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By Sister Marie Skebe, OP

September 3, 2019, West Palm Beach, Florida – A delegation of five Adrian Dominican Sisters and one Associate accompanied Sister Margarita Ruiz, OP, to her Naturalization Ceremony, conducted August 22, 2019, by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

Sister Mary Ann Caulfield, OP, Chapter Prioress, drapes Sister Margarita Ruiz, OP, with a red scarf before her Naturalization Ceremony. The scarf was a gift from Sister Donna Baker, OP, who could not be present.

As the group arrived at the site of the Naturalization Ceremony in West Palm Beach, Florida, Sister Mary Ann Caulfield, OP, Chapter Prioress, wrapped Sister Margarita in a red scarf sent with love by Sister Donna Baker, OP, who could not be present for the ceremony.

The ambiance at the 1:00 p.m. ceremony was formal, yet warm and welcoming. Seventy-six persons from 24 countries stood as their country’s name was called and then, as a group, said the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. This was followed by the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner” and the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance by all present. The group included young couples who brought their children, who were invited to the stage to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.  

The new citizens were then given important information regarding their rights and responsibilities. Rights included voting and the freedom to apply for federal employment requiring U.S. citizenship. Responsibilities included supporting and defending the Constitution and participating in the democratic process and in their local communities. The new citizens were also reminded that they may sponsor family members to come to the United States. The ceremony concluded with the singing of “God Bless the USA.” 

Attending the Naturalization Ceremony were, from left, Associate Sylvia Raftery and Sisters Mary Ann Caulfield, OP (in back), Margarita Ruiz, OP, Teresita Ruiz, OP, Marie Skebe, OP, Joseph Eilese Hukle, OP, and Mary Jean Clemenger, OP.

Later in the afternoon, nine Sisters and one Associate gathered for a true American celebration with all the decorations, dinner, and Bingo. The celebrants were quick to congratulate Sister Margarita and to express their pride in the new U.S. citizen.

“One of the things I appreciate the most is the possibility to participate in a democratic country,” Sister Margarita said. “I love the statement which declares that no one is above the law. I am delighted that I will be able to vote.”

A native of the Dominican Republic, Sister Margarita and her sister, Sister Teresita Ruiz, OP, are both Adrian Dominican Sisters. Before coming to the United States in 2013, Sister Margarita taught seminarians of various religious congregations at the Dominican Institute of Theology in her native country. She now lives in West Palm Beach, Florida.



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