In November, 2018, we told you the story of the family of Alena (pseudonym, as well as the names of her children), an immigrant from Honduras, who is trying to move forward with her 4 children, thanks to the support of the Sisters and many friends of the USA Province.

Now, a year later, we reaffirm the importance of providing solid accompaniment sustained even in the midst of many difficulties. We share with you an update from the USA Province on this family.

Dear Sisters, Associates and Friends,

Here is an up-date on Alena and her family.

Good news first: The children had their petition for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status approved! That means they are on a clear path to a Green Card, but with a 2-year wait. Those with approved Special Immigrant Juvenile Status are considered “paroled” into the US so they should not be deported while they wait

Henry, the 5-year-old continues to attend the Sisters of the Sacred Heart Day Care Center 5 days a week. He’s the one making most progress in English; he likes to talk to his mother in English and perversely he enjoys most when his mother cannot understand him.

Annie, the 7-year-old is doing well as a Second Grader at Holy Cross parish school in Mount Airy. She continues to be weak in language but strong in math

Billy will be 11 years-old in a couple of days. She attends Solis-Cohen Public School as it better suits her needs academically. She is receiving counseling support.

Rosy, the 17-year old is repeating Junior year at Franklin Charter School. Her greatest challenge is math and geometry. If anyone is able to give her a hand, she will be most grateful. In the last few months Rosy has experienced some depression for which she is being treated. On October 16, at Einstein, Rosy has had 6 teeth extracted. She still needs a root canal and a cap. Thank God she now has Medicaid and some other dental insurance.

The mother, Alena, is slowly moving along in the process of establishing herself and her family in the USA. She continues to work in the laundry department, at St Joseph Villa. This work entails leaving her house at 4:30 am every weekday and every other weekend. On Sundays she takes conversational English with our Sr. Dona DeMarco. By now Alena understands quite a bit of English and she is beginning to speak it although quite timidly. She is also attending Mass in Spanish, once a month, at St Vincent the Paul Church. 

As we continue to accompany this family, I am amazed at the complexity of the issues asylum seekers need to navigate – the immigration legal process, begin to heal from past trauma, transitional housing, learning English as a second language, job readiness, parenting skills, health care issues as well as the need to nurture their psychological and spiritual hungers.

Despite the 70 million people displaced around the world today, the Trump administration has reduced the refugee quota for this country to a record low of 18,000 people for 2020. Let us strive more than ever to accompany these sisters and brothers whom society excludes. Let us offer them what Pope Francis calls us to do- Welcome, Protect, Promote and Integrate.

Thank you for your continued interest in, prayers and financial support, and prayers for this family.

Sagrario Núnez, acj