February 23, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – As the March 5, 2018, deadline for the termination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) approaches with no immigration legislation in sight, the Adrian Dominican Sisters are joining national Catholic actions on behalf of the young Dreamers.
At stake is the welfare of about 800,000 Dreamers, young U.S. residents who came to the United States as children. Many of the Dreamers, protected by the DACA program, contribute greatly to their communities in the United States and have experienced no other home. President Donald Trump rescinded the DACA program in September 2017, stating that it was up to Congress to pass legislation to protect the Dreamers from deportation by March 5, 2018.
Noting the urgency of the situation for the Dreamers, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has called for a Catholic Call-In Day on Monday, February 26. “Our faith compels us to stand with the vulnerable, including our immigrant brothers and sisters,” the USCCB leadership wrote in a statement. “We have done so continually, but we must show our support and solidarity now in a special way. Now is the time for action.” Watch a video produced by the USCCB.
On Monday, Adrian Dominican Sisters, Associates, and Co-workers on the Motherhouse campus are participating in the National Call-in Day for Dreamers. They are asking all concerned citizens to join them in calling their House Representative and two Senators (U.S. Capital Switchboard, 202-224-3121), and Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House (202-225-3031), urging them to protect the Dreamers from deportation, provide a clear and narrow path to citizenship, and avoid damages to existing protections for families and unaccompanied minors.
On Tuesday, four Adrian Dominican Sisters will represent the Congregation at a Catholic Day of Action with Dreamers on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., sponsored by a broad coalition of Catholic organizations. Congregation representatives are Sisters Elise D. García, OP, General Councilor; Attracta Kelly, OP, Director of the Congregation’s Immigration Assistance Office; Corinne Sanders, OP; and Heather Stiverson, OP. They will be among several hundred other Catholic Sisters, clergy, and lay leaders standing in solidarity with the Dreamers. The day will begin with a brief press conference, followed by a time of song, prayer, and visits by participants to their elected legislators.
Feature photo: From left, Sisters Elise García, OP, Corinne Sanders,, OP, and Attracta Kelly, OP, receive a blessing at the end of Mass on February 26 for their participation in the Catholic Day of Action with Dreamers in Washington, D.C. on February 27. Also representing the Congregation will be Sister Heather Stiverson, OP, who ministers and resides in Detroit.
February 1, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – Children from Adrian who suffer abuse will no longer have to bear the added trauma of repeating their story countless times to law enforcement officials and counselors, thanks to the new Child Advocacy Center (CAC) of Catholic Charities of Jackson, Lenawee, and Hillsdale County.
Catholic Charities showcased its new facility and hosted an official ribbon-cutting ceremony January 26. Attending were Catholic Charities staff and board members, as well as interested and concerned community members – including Sister Pam Millenbach, OP, who ministers at the facility, and several other Adrian Dominican Sisters. Before and after the formal ceremony, community members had the opportunity to tour the new facility.
The Adrian-based CAC serves as a base where professionals – law enforcement officers, representatives from the prosecutor’s office, counselors, and public health officials – can coordinate their efforts so traumatized children only have to tell their story once. Meetings between the child and a forensic interviewer are videotaped so other concerned agencies have access to the information revealed in the interview. The multi-disciplined team can then work together to decide on the most effective ways to help the child and his or her family, and to proceed with investigations and legal action against the abuser.
The CAC is a collaborative effort of the Lenawee County law enforcement agencies, the Lenawee County Prosecutor’s Office, Child Protective Services, ProMedica, the University of Michigan Child Protective Team, and Catholic Charities. The CAC also received financial support from local organizations, including the Adrian Dominican Sisters, in the form of a Ministry Trust grant.
Sister Pam, who ministers in foster care for Catholic Charities in Adrian, affirmed the need to limit the trauma that children often face when repeating the story of their abuse. The CAC facility is designed not only to streamline the process of informing professionals of the child’s experience, but also to help the child and family members feel safe. The building includes a sunny, brightly colored playroom where children can relax and feel safe, Sister Pam explained.
Sister Pam noted that children have already made use of the new CAC facility.
Sister Barbara Jean Quincey, OP, a member of the Board of Catholic Charities and a resident of Jackson, Michigan, spoke of the effectiveness of the CAC program, which has been in place in Jackson for about two years. CAC “has made it easier for the kids because they haven’t had to tell their story to six different people,” Sister Barbara explained. “[The professionals] all watch one interview. It’s wonderful that they can do this as a seamless garment,” she said.
Sister Barbara estimated that about 250 abused children and their families are served by the CAC in Jackson every year. “Jackson and Adrian are both full of abused children,” she said. “It breaks my heart and I’m so glad that Catholic Charities is able to do something about that and that the community is able to help them.” Retired after 46 years as a teacher, she said she is very dedicated to children and is appalled by the way they are so often treated.
As a member of the Board, Sister Barbara is involved in many of Catholic Charities’ programs, most notably its fundraising efforts. Events such as the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day lunch box sale raise money to offset the many services that the organization provides for free to those who can’t afford them.
“We don’t ask what their religion is,” Sister Barbara said. “It’s Catholic Charities, but it’s for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, if you can afford our services or can’t. If you need them, we will help you.”
Clockwise, from top: From left, Sisters Tarianne DeYonker, OP, Attracta Kelly, OP, and Jacqueline Phillips, OP, enjoy the view from the porch of the new Child Advocacy Center facility. The playroom at the new Child Advocacy Center gives children a cheerful place to relax and have fun. State Representative Bronna Kahle (R-Dist. 57) presents a certificate recognizing the new Child Advocacy Center.