News & Updates

Ministry at the Border: An invitation from God

I believe that the plight of our brothers and sisters at the US-Mexico border is one of those invitations from God that IHMs would find difficult to ignore.

At Chapter 2018, we, Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary from Scranton, PA, expressed the desire to explore the future ministerial outreach of our congregation. Hidden within this desire was an acknowledgement of our diminishing and aging membership and a concern for the continuation of the mission and our role in bringing about God’s dream for our beautiful, yet wounded, world. As so often happens when we write a direction statement at chapter, we commit ourselves to something that we sense is an invitation from God and then have to listen attentively and respond to the reality before us to see how it might unfold in the future.

I believe that the plight of our brothers and sisters at the US-Mexico border is one of those invitations from God that IHMs would find difficult to ignore. Our charism and our Alphonsian spirituality impel us to respond passionately with unconditional love to the broken and vulnerable in our world. This legacy does not belong only to IHMs from Scranton but is a gift inherited and embodied by all IHMs—Monroe, Immaculata and Scranton.

Since April 24, 2022 IHMs from the three congregations have been collaborating with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of San Diego and volunteering at their respite centers in El Centro and Holtville, CA. Over the course of the next few months, more than 30 IHMs will be a presence of love for our brothers and sisters seeking asylum at the southern border.

I am humbled to serve with these women religious from our three congregations. They are on fire with the passion to love unconditionally and they come to the border with a sense of urgency to be in the midst of the pain of our world. Each day brings new challenges and requires imagination, creativity, and fresh thinking to meet the needs of the people. Our desire is to respond with joyful, loving, self-emptying and hospitable service—the IHM spirit that we inherited from Mother Theresa Maxis and the sisters who have gone before us.

We have all made the journey to the border with the conviction that we have been called by God and that we have been SENT by our congregations. The support of our IHM sisters back home has been overwhelming! We join together with IHM sisters ministering all over the United States and beyond to bring the redeeming and healing love of God to our wounded world.

I cannot help but wonder how this current collaboration of the three IHM congregations might be related to the re-imagination of our Scranton IHM ministerial outreach in the future. Is this the first of many initiatives, ministerially or otherwise, that we will take with our IHM sisters in Monroe and Immaculata as well as with other women religious across the United States and perhaps internationally? God invites and places the opportunities before us. We only need to become more conscious of our interconnectedness and be willing to respond collectively to the needs of all of God’s creation.

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