Welcome Center Volunteer Reflections: Sister Margaret Lanen, SNDdeN

Welcome Center Volunteer Reflections: Sister Margaret Lanen, SNDdeN

Sisters Margaret Lanen and Ellen Dabrieo after a shopping trip

The Welcome Center: a Space of Grace

The Welcome Center is such an appropriate name for the place where asylum seekers are cared for by staff and volunteers in Phoenix. Expressions of gratitude from people from all over the world fill every area of the Center.

When I reflect on the images that touched me during these past two weeks, I remember:

  • A young Guatemalan mother carrying her baby on her back with three young children walking beside her
  • Men from Nicaragua in the Ropa room looking for clothes to wear for the journey to their destination
  • Families and individuals exhausted from their travels, stretched out on the floor for a nap before being assigned places to sleep
  • Young children smiling and returning a wave as they realize that not everyone speaks the same language
  • Lines of people in the cafeteria waiting to receive nourishing meals
  • Excited voices as people talk on their cell phones connecting with family members left behind

First published in the Phoenix Immigration Project Newsletter, May 2023