Sister Teresa Gunter sees local needs from a distance

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Categories: News, Vocations

Pope Francis recently issued an invitation to “Share the Journey” with the millions of migrants around the world. Sister Teresa Gunter recently traveled to the U.S./Mexico Boarder. Read her story on how she “shares the journey” with our migrant brothers and sisters in Christ.

Original article published on Wed. January 9, in The Message:

Shortly after Thanksgiving, I traveled to the U.S./Mexico border to help our brothers and sisters who are walking in the caravan.  Benedictine Sister Gail Hamilton and I went to Eagle Pass, Texas, which is about a mile from the border, to help out another Benedictine, Sister Ursula  from Boerne, Texas. We visited a migrant home that houses around 50 people a night. It is always at capacity. Some have been there for a couple of weeks, and some just stay for a day or so. We also visited orphanages, soup kitchens, and places where people slept (public parks and under bridges). We helped Sister Ursula with her food bank and clothing closets, and delivered diapers, shoes, toys and meals.  I did a whole lot in five days – and this is what I learned:

  • Many of our brothers and sisters are struggling – everywhere.
  • As important as it is to go help immigrants to get their paperwork, and find jobs or places to live; we have people in our own backyard that need nine dollars to get an ID card.
  • As important as it is to make sure that our foreign brothers and sisters have jackets, blankets, shoes, socks and places to sleep, it is just as important for our neighbors here in Southern Indiana to have the same. Just as the migrant home I visited is always full, so are our homeless shelters in Southern Indiana.
  • Orphanages and places for senior citizens there in Mexico were subpar. Are ours much better?
  • I learned that it is important to help wherever we are called and to do what we can. Maybe it’s just dropping off towels and blankets at a shelter, or ordering 10 large pizzas for a soup kitchen.  Maybe it’s leaving new socks and underwear at a clothes closet – and leaving toys where kids can find them and play a little.

We have brothers and sisters all around us who need something. Can you help them?

I’m going back to the border in May; but between now and then, I’m helping people here.

“Sister T” is director of vocations for the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand, and youth minister at All Saints Parish in Evansville.