Borderland reflection: Rita Amberg Waldref

“Solidarity is the conviction that we are born into a fabric of relationships, that our humanity ties us to others, that the Gospel consecrates those ties, and that the prophets tell us those ties are the test by which our very holiness will be judged.” (Bryan Hehir, S.J.)

The March 2022 pilgrimage to the Mexico-AZ Border was an overwhelming experience of solidarity. It became increasingly clear that we, whether migrant, delegate or resident on the Border, are all connected by our humanity. We are all reaching out for care and compassion, food and shelter, and an opportunity to live a dignified life. Here are three solidarity stories.

While at the Border, my heart was moved by those fleeing violence and oppression, like Patricia, who shared with me that she has attempted to cross the Border four times in hopes of a better life. During a cross planting for Enrique, a migrant who died in the desert, I blessed a fellow delegate. Our eyes met; we were moved to tears as we reflected on the life and death of this young migrant. I am reminded that “there are many things that can only be seen through eyes that have cried.” (Oscar Romero) Humanity touching humanity. Over the years, my mantra has been: It’s all about relationships. What an honor that Trini joined us at the Women’s Sewing Cooperative in Agua Prieta when she realized that our group would be visiting. Her beautifully sewn tote bags have provided an income for her family and have bonded our friendship of nearly 2 ½ years. Yes, we are born into a fabric of relationships; those relationships form God’s personal tapestry.

—-Rita Amberg Waldref

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