On Monday, November 6, the New York Archdiocesan Council of Women Religious (ACWR) gathered at The Center at Mariandale to put their faith into action to help migrants in need.

After learning about the migrant crisis at previous meetings, the sisters from over twenty congregations assembled blessing bags filled with toiletries, snacks, clothing, a prayer note, and more for refugees in Westchester County. The action was accompanied by a presentation by Neighbors Link, an organization that serves refugees in Westchester.

Sister Helen Hoffman, OSF noted that the two representatives from Neighbors Link conveyed information that she doesn’t hear about on the news, namely that eleven refugee families have been placed in Westchester with hopefully more to be housed by the end of the year.

“I was just happy to hear that so many families were being taking care of,” she said.

According to Sister Joan Curtin, CND, the assembly of the blessing bags was “an excellent follow-up” from previous educational sessions.

“This was a good follow-up from a previous meeting we had had about immigration,” she said. “This was work people felt they could participate in.”

Sister Connie Kelly, OP, a Dominican Sister of Hope and chair of ACWR who organized the day, drew inspiration from the Gospel message that “everyone is [our] brother or sister.”

“I think it was important for us to actually do something beyond education,” she said. “It’s really putting our faith into action. No matter who you are, if I can help you in any way, even the smallest way, I’ll do it.”

The sisters asked Neighbors Link what items they needed and designed the blessing bags accordingly. After the bags were assembled, the sisters gathered virtually with Father James Martin, SJ to talk about his experience at the Synod in Rome. He called the group to model a “collaborative, dialogical, listening way of making decisions” in which women religious are well versed.

“We were trying to model this new way of being church and of listening,” Father Jim told the group. “Women religious have been doing this for years. You can be the teachers.”

Here are photos from the gathering: