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Sister Philo Morris attends a World Refugee Day celebration held in Chester, PA.
Sister Philo divides her time between working for the Office of pastoral Care for
Migrants and Refugees, the Catholic Coalition of Migrants and Refugees and the Immigration Legal Office of Catholic Social Services.

IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES--NOT JUST A PROBLEM IN THE UNITED STATES

In the weeks following news that migrant children were being separated from their parents, Medical Mission Sisters and Associates have been inspired by the resulting outcry from across the country. In North America, our Sisters immediately went to work to collect signatures to prevent passage of the Goodlatte and Ryan bills that would fundamentally change our immigration system, permanently banning families from reuniting and eroding access to asylum.

MMS around the world know that, unfortunately, mistreatment of migrants and refugees isn’t just a problem in the United States. In Germany, for instance, loopholes in the country’s health system often stand in the way of them receiving professional care. Sister Karin Knoetig of Frankfurt was confronted with the depth of the issue when she observed the number of refugees coming into a clinic for homeless people. In 2016, she began offering medical consultations to refugees living in vans. To her dismay, many of them showed signs of emotional trauma.
Sister Karin shares: “Either they were victims of rape or torture or they saw how their own children or close family-members or friends were killed. Most of them have been on a journey for several months or years without even knowing if they will get permission to stay or not. Mostly they are not allowed to work, or they have to wait months to begin with language studies, which they need if they want to get a job.”
In the United Kingdom, the only country in Europe where refugees may be detained indefinitely, Sister Rosalinda Maog makes visits to the Heathrow Immigration Removal Center. It is the largest detention center in Britain, home to both asylum seekers and foreign national prisoners. Each year, Sister Rosalinda joins the Refugee Tales Walk, an outreach project created by the Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group (GDWG), to raise awareness about the fight for a 28-day time limit for detention in the UK. The Walk is also a way to create strong community support among refugees, asylum seekers and ex-detainees.

“My journey with this group helped me to experience being welcomed and how to welcome strangers,” says Sister Rosalinda. “I realized that even when our world is dark and life can be difficult, we would never walk alone. We have each other and we are walking together, and this gives me enough courage and strength to continue journeying with the refugees and be in solidarity with the neediest in our society.”