Sr. Karen was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal

On Sunday, December 18 , 2016 Sr. Karen was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by Walsh University, and asked to give this address to the commencement class.

 

“Bring me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Send these, the homeless, the tempest tossed, to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Please imagine for a moment all of our Hispanic brothers and sisters huddled here around me. I say that because this medal really belongs to them. They are the heroes. They are the ones who have walked the long journeys to get away from war-ravaged situations, extreme poverty, or gang activities, searching for a better life. They are the ones who have made the difficult decisions to leave loved ones. They are the ones who stand with courage and faith even in circumstances of prejudice and ridicule—yearning to breathe free. So---this is their medal! I accept it in their honor—to bring attention to them, praising them for sharing their rich culture with us, celebrating those who have attained permanent residency or citizenship, thanking them for teaching us about what it means to have deep faith and confidence in God, no matter what challenges they face.

How can I not quote Pope Francis here? About immigrants, he says: “they only want for their children what we want for ours…… “We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, see their faces, listen to their stories.” Juan just received a deportation order. He has a wife and 2 little boys to love and care for. He is faced with a serious decision: hide in the shadows in order to stay here, leave his family behind, or take his children with him and end their educational possibilities.

 

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