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Reflection

Sisters and Border Compassion

 Our Border Brothers & Sisters

Notes from Sisters after a recent Border Cross-Over with Border Compassion

Sister Teresa was born in National City, California and joined the Sisters of St. Joseph after high school. Next year she will celebrate 70 years as a Sister. Sister Teresa ministered in Peru for 33 years and since returning to the Los Angeles Province she has in various places.  For the past 13 years, she has been teaching English as a second language and Citizenship to the Latino residents in Watts at Presentation Learning Center.  Sister Teresa also uses her bilingual ability as an interpreter and translator for the Congregational Offices.   

by Teresa Avalos, CSJ

As I gazed at the many children among the migrants, I couldn’t help but wonder what difficulties and tragedies they might have experienced on their pilgrimage to the border. But what struck me today and what I admired was their resilience, smiles of welcome, trust in the goodness of adults, living in the moment, and enjoying the small treats that were offered to them. May these attitudes accompany them and help them reach other goals throughout their lives. Again, a bushel full of thanks for this opportunity. 

Sister Carol Brong recently celebrated 60 years as a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet.  She lives in Porter Ranch, a section of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County.  She values her experiences in elementary education, 25 years at Mount St. Mary’s University, and now uses those skills in community service in the Property Management Office.  She also loves 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles, Forensic Files, and walking in nature every day. 

by Carol Brong, CSJ

I went to the border crossing in February 2022. Because of my very limited Spanish, I learned a few songs to sing with the children. The children gathered to sing both in Spanish and English “I’ve got that joy, joy, joy” and “Itsy, bitsy spider.” Singing brings joy to the heart—it did mine/ours. 

Sally Koch, CSJ

Sally Koch, CSJ is a newly professed sister. She currently serves as the communications director for the Los Angeles Province. Sally grew up on a small family dairy farm in Nebraska. After receiving a degree in psychology with a minor in music from the University of South Dakota, Sister Sally volunteered with L’Arche and the Vincentian Volunteer Corps before working in campus ministry.

by Sally Koch, CSJ

Immigration is complex, people and countries are numb to people’s dignity, the human spirit struggles to hold onto hope, and family and companions are a lifeline. Much grief and lament are needed to move through the trauma present in the migrants coming to the border. 

… what struck me today and what I admired was their resilience, smiles of welcome, trust in the goodness of adults, living in the moment…
Teresa Avalos, CSJ

Our Border Brothers and Sisters series logo

In line with our commitment to defend the rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, our new blog series “Our Border Brothers and Sisters,” we present the stories that our sisters and associates who have had border experiences would like to share. We are grateful to them for their generosity. It is our hope that these stories will open us to seeing and understanding our brothers and sisters in greater depth because, as Colum McCann once said: “You can’t hate someone when you know their story.”

Read more about our commitment to migrants

Category: Reflections, Stories

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The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet are a congregation of Catholic sisters. We, and those who share our charism and mission, are motivated in all things by our profound love of God and our dear neighbors. We seek to build communities and bridge divides between people. Since our first sisters gathered in 1650, our members have been called to “do all things of which women are capable.” The first sisters of our congregation arrived in St. Louis, Missouri in 1836, and we now have additional locations in St. Paul, Albany, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Japan and Peru. Today, we commit to respond boldly to injustice and dare to be prophetic.

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