The call of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word is to make the love of God as shown in the Incarnation a real and tangible presence in the world today. This means that we have a particular responsibility to practice the love of Jesus as shown in the Gospels, in the present and in our own reality, wherever we are.
The love of Jesus was inclusive and compassionate, especially toward the poor and those most in danger of being cast aside because they were considered dangerous or different. Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of these least of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). In instructing the Israelites on living holy and just lives, God said: “The foreigner who lives among you must be treated like one of your own. Love them as you love yourself, for you too were a foreigner in the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19:34).
Recent actions against our brothers and sisters who are considered to be alien, dangerous, different, and a threat to the status quo has caused great fear and suffering. Any time a group of people is separated from the human community because another part of that community determines they are a threat, our faith and tradition demand that we speak against and act for.
The Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word stands alongside voices of our own faith tradition, and others, who have issued statements against recent extreme actions by the Executive Branch of the United States government which in some cases is a violation of the US Immigration and Nationality Act.
Earlier this year, Pope Francis spoke out against proposed bans on immigrants and refugees, saying “all nations must focus on service to the poorest, the sick (and) those who have abandoned their homelands in search of a better future for themselves and their families. If I say I am Christian, but don’t do these things, I’m a hypocrite.” The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, of which we are a member said, “We vow to continue to welcome refugees and minister to immigrants” (statement issued January 30, 2017).
We are a congregation founded by immigrants, for immigrants. Their faith and fortitude made this country a refuge for freedom. We stand for and with our brothers and sisters who still have the trust and courage to leave all that they know and love to build a better life for themselves and others.
On the header: A boy from Syria poses near his tent in the refugees camp of Eidomeni. Photo: Shutterstock.