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Audio: Interview with Sisters Pat Murphy & JoAnn Persch on Why They Visit Detainees

April 21, 2011

Click on the arrow below to listen or go here to download the two clips.

After DWN’s National Member Conference in Austin at the beginning of April, I sat down with Sisters Pat Murphy and JoAnn Persch to learn how and why they visit detainees in Illinois.

Since 2007, Sisters Pat and JoAnn have offered emotional and spiritual support to immigrants facing deportation at McHenry County Jail and at the Broadview Service Processing Center, the last stop for detained immigrants in the Chicago area before deportation. The Sisters played a critical role in advocating for the passage of the Illinois Access to Religious Ministry Act and for national policies recognizing the need for humane treatment of detained immigrants. Their work serves as an ecumenical catalyst, engaging other faith communities to attend to the needs of detained immigrants. Their ministry combines weekly prayer vigils and individual detention center visits to help bring hope and support to immigrants (and their families) facing the uncertainty and harshness of immigration detention and the deportation process.

The Sisters have a long history of service to immigrants, going back to work in Latin America in the 1960s and, notably, their founding of Su Casa in 1990 to provide housing to refugees fleeing Central America.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. James Bazan permalink
    April 22, 2011 4:01 pm

    Thank you for posting this audio link. I follow the Sisters of Mercy Twitter feed, and admire their work. As far as I know, our Lord only offered one set of criteria for our judgment: did we feed the hungry, slake the thirst of the parched, clothe the naked, and comfort and visit the sick and imprisoned?

    Because of the virulent dehumanizing language created by the eugenicist anti-immigrant movement, these transnational sojourners are often demeaned to the status of “least.” My faith life is thereby tested by my response to them. It is indeed humbling to know that my salvation depends on the suffering of these others.

    How impoverished I would be without these brothers and sisters in my life. What a tragic mistake it is for my nation to deny the opportunity for welcome that they offer us.

  2. Delaware Bob permalink
    April 22, 2011 10:04 am

    Are they talking to immigrants or illegal aliens? There is a difference, you know. Illegal aliens have no right to be in this country and should be deported. These illegal aliens have NO RIGHT to break our laws. I say a prayer every night they will have a saft trip back to their own country where they belong

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