Today we were blessed with the presence of six Green Valley and Tucson Samaritan women, who spend many hours a week saving the lives of migrants in the desert. These dedicated women carry gallons of water and cans of food into the harshest corners of our Sonoran desert and also spend time in a migrant shelter in Nogales, MX where they heal the wounds of disillusioned migrants and cook hardy meals to warm their burdened spirits.
We remembered LILIANA RAMIREZ GARCIA, who died when she was 23 years old, and her grieving family. May she rest in the peace of our loving God.
Today, students and teachers from the Academy of the Holy Angels in Demarest, New Jersey walked with us toward the San Pedro River to pray for and remember the spirit of MARIA ESTHER ALARCON CRUZ, whose remains were found a few miles north of the Mexican border, on October 8, 2007. She was 37 years old when she left her home and family trying to fulfill her dream of offering a full and meaningful life to her children and grandchildren. As a group we sang, in full voices, that “All are Welcome, All are Welcome, All are Welcome, in this place”.
We returned to the massive Huachuca Mountains today to honor the life of MARTA YOLANDA PIÑEDA GONZALEZ, who lost her life in 2007 at the age of 35. May her spirit rest in the peace of the One who also suffered and died as a migrant in our world.
Why does a 16 year old girl die in our desert? Was Ofelia trying to be reunited with her parents? Was she coming to the US to make money to send home to her family? We don’t know for sure, but we do know that her death was unnecessary and unjust and probably very painful.
Today we cried for this young girl whose dreams died with her in the desert.
Planting Crosses Poem by Sister Helen Jones, SSND: planting-crosses-poem
On a beautiful winter day we traveled to the Chiricahua Mountains to remember and pray for a man, his name unknown to us, who perished while attempting to fulfill his dream to be reunited with family or simply to find dignified work to support his children left behind.
Six Sinsinawa Dominicans from Wisconsin accompanied us in our prayer for this traveler and for his family who are still waiting for his return.
Today, 31 of us remembered MARGARITO NAVARRO GONZALEZ on the Grill ranch in the Chiricahua Mountains, accompanied by the family who found his remains three years ago. It was extremely moving to listen to Frances Grill share the experience of finding Margarito’s body near a water tank that had not as yet been filled for the season.
This poem by Clarisa Pinkola Estes was shared by Peg Bowden:
Today this was our prayer for RUFINO OLIVER DURAN, age 25, who died in an auto accident on 7/26/16 near Willcox, AZ.:
“Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the gentle night to you.
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you.
Deep peace of Christ,
of Christ the light of the world to you.
Deep peace of Christ to you”.
Today, on a beautiful early winter day, 15 people walked in the foothills of the Chiricahua Mountains to remember in prayer a traveler whose life journey came to an abrupt end on July 19 of this year . Our prayer was that all human beings have “a place at the table”, enjoying full dignity and a happy life. Today we were blessed with the presence of Father Ron Wekerle, son of Dana and Rich Wekerle, who is now serving in Morelia, Michoacan. We are grateful that Father Ron could share in this memorial with us.
The Whetstones have been the final resting place for numerous travelers looking for a more dignified life. The gentleman we remembered today had walked for four days to arrive at the spot where he returned his spirit to God. We prayed for him and his family and for our country who so easily rejects “the stranger”. May God forgive us!