Embracing Immigration with Compassion

Submitted by Barb Messerknecht

In the border cities of Douglas AZ and Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico, an extraordinary chapter in the lives of Sisters Lucy Nigh (born and raised in an area north of Menomonee WI) and Judy Bourg unfolded. They have left an indelible mark on the community, tirelessly serving those in need and embodying compassion and advocacy.

On their last journey to the Migrant Trail, a 75-mile walk commemorating the lives lost in the desert, Sisters Lucy and Judy documented a bit of their experience where Sister Judy explained, “We walk so that these unnecessary deaths will end, and we will finally have long awaited comprehensive immigration reform.” Sister Lucy also adds, “At each one-and-a-half-mile water stop, a walker agrees to carry the tobacco ties representing the 160 migrants who died in the desert since last year.” It takes the sisters a week to complete this trek where some days they wake at 4:00 AM to start their walk, which can last until nightfall, depending on the number of miles, they need to complete that day. Their travels take them through a wildlife refuge, withstanding strong desert winds and heat to honor the struggle and dangers that ultimately have led to the unnecessary deaths of so many migrants.

After 13 years in Douglas, their impact remains palpable and their legacy encompasses not only the lives they have touched, but also the inspiration they have instilled in others. They honor on the lives of dead migrants with wooden crosses that mark the desert.

[Adapted from SSND Central Pacific Province Aug Newsletter]