Across US, sisters among those in solidarity with immigrants at Lights for Liberty events

Bernice McCann, a Catholic laywoman, Sr. Joseph Sr. Susan Wilcox, and Brooklyn Vetter, associate director of the St. Joseph Worker program, were among the demonstrators for Lights for Liberty in New York. (NCR / Jamie L. Manson)

From New York City to the U.S.-Mexico border, thousands of pro-immigrant demonstrators in hundreds of cities gathered July 12 to protest Trump administration's immigration policies.

The coordinated protests were dubbed Lights for Liberty, featuring a logo of the Statue of Liberty, an icon of welcoming immigrants to the United States. 

A number of women religious and lay Catholics from local parishes could be found in the crowd in lower Manhattan in New York City.

Among them was St. Joseph Sr. Susan Wilcox, Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Coordinator for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood. Wilcox said members of her community were at similar rallies held on Long Island. Their presence was a way to honor her congregation's charism. 

"In the spirituality of the Sisters of St. Joseph, we say that all is one, and we take that very seriously that we are the body of Christ. So you cannot be an illegal person in the eyes of God. You still hold human dignity, and that dignity is being so demoralized at the point. And it is heartbreaking and outrageous," she said.

"The charism also says loving God without distinction," added Brooklyn Vetter, associate director of the St. Joseph Worker program. "That really is what brings me to do most things. And in the case of these detention centers, I see God in those cages."

Catholics are organizing their own dedicated action at 10 a.m. July 18 in Washington, D.C., the Catholic Day of Action for Immigrant Children, that will include prayer, a call to action by Catholic leaders, and optional nonviolent civil disobedience. Among the sponsors are the Leadership Conference and Women Religious, Network, Sisters of the Good Shepherd National Advocacy Center and the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. 

Read the full story at the National Catholic Reporter. 

Check out the latest coverage from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious 2019.