Home » Blog » Education, advocacy and service with immigrants part of sister’s border experience

Education, advocacy and service with immigrants part of sister’s border experience

Editor’s note: Sister Mary Montgomery is currently living and working on the US/Mexico border as part of the Kino Border Initiative’s program “Catholic Sisters Walking with Migrants.” Sister Mary is participating in the month-long program in Nogales Sonora, Mexico thanks to a grant from the Conrad Hilton Foundation. In today’s blog post Sister Mary shares a little of her experiences and reflections from her experience.

Feeding of the multitudes 

Sister Mary Montgomery with Sister Luz Elena at Kino Border Initiative

It’s day one at Kino Border Initiative (KBI) in Nogales Sonora, Mexico. Our own Sister Tracey Horan, who ministers here full time, shows me around for a few minutes before her meeting. I meet Sister Luz Elena, a member of the Missionary of the Eucharist Sisters. She is the coordinator of the kitchen at KBI and a SUPERSTAR in my estimation! I arrive at 7:45 a.m. Already pots on the gas stoves are steaming with good food being prepared for breakfast. There is rice, beans, eggs, and oatmeal. Other volunteers are busy chopping onions and tomatoes and other vegetables. 

I join in the chopping and listen to lots of conversation, a little I could understand. Music plays in the background. I marvel at the team work, good spirit, as well as how so much could get done in this small kitchen. I learned that most of these chopped vegetables we were preparing would be for the next day’s meal. The team of staff and volunteers work so well together serving up delicious meals two to three times a day. They make all of this food, plus tortillas, for 300-500 women, men and children every day of the year. 

I have witnessed the “multiplication of the loaves and fishes” with migrants over and over again since in the short time that I have been here at the border. I thank God for this incredible ministry and this opportunity to be a small part of it. 

Do this in memory of me…. 

My first week of a month-long immersion experience for Catholic Sisters in Nogales Sonora, Mexico — my eyes and heart have been drawn to the people and the artistry around the center. I see depictions of joy, community, compassion, hospitality, generosity, service, justice, education and team work. I observe the focus on mission and ministry with migrants in need of food, medical assistance, shelter and a place to rest. They receive services regarding their particular cases for immigration. In most cases they have traveled long and far to arrive here.

Sister Mary Montgomery, far right kneeling, near a mural at the Kino Border Initiative

This day it’s almost as if Sister Luz Elena and we volunteers blend into the large mural on the wall in the indoor dining area at Kino Border Initiative. We are each called to join in “doing this (feeding, clothing, accompanying, sheltering, etc.) in memory of me” wherever we are. Some of the volunteers in this picture are sisters from Phoenix who come to volunteer one Thursday a month, as KBI is short on volunteers on Thursdays. On this day they came with many large loaves of delicious sourdough bread … truly “breaking bread in memory of me” and sharing with those who are hungry. 

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Sister Mary Montgomery

Sister Mary Montgomery, SP, serves as the Internship Program Coordinator for White Violet Center for Eco-Justice. She also offers retreats, spiritual direction and workshops. She has a deep appreciation of nature in every season, the Sacred in the Ordinary, and the arts.

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9 Comments

  1. Debbie Griffey on November 6, 2022 at 6:29 am

    Thank you for being at the border. It fills my heart with joy to see the good and important things happening with our neighbors to the south. Thank you.

  2. Rosaline Secrest, PA on November 6, 2022 at 7:20 am

    What a wonderful mural on the wall behind you, Mary. You and your work certainly place you in that scene. Thank you for the love and care you are offering those in need along the border.

  3. Mary Jane Shurter Gates on November 6, 2022 at 8:09 am

    Amazing. I was thrilled to read this article.

  4. Jeannie Smith on November 6, 2022 at 12:05 pm

    You go, girl!! So proud to have you there at the border. Many blessings on you, all those serving, and most of all the migrants.

  5. Paula Modaff on November 6, 2022 at 2:21 pm

    Thanks for giving us a glimpse of what is happening at the border, Mary. The depiction of the Last Supper is so realistic and mirrors your ministry.

  6. Connie SP on November 6, 2022 at 3:01 pm

    Thanks Mary for connecting us to the Border ministry you are involved in at this time. May God bless abundant the work of your hands and your hearts too.

  7. Judith Collins on November 6, 2022 at 10:52 pm

    Mary, I am so glad you are there. Es una oportunidad tremenda. ¡que Dios las bendiga todas que trabajan allí!

  8. Ann Henderson, PA on November 7, 2022 at 7:50 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Mary. You gave me a vivid picture of your morning in the kitchen and breaking bread with your neighbors. Sending love and prayers.

  9. Lorrie Heber on November 11, 2022 at 7:27 pm

    How blessed are they to have your indefatigable spirit with them! So pleased that you had this wonderful opportunity to serve those so greatly in need. Much love to you.

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