Religious women reflect on the challenges of the migration phenomenon

The International Union of Superiors General (UISG) organized a meeting on migrants and refugees at its headquarters, located in the Eternal City. It is the second symposium in a cycle of dialogues linked to key issues for the future of societies.

Mireia Bonilla and Sebastián Sansón – Vatican News

Analyze the root causes of migration trends and explore ways of allocating resources to promote inclusive and sustainable solutions: this is the main objective of the Sister-led dialogue on migration, promoted by the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) in collaboration with the Global Solidarity Fund. The meeting, held at the institution’s headquarters in Rome on Monday, July 3, is the second event in a cycle that began on April 17 with a discussion on climate change.

These events are structured as a series of thematic debates between government representatives, intergovernmental organizations, Vatican institutions, civil society, academia and the press. They will finish in the first UISG Advocacy Forum which will take place in October 2023 in the Eternal City.

During the day, Catholic nuns from different parts of the world reflected on humanitarian assistance, human rights, integral human development, and social cohesion, among other issues.

Put the person back in the center

Among the participants was Sister Carmen Elisa Bandeo, originally from Argentina and coordinator of the International Network of Migrants and Refugeeswho expressed his satisfaction with this meeting and explained that this space began by responding to the situation generated by the shipwreck of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea in 2013. It is a platform that has been growing, facilitating the creation of inter-congregational and international communities “to act as bridges between the local community and the community that came through the asylum seekers.”

Listen, download and share the statements of Sister Carmen Elisa Bandeo

From their experience, they have verified the need to establish themselves at an international level. Indeed, he noted that there are many projects that are underway in various countries and, in this sense, the purpose of the network is to connect them, to create sufficient ties to promote the exchange of information and reflection.

As consecrated women, they want to create a spirituality that allows them to convert to this reality that is knocking on their doors, putting the person back at the center. They invite migrants and asylum seekers to sit at the same table to talk with them, as well as with civil society actors, to promote policies that emphasize the promotion of the person.

Carmen Elisa Bandeo, Missionary Servant of the Holy Spirit.

Carmen Elisa Bandeo, Missionary Servant of the Holy Spirit.

It is not about promoting welfare, but about changing lives

Sister Nieves Crespo, a Salesian missionary who has been in Ethiopia for more than 20 years, shared her joy and gratitude for the UISG conversation. The nun commented that in the African country they are carrying out a project, between Global Solidarity Fund and five other congregations, which seeks to provide a quality response to internally displaced women, who arrive through the Missionaries of Charity, and to refugees from Eritrea and Yemen.

Listen, download and share the statements of Sister Nieves Crespo

“It is a very beautiful experience, we feel how lives are being changed,” he added. The missionary valued the activity as an enriching initiative that involves female congregations working together “in a reality that is not new and that requires a change of paradigm, of vision, of narrative, in which we are really capable of putting the people who migrate in the center”.

Crespo remarked that the focus is not to give a welfare response, but to make migrants become protagonists in a new world that has changed and will continue to change.

Sister Nieves Crespo, Salesian missionary in Ethiopia.

Sister Nieves Crespo, Salesian missionary in Ethiopia.

Religious women reflect on the challenges of the migration phenomenon – Vatican News