Sunday, August 9, 2009

Mercy Sisters Minister to Detainees

I have known Mercy Srs. JoAnne Persch and Pat Murphy for over twenty years and admired their dedication and hard work for refugees and immigrants. They started Su Casa as a refuge for Salvadoreans fleeing the dirty war in their homelands and more recently have rallied the religious community to the plight of the deportees and detainees around Chicago. Their hard work paid off recently when the Illinois legislature passed legislation that allowed religious ministers access to state facilities that house detainees for ICE. Now JoAnne and Pat regularly visit McHenry County Jail, the largest dentention center in Illinois. (Cook County does not have a detention agreement with ICE.) At ICE's Broadview center in the western suburbs of Chicago, the sisters have been denied the same access. But they publicized the plight of the deportees by holding a prayer service each Friday morning at the gate of the center. Bus loads of deportees hear the refrains of the rosary as they're moved to catch their planes. (See Chicago Tribune article.)

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