Monthly Archives: December 2016

Christmas Reflection from Nigeria

Dear Sisters, Associates, Friends, and Benefactors,

My reflection during this season of Advent is: Lord, make us more aware.

Map Abuja to GwagwaladaGreetings from Nigeria.   It has been long since we communicated. I do hope all is well with you. I am well and now living mainly in Gwagwalada at our Formation House. I am here to fill in for Sr. Winifred who is away this year for training for Sister Formation 200 miles away in Jos.

Here at our Formation House is so different from the Garki district in Abuja being relatively quiet. We are a Community of six including one second year Novice- Chioma Susan and one candidate –Blessing. These two women are now my responsibility.

So much has transpired since I left Detroit last year. You in the U.S. had your Election for President – electing Donald Trump. God only knows the implications for international relations let alone on the domestic scene. There were almost simultaneous elections here.

Again, the recession that has followed is devastating to the middle and lower economic strata. People are really suffering hardship. Together with this is the influx of immigrants from areas that suffer from suicide bombers and real massacres of farmers versus the cattle men. Some whole villages have been destroyed in retaliation for killing of cows that were destroying farms. Survivors are flooding into places like Abuja, Adding to this is the Middle East crisis. Is there a full scale war on the Horizon?

prince-of-peaceIndeed we need the “Prince of Peace” now, more than ever. May this Christmas unite your prayers to ours for understanding, reconciliation, respect for human life and the dignity of life.

Lord, make us more aware. You sent your beloved Son to change the course of history through his life of Grace by which your own Spirit has come to live your life within us. You have adopted us to be your children through your son and our brother Jesus.

Make us to love and honour your presence in the people you have created. Father, free our hearts of bigotry, hatred, anger, fear, and the need to retaliate. Give us grace to imitate the model you have given us in Jesus, WHO SHOWED US BY A LIFE POURED OUT WHAT IT MEANS TO BE YOUR TRUE SONS AND DAUGHTERS. Give us your SPIRIT to break down walls, demolish barriers, open dialogue, speak the truth and embrace in true brother/sisterhood. Amen

Have a blessed and joy filled Holiday.

Love and Prayer,

Sr. Elizabeth Harris

Christmas Message from Sr. Rosemarie

shvm-theadorationofthemagiChristmas Blessings!

Christmas is family time – a time for giving to and receiving from those to whom we relate.  Our Home Visitors mission embodied from the outset on the streets of Detroit and on the roads of Nigeria and in the HVM constitution calls us to witness universal love to all people.  Epiphany, or Little Christmas, raises our view that we are family with all people.  The Magi followed their star, their dream.  May we each have the dream that Christ puts in our hearts – that all will be one; we belong to one family.

Pope Francis’ encyclicals underscore that we share a common home; we are family.  The pope says that Christians must offer a dignified welcome to migrants because every human being is precious and more important than things.

“The worth of an institution (our country, our self) is measured by the way it treats the life and dignity of human beings, particularly when they are vulnerable, as in the case of child migrants.”

Hope is the key to witness the Love we celebrate at Christmas.  When we are hopeful we are energized by our Faith in the One who gifts us with Life, a life we share with all – all people and all creation.

“Jesus, in many ways you are leading strangers into my life.  Give me a humble heart, open to receive gifts from others and to receive others into my heart.  I will then learn that they are my sons and daughters, my brothers and sisters.”  Carroll Stuhlmueller, C.P., Biblical Meditations for Advent and Christmas Season.

World Day for Migrants and Refugees is January 15.  National Migration Week will be celebrated in the United States January 8-14.  This year’s theme is “Child Migrants, the vulnerable and the Voiceless.”  As we repent may we work to change our laws and behavior so that solutions can be found to the war, greed and corruption that push people and families from their homes; solutions that benefit the entire family, especially the rights and needs of children.

Could you volunteer?

As Catholics who believe in the sanctity of life, we must not be complicit in the suffering of migrants dying in the shadows.   Southwest Detroit Immigrant and Refugee Center is one organization serving such people in our very diverse metro Detroit area. SWIRC seeks volunteers to assist with the pro bono legal services they provide.  Volunteers are needed for translation and preparation of cases.   Contact Sr. Rosemarie to see how you might help care for our brothers and sisters seeking life.

Might your parish organization in southeast MI be interested in an educational reflection on immigration?  Contact Sr. Rosemarie for details.

Check out US Conference of Catholic Bishops or Latin American Working Group for news on immigration issues.