“In Spain there is a big problem, yes, a very big problem, I am black and they don’t believe me but they do believe the white woman who took my backpack, and me? No. They just tie my hands”. 

That is how one of my pupils came into my class, very affected and upset about what had happened. What he highlighted the most was that because he was black he was treated worse than the person who was white, and that hurt.

I am Sr. Isabel García and twice a week I go to give Spanish lessons, first level, in SERCADE, “Capuchin Service for Development”, to people  who have  just arrived. SERCADE  takes care of sub-Saharan immigrants.

The experience of vulnerability that you feel  by sharing this space with them is very powerful, and the uncertain horizon in which they find themselves is very hard.   

They are helped with their basic needs, but they try to get ahead as their dignity demands, as human beings, through dignified work and treatment.

 Holding out hope for what they want to happen, but seeing the years go by without getting their papers,  means that for some of them their expectations begin to fade.

But I experience the reality that I am living, at close quarters, as a call to revive and reinforce that active hope in which God makes himself present in a very special way, in those who are vulnerable, defenseless, and those who do not count.

 With the desire that Our Lord transform this suffering into a dignified life, and that the dreams that they brought with them, on leaving everything, family, country…, will eventually come true.   

I quote a paragraph from Fratelli Tutti, 8, which illuminates this journey:

“It is my desire that, in this time, by acknowledging the dignity of each human person, we can contribute to the rebirth of a universal aspiration to fraternity…….No one can face life in isolation… Let us dream as a single human family, as fellow travelers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our common home, each of us bringing the richness of his or her beliefs, each of us with his or her own voice, BROTHERS AND SISTERS ALL.

Sr. Isabel García, ACI   (Madrid- San Agustín)