Immigration Working Group

Ten Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet serving at our southern U.S. Border 

Throughout the month of May keep in your prayers the ten Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet serving at our southern U.S. Border.  We are so excited now that many of our sisters are vaccinated, they are heading out to the border to offer their passion, compassion and energy to do direct service at various places including: 

San Diego

Sr. Theresa Kvale and Sr. Patrice Coolick have been at the border partnering with others from Catholic Charities, Jewish Family Services , Episcopalian, Southern Community Services etc. They have been making phone calls, accepting and sorting donations, arranging food packages, meds, hygiene, kits, etc.  In their own words, “It has been a whirlwind, frustrating, challenging, and satisfying.” 

(Above – Sisters Theresa Kvale, Patrice Coolick, and Mary, a missionary sister of Sacred Heart from Philadelphia)    

El Paso 

A crew of volunteers traveled to the border where donations were stored, sorted, repacked and labeled for shipment to Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas.  They packed over 65 boxes.

Sister JoAnn Geary from St. Louis and others volunteered organizing shelves in the clothing room and sorted surpluses and clothes for children 0 to 5. 

(Above – Sister Sandra Straub and others helping out at the border)

SAVE THE DATE! Join us on June 3 for “Sister Border Experiences,” a panel conversation with the ten CSJ Sisters returning from the border via a special zoom event.  More details coming soon!

Supporting our dear immigrant neighbors

The CSJ Immigration Working Group has long advocated for Federal Immigration Reform.  The Citizenship Act of 2021 is a sweeping and comprehensive bill addressing many of the most pressing immigration issues.  Some key points of the Citizenship Act of 2021: 

  • A path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants 
  • A citizenship path for DREAMERs 
  • Increases to refugee and asylee caps 
  • Family reunification 
  • Protecting immigrants who served in the military 
  • Improvements to immigration courts and streamlined paperwork processes 

The Citizenship Act of 2021 has passed in the U.S. House, and it faces an uphill battle in the Senate.   The CSJ Immigration Working Group is hoping to schedule meetings with our senators, Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Smith, to express our communities hopes and concerns for our immigrant neighbors. More details to come and hope you can join us in working for immigration reform. 

The group continues to support the monthly ICOM peace vigils at the Whipple Federal building. Since the end of last year, the organization has offered in-person and Zoom options for attending the vigils, making the event as safe and accessible as possible.    ICOM Vigils are held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 7:30am. Learn more. 

Solidarity with the Immigrant Community:

There are many other ways to show our support for the Immigrant community, including getting involved with the work of the CSJ Immigration Working Group:

We are grateful to the CSJ Immigration Working Group’s and many other allies continued advocacy for compassionate immigration policies, laws and relief throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops support compassionate immigration policies for families.

As COVID-19 continues to upend the lives of thousands of Minnesotans, undocumented immigrants are significantly impacted and struggling. Over 38% of immigrants work in the hardest hit service industries according to the Catholic Health Association. For more information about the impact of COVID-19 on undocumented immigrants and the response by the CSJ Community (especially the Immigration Working Group), read our COVID Immigration article.

Continue to be a Voice for Justice! Speak up against laws and policies that negatively impact immigrants and refugees including actions separating families and negatively harming immigrant children. Be a witness at local vigils showing our support of immigrants and compassionate immigration policies including the monthly Interfaith Coalition on ImMigration (ICOM) on the second Tuesday morning of every month at the Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building.


The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates, hosted a November 12 vigil in compassion and solidarity with all our ‘dear neighbors’ without exception.  The Prayer Vigil was held outside the Whipple Federal Building near Fort Snelling together with the Social Justice Committee and Choir from Lumen Christi Catholic Community, students from St. Catherine University, and the Interfaith Coalition on Immigration (ICOM).  We raised our voices in prayer and song in love and on behalf of our immigrant neighbors, especially anyone facing hearings in the immigration court and migrant families separated by our nation’s broken immigration system.  We prayed for the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. as they hear arguments on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which will decide the fate of the thousands of DACA Youth across our country.  In the words of Pope Francis, we also prayed that our eyes and hearts might be opened to truly see how these divisive issues on immigration are “not just about migrants, it is about all of us.”

The CSJ community continues to pray and actively speak out in support of our immigrant neighbors as seen in some of the following community statements:

  • The leadership of the Sisters released a recent statement supporting Immigrants and Refugees, especially children placed in unsafe detention conditions and other concerning humanitarian crises impacting our immigrant neighbors. Read the full statement.
  • The CSJ Federation Statement Welcoming and Calling for Humane Treatment of Arriving Migrants. Read the full statement here.

The CSJ Immigration Working Group Goals:

  • Educating ourselves and the wider community on issues of Immigration;
  • Advocating individually and as a community for systemic change and
  • Addressing the immediate needs of immigrant communities, locally and nationally.

For more information contact Marty Roers at