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JRS/USA Director of Missions Helps Author New Book on Refugees
September 20, 2018

JRS/USA Director of Missions Helps Author New Book on Refugees
The cover of "Blessed are the Refugees" by Fr. Leo J. O’Donovan, SJ.

Washington DC, 20 September 2018  – Fr. Leo J. O’Donovan, SJ, Director of Mission for Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and former President of Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. (1989 to 2001) helped to write a timely and moving book entitled "Blessed are the Refugees: Beatitudes of Immigrant Children" that highlights the stories of immigrant children who fled Central America. 

In the book, he relates the stories of children and young people who have fled Central America alone to escape violence and desperate poverty. Eight story-reflections, each based on a different Beatitude and recounting the experiences of these youths, are written by attorneys and volunteers of Catholic Charities’ Esperanza Center of Baltimore. 

The stories and reflections are accompanied by artwork created by a young immigrant and her brother, along with prayers written by Fr. Leo. The publication helps us see the Gospel story that is being enacted at our border. 

The book is currently availible online at the prepublication price on Oasis Books website.

At the end of Chapter 1 “Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit", Fr. Leo writes the following prayer:


                                                       “Simply Trust God”

                                           Lord, we hear you again telling us

                                           that it is a blessing, happiness,

                                           God’s celebration of God’s hope for us,

                                           when we are poor.

                                          The poor, and above all whoever is poor in spirit,

                                          whoever has little or nothing but confidence in God,

                                          you begin by teaching us, Lord,

                                          they are blessed, happy, joyous before your Father.

                                          It is not, Lord, what we expect to hear.

                                          The people of Israel thought poverty was a misfortune.

                                          And when we today look around us

                                          and see the dispossessed fellow human beings who are poor—

                                          without any material resources, in the most material meaning of the word—

                                          we instinctively ask:

                                          Are they happy?

                                          Can their unreserved trust in God—“in spirit”—

                                          be the source of real happiness?

                                          Can an abused young girl like Maria really be happy?

                                          Who believes that in the world around us?

                                          And yet it is exactly what you say, preach, teach, and proclaim.

                                          Here on this imagined mount where God meets God’s people,

                                          you tell us—comfort us, challenge us, call us—

                                          to believe that simply to have trust in God is beatitude indeed.

                                          For the reign of God,

                                          the realm of God’s kingdom,

                                          is where God first cares for the poor.

                                          As God is caring now for Maria.

                                          By: Fr. Leo J. O’Donovan, S.J.

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