(Nogales, Mexico) March 3, 2011 — My name is Rosalba Avalos Ramos, I am a Missionary Sister of the Eucharist and a member of the Kino Border Initiative.
Each experience we have is marking a path of growth in all aspects of who we are, at least in my life as a sister it has happened, changes, responsibilities and destinations are an opportunity to find myself and let God find me. These experiences have led me to discover and develop potential that I never imagined reaching and the most significant aspect is to experience myself as a woman in constant search for the will of God. I consider this value inherited from the formation and training provided to me by my parents. My mother was a courageous and hardworking woman and my father was a hardworking and responsible man in all his tasks.
After seven years of serving in an educational ministry, I felt the call to be where life was leading me, where the God of the poor has a compassionate and softened heart that hurts because of the pain of those who have nothing, those who are considered foreigners, those that let go of and renounce everything, even their own families by risking their lives to search for economic security that will rid them of hunger and satisfy their thirst for justice and provide dignity for them and their families. It was through the migrants that God knocked on my door again, "taking me to the desert, talking to my heart" (Hosea, 2:16) inviting me once again to be with Him, and these men and women who cry out, fight, search, love, laugh and cry.
At the shelter, Nazareth House, that tends to deported migrant women, I have encountered feelings of helplessness, feelings of impotence, sadness and indignation due to the injustices and abuse that these women experience. These women still feel like foreigners in their own land because their country is not able to offer them the right and dignity that they deserve. My heart fills with compassion and sadness when they express: “I just want to work and in Mexico there aren’t any job opportunities;" “my children don’t have shoes and they’re hungry;" “my hope is to give them a better life, to give them an education so that they don’t have to struggle like I have;" “I want to rescue my family from poverty."
These cries of pain and suffering and much frustration, are the cries of the poorest among the poor and this is where I feel my calling and where life is leading me. This is where the most powerful people have turned their backs on these migrants and they put their hearts into ambition, oppression and power, creating a culture of violence, death and poverty, overshadowing the hope of those who are victims of their selfishness. As a result, migrant women arrive at our shelter, without hope, with their hearts destroyed by suffering, despair, fear, and sadness.
However, my time accompanying the women at the shelter, has also been a time of grace, we have laughed together, joked about their experiences at the border, together we have found peace, together we have been able to heal some of the physical and spiritual wounds. I have also enjoyed watching the spiritual and emotional transformation that some of the women have accomplished in short a period of time. We do not offer them work or money, or solve their financial problems, but we offer an atmosphere of prayer, reflection, and an opportunity to find themselves and to find God. This experience helps them find some peace, hope and to heal their hearts and self-esteem.
Learn more about the Kino Border Initiative on their website here.
Read another Voices story about the KBI here.