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February 17, 2022, Washington, D.C. – Sisters Donna Markham, OP, and Norma Pimentel, MJ, are defending the humanitarian and Gospel ministries to immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border by Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) against Catholic detractors who accuse them of luring immigrants across the southern border and even engaging in human trafficking.
CCUSA and its agencies – including the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas – have received hateful, furious phone calls and unfair coverage on Fox News and other media outlets.
“Our work is humanitarian,” said Sister Donna, President and CEO of CCUSA, told America Magazine. “It is grounded in our faith.” She noted that Catholic Charities has been doing this work – mandated by the Gospel – since 1910. “This is really our identity, and we don’t have any intention of stopping this ministry.”
As Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grand Valley, based in Brownsville, Texas, Sister Norma defended her agency’s work at the respite center in McAllen, Texas. The respite center serves people who have left their homeland because of “dire circumstances” and who have been allowed to enter the United States by the federal government, she told America. “We simply offer humanitarian assistance in their time of crisis.”
Read the entire article, written by Kevin Clarke. In addition, read a statement by the General Council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, standing by the work of CCUSA.
February 17, 2022, Adrian, Michigan – The General Council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters issued the following statement in defense of Catholic Charities USA and its humanitarian, Gospel-based ministry with immigrants at the Southern border.
We are deeply troubled by the vitriolic attacks on Catholic Charities USA and its Rio Grande Valley agency in Brownsville, Texas, renowned for their outstanding humanitarian work in fidelity to the Gospel, supporting migrants and refugees as well as Americans in need. The attacks, coming through hateful phone calls and vicious commentary, have been spurred by false media reports that Catholic Charities is aiding illegal immigration and engaged in human smuggling and profit-making.
Nothing could be further from the truth – nor more hurtful.
Catholic Charities aids 15 million people each year suffering from poverty, homelessness, natural disasters, mental illness, as well as migrants and asylum seekers. Among those subjected to harsh attacks are our Adrian Dominican Sister Donna Markham, OP, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, and Missionaries of Jesus Sister Norma Pimentel, MJ, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley and its Humanitarian Respite Center.
We are honored to stand in solidarity with our Sisters Donna and Norma and all the people with whom and to whom they minister with such compassionate care out of faithfulness to our Catholic faith and Judeo-Christian tradition. We pray for an end to the mean spiritedness that seems to have gripped so many in our nation and for a softening of hearts that will permit us all to enter into honest encounters, as sisters and brothers created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27), seeking understanding and respectful engagement with one another.
Members of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ General Council are Sisters Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress; Mary Margaret Pachucki, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor; Frances Nadolny, OP, Administrator and General Councilor; and Patricia Harvat, OP, and Elise D. García, OP, General Councilors.