In October Florence de la Villeon RSCJ who runs the migrants' desk for the International Union of Superiors General based in Rome, spent a few days with us. Prior to this ministry Florence, who comes from France, was part of an international, inter-congregational community of sisters in Sicily, supporting newly-arrived migrants and liaising with local people and NGOs.
Florence divided her time between Newcastle, where she gave a full day's presentation to the religious of the diocese (top photo) and London (below), where she delivered a shortened version in Roehampton. We were enormously grateful that, overall, so many of us could listen to her experience and have our perceptions challenged and broadened, and be enabled to understand often complex issues in a new way. Her sharing was extremely moving, disturbing and powerful; she left us with questions that have no immediate answers and that leave us feeling helpless.
One thing that we can do is to let migrants know they are welcome. On the 27th September Pope Francis launched the Caritas Share the Journey campaign, saying "hope is what drives the hearts of those who depart... It is also what drives the hearts of those who welcome: the desire to meet each other, get to know each other, to dialogue". We were invited to add our picture to the others now appearing world-wide, especially on social media, welcoming all migrants.
You can read more about the campaign here...