As We Celebrate Fathers, Let US Remember Those Who Seek Safety

This month, we celebrate Father’s Day in the United States. That same day is also the UN World Refugee Day. The celebration of these two things on the same day seems significant. I find my thoughts wondering to St. Joseph and the journey of the Holy Family as refugees in Egypt. How desperate he must have been to find safe harbor for his wife and newborn babe. And while his faith must have been strong, he must have worried. Our faith has roots in the refugee experience. Many people flee with only what they can carry as the Holy Family did from Herod. Once in Egypt, we can only imagine the struggle Mary and Joseph faced finding shelter, food and medical care. The same struggle refugees and asylum seekers face today.

The foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, St. Julie Billiart, was forced to flee in 1791 because of the French Revolution. She hid for three years because she refused to renounce her faith and her love for her church. The life St. Julie Billiart, her experiences and her teaching, infuses the life and ministries of her daughters. Many of our Sisters have and do work with those fleeing crushing poverty and violence searching for a place of safety for themselves and their children.

This summer, it is expected that 20,000 refugees will enter the U.S. to be resettled. The Biden Administration did up the numbers for this fiscal year, but, in reality, the resettlement infrastructure has collapsed. Under the previous administration, the numbers were so low that a lot of resettlement organizations had to close their doors. That is why the real number will be closer to 20,000 between now and end of the fiscal year in September.

This is a wonderful thing. But there are so many more refugees worldwide. You can find out more about them and World Refugee Day here, and access a World Refugee Day toolkit here. If you would like to help locally with the process, you can contact your diocesan Catholic Charities Office and ask what you can do to help resettled refugees in your area. Lastly, this Father’s Day, if you are saying a prayer for the fathers in your life, can you say a prayer for those fathers who are desperately seeking safe refugee for their own children?

Stay active! Stay Engaged!

Teresa Phillips
Director of Office of Justice Peace and Care for Creation


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LISTEN to the recording of Witness & Grace Conversations: Migrants, Refugees, and U.S. Sisters, presented by Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Mary Alice McCabe and Liane Delsuc, and Holy Cross Sr. Veronica Fajardo. Tuesday, June 29, 2021, 3 P.M. Listen HERE.

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