Sr. Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, visited us in Michigan from June 24th through June 26, 2022. Sr. Norma has been praised by Pope Francis and others for her work with refugees and immigrants to the United States. In 2020, she was included on Time’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Her schedule included stops in Grand Rapids, Romeo, Detroit, and Ann Arbor. At every stop Sr. Norma energized and challenged us to continue to be present for the most marginalized among us — especially the immigrants from Mexico and Central America who have sacrificed everything to find better lives for themselves and their families. Sr. Norma quoted this from Pope Francis at every talk she gave over the three days: “Go to bed at night tired from doing good.”
Click here for the article in Detroit Catholic on June 27th regarding Sr. Norma’s visit.
On Saturday evening, Sr. Norma made a presentation to over 200 people at the Basilica of Ste. Anne de Detroit. We were joined by Rev. Monsignor Charles Kosanke and Paul Propson, CEO of Catholic Charities of Southeastern Michigan.
Catholic High school students from Metro Detroit had formed “Circles of Support” in each of their schools. Their first project together was to collect supplies and money for Sr. Norma before she arrived. The student presented what they had collected (including $1000, and boxes of soap, underwear, socks and toothbrushes.) When Sr. Norma received the gifts, she explained to us why she requests socks and underwear. People, including children, arrive wearing their only pair of shoes which are dirty and wet. A dry pair of socks brings them some comfort. They may be wearing their only pair of pants. A change of underwear helps to make them more comfortable as well. We take for granted these small conveniences! We need to remember some people do no have that luxury.
Sr. Norma was asked, “If you had all the money you needed, how would you use it?” She said she would give money–not to the governments–but to organizations and community agencies in Central America that could help the people directly so that they could stay in their home countries.
At the end of the presentation, the students placed their hands on her shoulders and blessed her saying:
May God, the companion be with you,behind you, above and below you.
May you be smothered by God’s presence as you walk the path of your day.
May God’s hands catch yours when you stumble and applaud when you reach your goals.
May God the companion bring you blessing.
Written by Sr. Maxine Shonk OP (Adrian Dominican) and adapted for Sr. Norma.
Click here for the Stranges No Longer website.