Sisters speak out for young immigrants
At around 11:40 a.m. on June 22, the women pulled out their cell phones and devoted 20 minutes to calling their representatives in the U.S. Senate and House to urge passage of the DREAM Act.
The Sisters of Mercy have been advocating for 10 years for the DREAM Act, legislation that would create a pathway to citizenship for young, undocumented immigrants.
“These are our brothers and sisters,” said Sister Rose Marie Tresp of Belmont, director of justice for the Sisters of Mercy – South Central Community. “God calls us to love them – especially the children, who are here through no fault of their own.”
Dial a Dream was one of the highlights of the 2012 Assembly of the South Central Community of the Sisters of Mercy, set for Thursday through Sunday at the Embassy Suites in Concord. The Assembly convenes every two years and is not open to the public.
Through the South Central Community, 630 sisters in 18 states, Guam and Jamaica work to serve the needs of people who are poor, sick and undereducated, with an emphasis on women and children.
The South Central Community is based in Belmont, where the Sisters of Mercy have been stalwarts since 1892. Among its ministries there is Holy Angels for developmentally disabled children and adults, the House of Mercy outreach to those with AIDS/HIV, and Catherine’s House, which serves women and children in transition.
Sister Rose Marie has seen first-hand the challenges facing young immigrants trying to build a better life in America. Before coming to Belmont in 2008 to serve as director of justice of the Sisters of Mercy of the South Central Community, the Texas native spent seven years as director of ethics at Laredo Medical Center in that Texas city on the Mexican border.
The Sisters of Mercy, who have served immigrants since coming to the U.S. from Ireland, will continue to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform that keeps families together and creates a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants meeting certain criteria.
Sister Rose Marie said the DREAM Act makes good business sense for a nation in need of an economic boost, as well as for young people yearning to become citizens.
“They want to become productive members of the community,” she says. “And they have the skills and talents to be assets to our society. We need them to become doctors, nurses and teachers. Economically, it’s good for our country.”