To the Least of These

Sisters Mary Vuong, Barbara Kane, Doris Regan, Imelda Schmidt, and Roserita Weber volunteered at the Pastoral Center in El Paso, TX. They are shown here with a family that was also volunteering.

St. Dominic responded to the needs of his times by founding the Order of Preachers. Following in his steps more than 800 years later, the Dominican Sisters of Peace are responding to the ever-changing plight of refugees and migrants at the border through service and advocacy.

In Tucson, AZ, Sr. Esther Calderon serves those who are in ICE Detention or those who seek refuge at the Casa Alitas shelter after their release. She brings the Eucharist and holds rosary services, offering the peace of Christ to those who in desperate need. She is also working with Columbus, OH-based Sr. Thoma Swanson, a nationally-known artist, to brighten the rooms and hallways at the Casa Alitas shelter with artwork and banners.

Nine sisters and associates have visited the border at El Paso, TX, this year to serve at the Pastoral Center at the Diocese of El Paso under the direction of Annunciation House.

Our Sisters have observed major changes in the treatment of those seeking legal entry through asylum. Fewer people are allowed to seek asylum, and are being forced to remain in unsafe environments and endure serious risks.

As a result, our Sisters have continued to serve, not only at southern border towns, but by investigating and sharing the causes of migration, and by advocating for legislation that recognizes the humanity of all who come to our borders.

Sr. Doris Regan, a long-time South American missionary who spent 18 years serving in Honduras, left retirement to travel back to South America in a “reverse caravan.” This group of 70-plus faith leaders from 14 states traveled to Honduras to investigate the root causes of migration and challenge the Honduran government to provide their citizens with a safe and just society.

In our Motherhouses and convents, Dominican Sisters of Peace act as peaceful advocates for refugees and migrants, assisting new arrivals with food, shelter, education, and legal advice. The Sisters also work with their legislators, sending letters and calling on Congress to change policies that separate children from their parents, leave migrants in danger from violence or disease, or prevent refugees from legally seeking asylum.

This commitment to social action is in keeping with our commitment to promote justice through solidarity with those who are marginalized, especially women and children, and to work with others to identify and transform oppressive systems.

Why do we serve not only with our hands, but with our votes, our letters and our hearts? Because to respond to the needs of our times, we must respond in the language of our times. We speak peace to build peace, and work, with supporters like you, to serve the common good.

Sisters Imelda Schmidt, Mary Vuong and Barb Kane stand near a makeshift altar at Tornillo. Each flower represents a child in detention.
Sr. Thoma Swanson with banners and signs that were sent to Casa Alitas.
Sr. Esther Calderon at Casa Alitas, a diocesan shelter for migrants released by ICE.
Sisters Imelda Schmidt, Mary Vuong and Barb Kane stand near a makeshift altar at Tornillo. Each flower represents a child in detention.