Francine Dempsey has been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Albany, New York, for more than 60 years. She is a retired educator, long-time justice advocate, a freelance writer and a member of the Eyes Wide Open of Northeast, New York.
Because of COVID-19, many of us are experiencing family separation for the first time. It has made me more aware of the separation enforced by immigration policies and incarceration in our country.
Soul Seeing: To relinquish the idea that I had to be a superhero, saving Syracuse for Jesus, was not easy. I mean, that's why the people in the Syracuse Diocese thought so highly of Fran Dempsey, wasn't it? She was doing such a good job of saving them.
America has a history of oppression of "the other" that renews itself over and over, unfortunately with the approval of our country's citizenry. As once we oppressed slaves, now we oppress refugees. A most painful suffering for slaves in the past and refugees in the present is separation of families.
As I celebrate my 60th year as a sister, I watch what seems a breaking of what was: convent living, common habit, rote prayers at fixed times, predictable ministry as nurse or teacher, and a sheltered, comfortable future.