For today’s experience, we will be continuing with the theme of Mary in context of the nativity story. Specifically, I wanted to take this time to highlight the experience of some of the folks I’ve gotten to know while working with the Undocu Network.

ISN’s Undocu Network is a group of undocumented, TPS-holding, and DACA recipient college students and young alumni, as well as students and alumni from mixed-status families from various Catholic and Jesuit institutions. Since I began working for ISN in August, I’ve spent a good amount of time working with the core committee of organizers for this group planning our meetings, discussing how we reach out to more people, and gearing up for our in-person gathering in February.

While preparing the themes for this year’s Virtual Posadas, it was hard for me not to see the members of this core committee as Mary, bringing hope with them into the world. These young women (the core committee is currently all young women) are working hard, learning and working in a variety of fields, and constantly trying to find ways to expand access to opportunities for other. It’s hard to work in this space and not feel constantly in awe of the young people I get to work alongside.

Today’s reflection comes from Nancy, a member of this core committee, and a recent graduate of Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Here is her reflection:

In this time of the posadas, we gather to reflect on the journey of the Holy Family. Whether one is Catholic or not, as a Mexican, one cannot ignore the parties this season brings. Filled with music, piñatas, good eats, and so much more, it’s another moment to celebrate and give thanks. This year, I decided to join in on a particular reflection based on the hope the Holy Family brings. This is not to say that my family is on par with a notable family like the holy family, but what I aim to achieve in this reflection is to build a bridge between determination and dedication to bringing hope that my family and the Holy family were dedicated to delivering. 

Let’s start with the beginning. Just like the holy family, there was once a child, only a few months old, who had to escape their homeland. Chased away by the illness and lack of opportunities, this child and her family fled to a land where things could improve. However, the journey was far from easy. Mountains, deserts, secret car rides, and learning to live in a foreign land were among the hurdles they would  face. The parents knew the risks, yet they could not give up, for the children they carried with them pushed them forward. No matter what lay ahead, these parents knew that their girls would bring hope for a better future. 

In Biblical times, the Holy Family faced a similar struggle. During Jesus’s early life, the family fled their homeland. They faced the hurdles and struggles that all immigrant families face. However, no matter the hardship, they pressed onward because they knew that the child they brought with them would bring hope beyond comparison to those in need. Jesus was that hope to them, and my sister and I are that hope for our Mamá and Papá.

The journey does not end once settled in a home. You see, to bring the hope that he was destined to deliver, Jesus had to grow and learn. Only then could he fulfill his destiny as savior of the world. I also need to grow and learn to bring a similar hope to my family, friends, and community. DACA has given me a way to fulfill this duty. I can dare to dream, pursue, and accomplish what I am meant to do. My story can continue and bring hope to my parents and surrounding communities as DACA opens the door for me to go to school and dream of changing the world. It has pushed me to become better than I was before, allowing me to strive to do my best constantly. 

Now, with a passion for learning and the desire to heal, I have applied to Ph.D. programs for the coming fall. Although a different route than some may think of when they think of healing professions, I am pursuing a Ph.D. in English literature. My goal is to help create higher education environments where students of all backgrounds can feel supported, represented, and respected. There are too many circumstances where my peers or I feel pressured or ousted in the classes we attended that were made for the majority, viewing us as anomalies and presenters for the course. The environment I strive to create will allow for equality and inspire others to do the same in their everyday relationships and encounters. In demonstrating these interactions and attitudes, I can help create a healthier and happier generation of professionals and co-workers who also strive to develop such dynamic spaces. 

Thanks to DACA, even after graduating from Marquette University with double honors and Magna Cum Laude, I dare to continue my journey to give back to my community and inspire all those who are like me, the next generation of hope. We are what dreams are made of, and my family’s dreams are far from over. What we hope to do and accomplish will bring a prosperous future for our marginalized community, uniting all those who feared with those who believed. As we commemorate how Jesus brought hope to the world this season through his most holy family, let us also celebrate the thousands of others like me who bring hope to our communities and dare to dream, thanks to the opportunities DACA gives us. Happy Holidays!

Sincerely,
Nancy Suárez Jiménez

PRAYER

Good and Gracious God, we remember the words of Mary,
who upon being in the company of her relative Elizabeth,
rejoiced and gave thanks to you.

As Mary recounted, it is you, Lord,
who casted down the mighty, and who raised the lowly,
it is you who fed the hungry, and sent the rich away, empty-handed.

This prophetic proclamation came from your servant,
who, doing your will,
carried hope, in the form of Jesus, into the world.

As we accompany those who, like Mary,
bring hope into our communities, our nation, and our world,
help us to remember your justice.

Help us to find new and meaningful ways
to raise the lowly, our brothers and sisters who have been marginalized,
and feed the hungry, our brothers and sisters with material need.

Guide us as we seek to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate
our brothers and sisters who have made their homes among us,
and lift up those who bring hope into our midst.

Amén.

ACTION

Now, as we move from prayer towards action, and reflect on the hope that DACA recipients and other undocumented people bring, we move towards action. Before 2022 ends, Congress has an opportunity to take legislative action to provide permanent security for the 800,000 current DACA recipients in the United States. With this in mind, we encourage you to take action and send your congresspeople the message that we stand with DACA recipients

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