A week ago Sunday I joined the Italian delegation and local/national folks to walk the migrant memorial trail south of Green Valley, Arizona. One of the local Samaritans led us on the walk. Several years ago she and her neighbors found human bones while out walking their dogs. Each time they called the Pima County Sheriff and Medical Examiner who came out to collect the bones and attempt to identify the remains.
One set of the bones was that of an adolescent - Laurie, the Samaritan and her partner and neighbor built crosses at each of the three sites. It was a rough climb - in fact, I took a very undignified fall but was helped up by a friend and continued to the memorial sites. It was very quiet in the desert, the wind blowing through the cactii and ocotillo and an occasional sound of a bird. We stood silently thinking of whose father or brother or mother might have lain undetected in the desert until only their bones remained. The cross says Presente which many Central Americans say at funerals as a way of remembering the person who is no longer with them.
At the comedor/cafeteria the next day in Nogales, Sonora I saw another cross hanging above the sink. It was covered with rosaries that the migrants had hung over the cross. I am not sure if this was for a blessing for a future border crossing or a thanks for having been found in the desert even though deported back to Mexico.
Not all Migrants are Roman Catholic but most from Latin America grow up in a Catholic culture. We are now in the season of Lent - a time of reflection and repentance. At a press conference for Rosa Robles, the Mexican woman living in Sanctuary at Southside Presbyterian Church, her pastor called on President Obama and the Head of Homeland Security and ICE to repent - or as she stated, "It is OK to change your mind and heart and to let Rosa go home."
I am living in a casita/a small guest house near Sabino Canyon on the road to Mt. Lemmon. My hostess is Deborah McCullough, a "provocative social justice artist working on issues related to the U.S.-Mexico border. She is also facilitator for the Tucson Samaritan meetings every Tuesday evening. She told me that she was doing a Stations of the Cross for a Roman Catholic conference this past weekend. Late Friday night I stopped at the Convention Center and walked in silence looking at the Via Crucis. Iurge all of you readers to go to this link and view the slide show of her work. It is incredibly moving. http://www.deborahmccullough.com/
Look at her work and think of all the migrants who left their clothing, food, rosaries, and shoes and yes, some of them their lives in the desert.
My life has been about crossing borders and cultures and building bridges across the boundaries that normally divide. Have you crossed any borders in your life?