Sisters Launch Immigration Billboard Campaign
St. Louis Catholic Sisters:
Welcoming Communities for Immigrants
Sixteen congregations of Catholic Sisters in the St. Louis area have launched a campaign supporting the rights of immigrants. In their statement, the sisters say: “We declare ourselves ‘Immigrant Welcoming Communities’ in affirmation of our Catholic tradition that holds sacred the dignity of each person. . . . We invite other communities and people of faith to join us in becoming Immigrant Welcoming Communities through prayer, reflection, education and action.”
As part of their campaign, throughout the summer the sisters are sponsoring billboards across Missouri with the message “I was an immigrant and you welcomed me” (see above), based on Jesus’ words from the Gospel of St. Matthew. The first billboard was posted in Hannibal May 7; additional billboards will go up in Joplin, Camdenton, Kirksville, Sedalia, and Branson.
The sisters call for a new national, comprehensive immigration policy. State by state, enforcement-only policies meant for dangerous criminals, and indiscriminately applied, result in the deportation of innocent mothers and fathers, the separation of families, and the destruction of community.
The congregations of sisters have a rich history of serving immigrants through their ministries of education, health care, and social services, and they have long advocated for the rights of immigrants, documented and undocumented.
For Sister Eileen Schieber, “Immigration is an issue of social justice. Denying human rights and care to anyone, especially the poor and marginalized, violates Jesus’ command to love one’s neighbor as oneself.” In line with Catholic social teaching and God’s Word in the Bible, the Sisters believe that, regardless of their legal status, migrants possess an inherent human dignity that demands they be treated respectfully. Sister Kate Reid, ASC, sums up their response: “Life trumps borders.”
True security lies in building relationships and respecting human rights, and only true, comprehensive, compassionate immigration reform can deal with the crisis in our nation. Therefore, we are declaring ourselves Immigrant Welcoming Communities.
Welcoming Communities” is sponsored by the collaborative ministry of Catholic Sisters Living in the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan Area, under the sponsorship of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), Region X, including:
Adorers of the Blood of Christ
Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul
Dominican Sisters of Sparkill
Franciscan Sisters of Mary
Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Religious of the Sacred Heart
School Sisters of Notre Dame
Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word
Sisters of Divine Providence
Sisters of the Good Shepherd
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of O’Fallon
Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Louis Province
Society of the Sacred Heart
Ursuline Sisters of the Central Province
Additional sponsors for this effort include:
For more information, visit www.stlcatholicsisters.org