminishment is way too small a story for us. It’s one small chapter in a very large story of transformation that leads to communion. Ours is a story that leads to being impelled by God’s inclusive love. It’s a process of transformation. Creation is still going on which means revelation is still going on. We need to look at exactly what’s going on in our individual and collective lives. The problem we face is not the denial of death. It is the denial of resurrection.
The God who comes to us from the future is calling us into the future. Giving ourselves to that living God is the deepest meaning of transformation. Discernment calls me to open myself and the congregation to open ourselves to the transforming power of God. It is, as T.S. Eliot writes, “A condition of complete simplicity costing not less than everything.”
In considering the process of caterpillar to butterfly we often skip over the cocoon. But, as with caterpillar to butterfly, the dynamics of transformation require a period of chaotic, creative messiness, the gradual emergence of the new, and eventually its coalescence into a new, vibrant, cohesive whole. In the words of Sebastian Moore, “We are more afraid of no longer needing what we have always needed than we are of actually losing it. And herein lies the impediment to spiritual growth.”
Jesus’ passion is not simply about death on a cross. It is fundamentally about selfemptying. Jesus lays down his life; becomes the cosmic Christ. The Resurrection narratives present a transformed Jesus. Even Mary Magdalene didn’t recognize Jesus so transformed was he. This is the transformation to which we’re called.
Religious life has always been on a journey of transformation. We’ve continually been called to be at that front edge of humanity. The embodiment of the charism makes us who we are. “We live in an unfinished universe. Life is not behind but ahead of us. God is not finished with us. God has all the time in the world to create and enjoys the process of creation itself. We are being created and religious life is being created. Emphasis therefore is not on what exists but on what is being created; that is, on the dynamics of relatedness.” — Ilia Delio
Can we come to the place of holding all so freely and not worry about how I’m going to survive in what’s coming next? This dynamic of being able to yield unconditionally to God’s future is what St. John of the Cross calls hope.
Following in the Footsteps of the Saints
In October, 2017, Ann McNeil, CSJ, had the opportunity to join with 22 pilgrims who traveled with the USA Northeast Province of the Jesuits on a journey to Spain and southern France to follow in the footsteps of Jesuit Sts. Ignatius Loyola and Francis Xavier as well as Bernadette of Lourdes.
Ann is pictured at left, row 1, third from right at Castle of Xavier, the birthplace of St. Francis Xavier in Navarre, Spain. Read more about this pilgrimage.
Photo: Courtesy of USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus. Used with permission.