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Local crafters have made dozens of rosaries that will be given out to migrants. Photo: https://catholicphilly.com/Gina Christian
Local crafters have made dozens of rosaries that will be given out to migrants. Photo: https://catholicphilly.com/Gina Christian

Parishioners from Northeast Philly church send hand-crafted rosaries to the U.S. border

They will be handed out by nuns that make regular mission trips there to provide humanitarian aid.

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Local crafters at St. William Roman Catholic Church in Northeast Philly are making dozens of rosaries for migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The project is inspired by the church’s two week visit to the border, where over 200 nuns from around the country will send clothes, food, and supplies. The mission is called, Catholic Charities USA, an outreach organization with the goal of providing humanitarian assistance for vulnerable migrants.

Along with other supplies, the volunteers will bring homemade rosaries made of green, white, and red materials — representing the colors of the Mexican flag and the colors of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

They are hoping the rosaries can give immigrants faith and persistence as they try to head to the U.S. to live a safe life.

Mary Sister Rose Patrice Kuhn, a nun from St. William, is one of many heading to the border, and it’s something she’s done for a long time. She will be going to El Centro, located in Southern California near the border, in hopes of reaching out to migrants.

Sister Kathy Benham, a nun from St. Francis de Sales Parish in West Philadelphia, said in an interview with Catholic Philly that despite political standpoints, migrants coming from Central America and Mexico, still have great mental and physical trauma from their difficult journey to the border.

The process is also dangerous.

“People arrive with just the clothing on their back,” she said. “A lot of times, they need shoelaces, since those are taken from them at the border.”

Other migrants are forced to leave their possessions behind, or in some cases, their belongings get stolen after a violent altercation while trying to flee their home countries.

After spending days traveling through deserts, forests, and rivers, when they finally get to the border, they are forced to play the waiting game.

“They have ankle bracelets on when they get to their families, and they must make their immigration court dates,” Sister Kathy said. “And they can still be deported.”

Despite the grueling experience of traveling to the border, immigration is on a major incline.

According to the BBC, the number of migrants intercepted at the border had been steadily rising since April 2020, but since President Biden took charge in January there has been a spike.

In May, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) saw its highest monthly total in more than 20 years of just over 180,000 migrants.

However, immigrants heading to America from Mexico, Guatemala, and Venezuela are coming to the country in an effort to escape terrorism, government corruption, and crime.

Since almost 60% of Latin America identifies as Catholic, rosaries are a powerful sacrament and a prayer guide to many. 

For many Catholics, rosaries symbolize strength, determination, and a sign of hope. Handing out rosaries in the U.S.-Mexico border can boost the spirits of migrants that are waiting to seek asylum.

The immigrants who travel to the U.S. from Central America and Mexico are seeking new opportunities for their families. For the nuns traveling to El Centro with supplies, clothing, and beads packed in their suitcases, they hope to see immigrants explore a new life in America.

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