The Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph are among several communities of women religious in Kentucky and Ohio who are calling on President Obama and Congress to work together to enact comprehensive immigration reform and urge state legislators to refrain from passing laws that would restrict the human rights of immigrants.
To make this point, communities have rented billboard space in cities and towns across Ohio and Kentucky with the message: “I was a stranger an immigrant and you welcomed me.” The message, based on the words of Jesus, is taken from the Gospel of Matthew. The Ursulines of Mount Saint Joseph helped secure billboards in Owensboro, Ky., from Sept. 17 to Oct. 14 at:
- 60 E. New Iceland Road
- Carter and Old Henderson roads
- J.R. Miller Boulevard and Salem Drive
The effort is sponsored by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Region 6, and the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center. Sister Sharon Sullivan, congregational leader of the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph, is president of LCWR Region 6.
The sisters pledge to be welcoming communities and challenge their neighbors to be the same. They encourage people of faith to join them through prayer, reflection, education and action.
They note that the deferred action policy initiated on Aug. 15 does help many young immigrants who came to the United States as children. However, much more must be done. Comprehensive immigration reform is needed on the federal level to fix a system that is now broken and causing pain and suffering to families.
The failure on the part of the federal government to reform the present unworkable immigration system has resulted in some states passing legislation that is punitive and harmful to human rights. The sisters call on their state legislators to refrain from enacting such harsh laws.
The sisters understand that enforcement of the law is part of any immigration policy. They note, however, that the present policy of involving state and local law enforcement agencies in the enforcement of federal immigration law is not achieving that goal. They believe that 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.
The project to place a message of welcome to immigrants on billboards was initiated in December 2011 by sisters in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois and Nebraska and has spread to other regions.
Other orders of women religious in Kentucky joining the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph in supporting the billboard campaign include: Benedictine Sisters, Villa Hills; Congregation of Divine Providence, Melbourne; Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Nazareth; Sisters of Loretto, Nerinx; Sisters of Notre Dame, Covington; and the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville.