Spread love everywhere you go (Mother Teresa)
During this season of Advent we highlight Coralis Salvador, a Maryknoll lay missioner since 2000. After serving in different ministries in Kenya for 19 years, Coralis has transferred to the U.S.-Mexico border. She comforts and supports those transitioning and seeking safety in the U.S.
Coralis shares how a St. Francis of Assisi quote describes her service in mission at the U.S. – Mexico border:
“For we have been called to heal wounds, to bind up the broken and to call home any who have lost their way”
Amelia, a single woman in her early 40s, has cared for her nephew. Both of them fled El Salvador to prevent her nephew from being recruited by rival gangs. Sadly, the coyote van that was transporting them to cross the border had an accident that left them with serious injuries.
They were brought to our shelter by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) after they were released from the University Medical Center. They were both in wheelchairs and needed plenty of support. The nephew recovered faster and transitioned to using crutches to walk. Amelia still needed to travel to their final destination in her wheelchair.
The shelter provides several activities for the adults: books, writings, parlor or card games, sports, puzzles, sewing, knitting or bead work. Amelia learned to do bead works by making bracelets and necklaces. She felt it could help her start to earn some money to sustain her while on the road to recovery.
To help deal with their trauma, we also encourage our guests to do adult coloring. This activity allows the brain to experience relief by entering a meditative state. It lowers people’s level of stress and anxiety.
We celebrate the guests who have birthdays during their stay. Carol, our site coordinator, is a whiz at baking goodies. After dinner, we surprise the celebrant with a birthday cake and everyone at the table joins in singing for the occasion.
We volunteers serve our guests like caring for family members. We love to ease their hardships and give them a peaceful, caring transition moment before they embark on their new lives and challenges in the U.S.
As we celebrate Christ’s birth, we are reminded that “True compassion means not only feeling another’s pain but also being moved to help relieve it” (Daniel Goleman).
Thank you for your generous support and walking beside us, as a companion in mission! You make it possible for all our missioners to make a difference for those in need in Africa, Asia and the Americas. Please continue to hold us in your prayers, as we hold you in ours.
Together in mission,
Ted Miles Leslie A. Lopez, JD CFRE
Executive Director Director of Mission Advancement