In the spirit of the FSPA provocative movement to build bridges of relationships that stretch us to be people of encounter who stand with all suffering in our Earth Community, and educating ourselves on the intersection of climate crisis, racism, and migration, the FSPA Encuentro@TheBorder group has commissioned a team to respond to an emergency call from Catholic Charities.
According to the request received via the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, “... the 19 Catholic Charities border sites in California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona are all facing the challenges of caring for many families and children. The specific points of entry are fluid. As of now, Laredo, McAllen, Tucson, Yuma, San Antonio, and San Diego are facing significant numbers of arrivals, but that can change tomorrow. Currently, the most urgent needs are volunteers who speak Spanish and financial aid to buy clothes for the children."
In response, an FSPA team, Encuentro@TheBorder, departed for Tucson on April 26 and returns May 9. The team includes: Pat Ruda, justice and peace promoter for FSPA, Sister Theresa Keller, nurse practitioner, Gundersen Health System, La Crosse, Wisconsin, Sister Rose Elsbernd, spiritual director, Franciscan Spirituality Center, La Crosse, Wisconsin, Sister Meg Earsley, host, administrative assistant and program presenter, Marywood Franciscan Spirituality Center, Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin and Sister Kristin Peters, counselor, Chicago, Illinois.
The team is collaborating with Casa Alitas in Tucson and the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.
Follow the journey
The team is sharing their experiences in a daily digest featured on the FSPA website: https://www.fspa.org/news/sisters-answer-call-at-the-border-april-25-may-9
CBS affiliate WKBT caught up with the team as they departed from the La Crosse, Wisconsin, airport. “Any time people are suffering, I would hope that we as a community would be attentive to that. And if we can help out in any matter, we should choose to do it,” Sister Rose Elsbernd says.