As we celebrate the Feast Days of St. Ignatius (July 31) and St. Mary Magdalene (July 22) we are reminded of the great cloud of witnesses that have gone before us. St. Mary Magdalene walked with Jesus throughout his ministry and served as a witness to His resurrection. In announcing this good news to the rest of Jesus' apostles, she choose to respond to Jesus' call as St. Ignatius did when discovered his heart open to the transformation that comes when we begin to know Jesus as our friend and brother.
We gather at the Ignatian Spiritual Life Center because of St. Ignatius' vision to gather the community that would become the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits. We know serve as members of this community, part of the Ignatian Family.
As contemplatives in action, as people who seek to bring about God's dream for the world, we are invited to make a commitment in our lives to seek justice for the earth, our neighbors (all people of the world) and ourselves. It is in this spirit that St. Agnes become a sanctuary congregation, committed to walking with our undocumented & refugee sisters and brothers, in January of this year. In these days, with all that is going on in our country, we know that we have a lot of work ahead to ensure that the human dignity of all people is respected. As Anne Lamott says in her new book, Hallelujah Anyway (which I highly recommend!), We wait and watch and work; we don't give up.
In July we began accompanying a family from Mexico and we want to share a community update on all that has been going on this summer (see below).
Community Update: Sanctuary at St. Agnes Church
A few weeks ago the St. Agnes Community began accompanying a family from Mexico who are seeking asylum in the United States. For the past six months the family, mom and five kids, have been homeless and navigating the shelter system in San Francisco. Several weeks ago one of the children faced a health crisis and required a hospital stay. When they left the hospital it was late into the evening and when they returned to the shelter where they had been staying, the beds were already full for the night and they ended up sleeping on the street. After this happened, St. Agnes & St. Ignatius Parishes were able to provide funds for the family to stay at a motel for a couple of weeks and since July 5, they have been staying with us for a respite so that they can be together as a family, begin a process of healing and have the opportunity to experience stability, safety, friendship and love.
Throughout the past two weeks there has been an outpouring of love from our community. Food has been delivered. Rides have been given. Donations have been made. Groceries have been picked up. Playdates have been made. Prayers have been prayed. Calls and e-mails have poured in about how we can walk together with this family. God has called us into this moment as a sanctuary congregation, Jesus gives us the wisdom to live into this call and the Spirit moves amongst us so that we may have the courage, ingenuity and love to live together as a community.
If you would like to find out more and get involved with the sanctuary movement at St. Agnes you are invited to attend our next Huddle for Justice meeting on Sunday, August 6 at 12pm and in the meantime, you can sign up at the Ignatian Spiritual Life Center. While the family stays with us we are in need of gifts cards (Target, Lucky’s Market, etc) and financial support (earmark donations to ‘Sanctuary Fund’).
In August we plan on providing the family with more stable housing for 6-8 months while they wait on a list for affordable housing in San Francisco and await the last hearing of their asylum case in February 2018. We need help finding housing and if you have a place that might work, another possibility or an idea, please contact me (415-487-8560 x225).
During these weeks, let us all pray together, with full hearts, believing that - Our deepest desire is to make God’s dream for the world, a dream rooted in peace, mercy and compassion, a reality. (St. Agnes Sanctuary Statement - January 19, 2017)
You make our work possible.
Ignatian Spiritual Life Center
A Ministry of St. Agnes Parish
1611 Oak Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
415-487-8560 ext. 228
A ministry of St. Agnes Parish in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, the Ignatian Spiritual Life Center has a three council structure that discerns the programming we need to live an Ignatian life of devotion and service. Our areas of focus are Church Justice, Global Justice and Spiritual Life. Each council offers programming aimed at mobilizing the larger community to love the world the way God intends. Programming includes adult education and faith formation, the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, spiritual direction, opportunities for prayer and retreat, and an ongoing commitment to dialogue and service in our Church and world.