By Lisa Martin
For The Catholic Messenger
A weekend of meetings and special events occurred during the annual General Assembly of the Congregation of the Humility of Mary (CHM) June 21-24 on the campus of St. Ambrose University in Davenport. More than 60 sisters and associates attended the meeting, with some traveling from across the United States, Mexico and Canada to be present.
The CHM General Assembly is a time for spiritual renewal, community business, sharing among members, and celebration. This year’s theme was “Embracing Transformation — Listening with an Open Heart” and featured keynote speaker Sister Addie Lorraine Walker, SSND, PhD. Sr. Walker’s overall message emphasized the CHM identity as strong, wisdom women whose fidelity to the values of their model, Mary the mother of Jesus, has prepared them to support others through deep listening, prayerful hope and inclusive hospitality.
Sister Mary Ann Vogel, CHM president, said, “The CHM mission is to work for justice within the human family. It was only right that at this moment in time, at the CHM Assembly, we should adopt the ‘CHM Action Statement on Comprehensive Immigration Reform’ which calls for a halt to immoral policies and practices. What does love your neighbor as yourself mean? Certainly not separating parents and their children.”
The sisters held a prayer service for immigration reform around the Peace Pole at the Humility of Mary Center in conjunction with adoption of the immigration statement:
“The Congregation of the Humility of Mary supports and stands in solidarity with the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in affirming our commitment to comprehensive immigration reform.
“In grateful remembrance of our founding members who emigrated from France to educate the children of immigrants fleeing their home countries because of poverty and oppression we embrace our own immigrant beginnings.
“We join with other people of faith in seeking to replace the radically unjust U.S. immigration system with one which is just, humane and compassionate.
“We call for a halt to immoral policies and practices.
“As women of faith, we challenge our national leaders to join with us in assuming responsibility for bringing an end to inhumane immigration policies. Paramount among these are the separation of children from parents, the housing of children in detention centers, the cruel uncertainty clouding the lives of eligible DACA recipients for whom this nation is their only home, and the closing of our doors to asylum seekers.
“We make this pledge as followers of Jesus Christ and our pioneer sisters and in solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of persons enduring irreparable harm at our borders.”
The statement was affirmed by CHM members and associates at the CHM Congregational Assembly, June 22, and adapted from a statement of the Sisters of Charity, BVM, on the occasion of their 185th anniversary. This call to action is made in solidarity with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ statement on immigration reform, June 13, 2018.
In addition to affirming the immigration statement, the Sisters of Humility:
• Hosted a 100th birthday party for Sister Cecelia Vandeberg.
• Held a CHM associate re-commitment ceremony.
• Held a memorial service for the five sisters and associates who died since last year’s assembly.
• Celebrated a Jubilee Mass at Christ the King Chapel recognizing the anniversaries of sisters and an associate celebrating their years of commitment within the CHM community
(Lisa Martin is communications director for the Congregation of the Humility of Mary, Davenport.)