A Journey That Was Meant To Be

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP, Justice Promoter

It was a horrendous trip – delayed by a winter storm far worse than expected with states and citizens not prepared or used to the amount of snow and ice.  We sat three hours on a closed highway in Oklahoma. Then once we got into New Mexico, we were trying to beat another storm so we kept going.  Unfortunately, it caught up to us about half way through the state and late into the night.  I won’t go into the details but we were traveling much slower than the speed limit and had a few harrowing moments.

Part way through this journey we realized that our experience might have some similarities to those of the refugees that we would be interacting with. We were all desperate to get to El Paso… we wanted to escape the danger of the snow and begin our service, they wanted to escape the violence of gangs and poverty and begin a new, more promising life. We were both at the mercy of the government… we needed them to plow and salt the roads, they needed to be processed and sent to a hospitality center.  We all needed rest and refreshment after difficult journeys.

But there were some big differences.  We could afford to stop at a nice hotel to wait out the storm.  We had a safe, warm vehicle to travel in, plenty of warm clothing, and nutritious food.  We knew where we were going and how to communicate with others if we were stuck.  The asylum seekers were not so fortunate sleeping rough, bringing little more than the clothes on their backs, and with little money for food or shelter. Most had never travelled by plane and where afraid of this final leg of their journey to their sponsors.

We arrived safely in El Paso after 18 hours or so and completed our ministry in the Pastoral Center of the Diocese of El Paso.  Each of us shared the gifts we had for language, cooking, organizing, and cleaning.  We met some courageous mothers and fathers from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Brazil, Cuba, and Russia whose only desire was to live in peace and provide for their families.  We were blessed over and over again during our two weeks.  It was a journey that was meant to be.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

14 responses to “A Journey That Was Meant To Be

  1. What a blessing you and your companions were in the
    Journey and assistance to the refugees. As you retell the
    experience of going to ElPaso and ministering to bring
    new life to the refugees, they too, brought new life to you.

    It seems we keep learning how we are all connected and
    God’s love embraces us with much courage and strength.
    A BIG Thank you for your response to this Call, dear Barbara and Companions.
    Love and gratitude,
    Sr. Brigid

  2. What a blessing each of you, and many others, was while here. Your presence and giftedness a treasure for all… the stories of companions on the journey will be told over and over again by all who encountered God’s love in actions, words, and kindness.

  3. It is this kind of caring for the poor and homeless refugees and others that attractec me to the Catholic Church. Thanks for what you do!

  4. Thank you to all who went to the Border to SEE, HELP, and REFLECT and give Compassionate Care. I hear the courage it took. THANK YOU.

  5. Dear Barb,
    As we met January 11, our Theology Group prayed for you on your journey to El Paso. Little did we realize all you had gone through at that point. Thank you for your courage and stamina. We hope to meet in March and that you can be with us to share your amazing journey and presence to the people from so many deprived countries. Because of you and your companions, they know acceptance and comfort. Peace, Ellen & Bob O’Shaughnessy Padberg

  6. Thank you, Barbara, and all volunteers to the Border!
    You were our Angels of Mercy and we are all so
    proud of you.

  7. Barb, What a great blog ! Thank you for sharing your experience as you journeyed to El Paso. Your account makes me grateful for all that I have. I marvel at the strength and courage these refugees possess to make the journey “north”.

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