[Background: The Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart are one of eight women’s religious communities who collaborate to support Asylee Women Enterprise (AWE), a non-profit organization that assists women asylum seekers as they build new lives in the United States. The women hail from a variety of countries, and fled their homelands because of persecution. They come to the US legally and go through an extended vetting process to gain asylum here. AWE and the other religious congregations support these women by assisting with housing, employment and education, and with building community.]
Recently, several asylum-seeking women who lived with the Mission Helpers have moved on to independent living, along with jobs and/or further education. During their time living among the Sisters, the women and the Sisters formed close bonds. We cherished their time with us as we got to know each other. As we listened to their stories, we were filled with admiration for their strength, courage, faith and resilience in leaving home and loved ones behind, and starting over in an unfamiliar country. The following are excerpts from letters that they wrote to us.
“I wanted to thank you for your love and care these last years. As a 19 year old girl in a new country, my only question was, what am I going to be? Today, I can firmly say that I have a good future. I stayed at MHSH, and not a single day did I feel like I was not at home. I was surrounded by love, and good people. I will never forget how you made me feel special on my birthdays. You celebrated my life! Today, I am leaving MHSH not as a stranger but a child of MHSH who is going to follow her dream.” -G.
“To my amazing Sisters: Thank you for opening the door for me when I was homeless and had nowhere else to live. The years that I lived with you made me so attached to Mission Helpers. I feel like family and proudly call this place my second home. The words “thank you” are not enough to express how grateful and indebted I am to the entire community”. -S.
In reflecting upon our time with these women, we are profoundly grateful for their presence among us.. They have enriched our lives beyond measure.
We are also very grateful for you, who love and support us in so many ways. We wish each of you a blessed Thanksgiving with your families and friends.