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​LCWR Region XII congratulates Sister Norma Pimentel

November 18, 2020 | posted by Today's Catholic newspaper

Topics: Vocations

LCWR Region XII congratulates Sister Norma Pimentel

Region XII of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious congratulates Sister Norma Pimentel, Missionary Sister of Jesus, who was named by Time Magazine as one of its “100 Most Influential People for 2020.” She has received many awards and recognitions on multiple levels for the crucial ministry she has rendered to immigrants — primarily from Central America — fleeing their homes due to violence and/or dire poverty. What we women religious know of Sister Norma is that she willingly shares the limelight. She understands the impact of collaboration, for she consistently credits the generosity of the people of the Rio Grande Valley and others who have responded to the cry for help from the waves of immigrants flowing across the Texas border since 2014.

Since 2014 well over 100,000 people have been served and housed by the welcoming centers created by Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley and in El Paso at Annunciation House. Numerous other non-profit organizations and advocacy groups such as the Salvation Army have joined her efforts to offer support. Large numbers of volunteers traveled to the Valley from throughout the United States to help with the great number of people needing temporary assistance at the Texas Border. Most are young families, parents with their children, who could no longer tolerate the grave violence and persecution.

In her words, “We are a people of God, people driven by the presence of God in ourselves and in others. When we see human suffering, we cannot turn our backs, we must respond. It is my hope that this recognition (by Time Magazine) will bring more understanding and help people see more clearly what we can each do to respect all human life.”

Sister Norma -- and thousands of others like her -- have focused on the needs of the people in front of her as they await their court date or clearance to move on to other places. Nor could she ignore the needs of hundreds of families fully released after their detention or to the care of the Respite Center in McAllen.

Because of recent changes in immigration regulations, Sister Norma visits the Matamoros tent camp of those still hoping for asylum in the United States. She and the few volunteers allowed by Mexican officials continue to visit the people there. They take what is needed to alleviate their suffering and to be the presence of Christ for those who continue to hope for their day in court even though for now the legal process has been suspended.

When Pope Francis called Sister Norma forward at Sacred Heart Church in McAllen during his virtual papal audience in 2015, he thanked her and all who work with her, declaring “I love you.” The words were meant not only for Sister Norma — although she has been a powerful beacon of hope and an enduring model of compassion; they were also meant for everyone who works on the Texas border, everyone who sees and hears the cry of those who are suffering needlessly and gives of themselves make a difference.

LCWR Region XII salutes Sister Norma Pimentel who voices the plight of immigrants and encourages all who continue this work of mercy day after day that now must be pursued on the other side of the border.

To contribute to Project Restoring Human Dignity contact Tracey Perez, Catholic Charities Rio Grande Valley, at (956) 702-4088, or Sister Colette Brehony, IWBS, in Corpus Christi, at (361) 455-1802.