By Sr. Judy Molosky

judymoloskystory1God granted me a 24 hour trip to San Diego and Tijuana on December 4, 2018. I was met on the San Diego side of the border by Amanda and Carly of the American Refugee Committee (ARC) from Minnesota. They were on "assignment" to find religious sisters working with the Caravan and refugees in Tijuana. With them, I was able to visit both Casa de Los Pobres, run by Sr. Armida and Instituto Madre Asunta, run by Sr. Adelia. They are both inspiring women on a MISSION of service with hungry and lost adults and children in the border town of Tijuana. Because of the upsurge in refugees since the arrival of the Caravan, Sr. Adelia has noticed that the "light in the women's eyes has gone out," for those at her shelter. Once hopeful to seek asylum, they now wait for their ICE number to come up with fear and trembling, one had #1326 and another #1531.

Later in the day, we visited the new site where the 5000 in the Caravan stay, 11 miles east of downtown Tijuana. It's a stadium type area with a covered space for the families. Others, mostly young men, had camping tents scattered all over the concrete public area. We entered the area freely, talked with adults and played with children. We met 21-year-old Nelson, who wants to come to the USA, as they all do. He was raised Catholic. He shared how monjas (nuns) accompanied them all through Guatemala. Nelson shared that the nuns accompanied them in case anyone fell along the wayside; "no one should die alone," said the nuns.

judymoloskystory4Some international service agencies appeared to be available under tents, like the UN High Commission on Refugees and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), World Vision, Red Cross, and UNICEF, but the lines were more prominent as cars drove up offering blankets or clothes. There was a hot food distribution area with a very long line. We left around 5 pm as the clouds were coming for the night storm. Where is hope in a foreign land when returning home means death? Their hope lies in God, who will not abandon them — we heard that over and over.

The next morning we met at a San Diego shelter, a former retreat center, with 100+ cots in the gym area. The San Diego Organizing Project (SDOP) — part of PICO National Network — runs this new emergency shelter where 30 to 50 people arrive each day from a bus sent by ICE. Soon they will run out of room, but their "command central" is key! It is a room filled with computers and 

transportation volunteers helping each arrival get to their designated USA location for their immigration or asylum court hearing. In the meantime, they need to be fed and cared for. Volunteers are needed for everything, including driving to bus station or airport. Spanish speakers inquire within!!!

Sr. Judy Molosky

Our St. Joseph Workers are going this weekend to do "all that woman is capable" and Sr. Patrice Coolick is planning on a month long stay over the holidays where her nursing and bilingual abilities will be invaluable! My admiration for SDOP went way up when I learned that Sr. Maureen Brown (Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet- Los Angeles) is their co-chairperson. We are everywhere! May people of faith and hope respond to this emergency with full hearts!

Editor's Note: The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph is covering our congregations' involvement at the U.S.-Mexico border. If you are or know of any sister, agregee, associate, St. Joseph Worker or partner in mission who is working at the border and would like to share about their experience please contact our assistant director, Kristen Whitney Daniels at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

[Sr. Judy Molosky is a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet- Los Angeles. She is the director of the St. Joseph Worker Volunteer Program in Los Angeles, a program for young women wishing to serve with those on the margins. Sr. Judy is the founder of the LA-based House of Ruth shelter and formerly ran a job cooperative for Spanish speakers.]