Students Experience Sisters’ Ministry at U.S.-Mexico Border

February 22, 2018

Praying at the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Douglas, Arizona.

Students and faculty from Academy of the Holy Angels in Demarest, N.J., spent time in prayer with School Sisters of Notre Dame at the wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. "What separates us does not divide us," observed Student Katelyn Spinks. See more on Facebook.

February 23, 2018

Students and faculty from Academy of the Holy Angels joined with School Sisters of Notre Dame who minister at the U.S.-Mexico border to plant a cross at the sight where the remains of an unidentified migrant were found in the desert on Nov. 22, 2011. "The combination of Native American spirituality and Catholic ritual was great," said student Katerina Poulos. "With the migrant being unknown, we were invited to envision his family at their kitchen table being overcome with the feeling of their loved one."

February 20, 2018

Students from Academy of the Holy Angels in Demarest, N.J., on Monday began their week-long immersion experience with SSNDs who minister on the U.S.-Mexico border. “Today we walked the wall on both the U.S. and Mexico sides," said Carol Fay, a faculty member who is accompanying the students. "The contrast was startling.”  
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February 21, 2018

 High school students participating in the SSND immersion experience on the U.S.-Mexico border gathered in Douglas, Arizona, on Tuesday evening for the Healing Our Borders Prayer Vigil. During the weekly vigil, participants pray and hold up crosses bearing the names of those who died while trying to cross the border into the United States. "The immigration issue is said to be black and white, but it is not black and white," said Melina Tidwell Torres, one of the students from Academy of the Holy Angels in Demarest, N.J.

February 13, 2018

Academy of the Holy Angels students and faculty will be participating in the SSND MAP program at the U.S.-Mexico border. From left, Carol Fay, chair of the Religious Studies Department; students Melina Tidwell Torres, Kyra Cseh, Katerina Poulos, Rianna LeHane and Katelyn Spinks; and Kathleen Sylvester, Director of Campus Ministry.

Five students and two faculty members from Academy of the Holy Angels in Demarest, New Jersey, will travel to Douglas, Arizona, Feb. 19-24, for an immersion experience with School Sisters of Notre Dame who minister on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The SSND Mission Awareness Program (MAP) offers participants a fresh awareness of our oneness, our interconnectedness and our interdependence while sharing in prayer, community and ministry with the SSNDs. In Arizona, the group will learn more about migrant concerns while exploring life in a diverse border community.

In preparation, the participants have been meeting during lunch periods, watching videos and reading articles about immigration and border issues. One student has been speaking with her own mother and grandmother about their experiences coming to his country.

The students shared what they hoped to learn from the experience:

“I would to expand my knowledge and understanding of our nation’s immigration system and learn about the people that are affected by it. Our perspective of the Mexican-American border is so limited because of where we live. After having experienced the culture and people in border communities, I hope to understand the situation from a human perspective.”
- Rianna LeHane

“During my time in Arizona and Mexico I hope to gain more of an understanding and perspective on immigration in our country and how it affects hundreds of families in the United States. I also want to see, firsthand, how different groups of people are contributing to the welfare of undocumented people who have/are struggling with the immigration system in the United States.”
- Melina Tidwell Torres

“I hope to learn what is truly happening to the immigrants and what they have to endure in order to enter the United States. I hope to gain another perspective of the immigration issue so I can spread awareness back home.”
- Katelyn Spinks

“Through this service trip I hope to become more informed and have a better understanding as to what role the United States government is playing while people risk their lives every day. I want to understand Operation Streamline better and hear from immigrants challenges they faced when crossing the border.”
- Katerina Poulos

“I hope to hear real people’s stories to learn more about what people are experiencing and feeling because when people speak about immigration, it seems so impersonal. Really knowing what people must endure will allow me to raise awareness about the daily struggle for so many people.”
- Kyra Cseh