We are only a few days away from the 108th World Migrant and Refugee Day. This year the theme will be “Building the Future with Migrants and Refugees,” and as every year looking to the Patroness of Migrants, our Mother Cabrini, we seek to carefully celebrate this occasion.
Beginning with Pope Francis’ Message for the 108th World Migrant and Refugee Day, which will be celebrated on September 25, 2022 with the theme Building the Future with Migrants and Refugees, how this is concretized and realized in the mission in which you find yourself serving today-this was the question we asked some of the realities of the Institute working with migrants and refugees today.
Two weeks after GMMR then, on October 9, John Baptist Scalabrini, considered Father of Migrants, will be proclaimed a saint. It was Msgr. John B. Scalabrini who would also have wanted a female branch for his Congregation and held Cabrini in high esteem. Talks with Pope Leo XIII and him persuaded Mother Cabrini that the cause of the migrants should henceforth be hers as well. Recall then that Mother Cabrini also enters the history of the first Italian hospital founded by the Scalabrinians in America for migrants.
Indeed, time and care is devoted to migrants and refugees in many of our centers; taking care of their health are, for example, The Cabrini Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Hub in Melbourne, Australia (established in 2016 to serve asylum seekers and new refugees in Melbourne and regional Victoria).
Many of the social impact investments also target education, family support, and integration for migrants and refugees. Also collaborating in this co-development “for the good of those who expatriate, for the nations and economies of departure, as well as for the economies of the countries of insertion” is UNANIMA International, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) of which we are a part as Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. UNANIMA advocates for women and children (particularly those living in poverty), migrants and refugees, the homeless and displaced, and the environment. Their work takes place primarily at the United Nations headquarters in New York, and aims to educate and influence policymakers globally; in solidarity, they work for systemic change to achieve a more just world.
For today’s world, civil society and the Church, the issue of migrants in addition to being an economic and social issue continues to be a civil, political, moral and religious issue. In fact, since the time of Monsignor Scalabrini and Mother Cabrini, human mobility was accompanied by certain actions aimed at migrants: pastoral work and assistance to migrants and their families; research and outreach; training of laity and religious; mobilization for migrants’ rights and collaboration with government agencies and civil society actors; so too do we in the stories of Sister Thérése Merandi from South Sudan, from the Cabrini Mission Foundation in New York, from Sister Albertina Ghisleri in Uganda, from Ms. ra Antonietta Scopelliti in Palma di Montechiaro, from Chaire Gynai in Rome, from Villa Amelia in Argentina and Collegio Madre Cabrini in Brazil we discover and rediscover daily that we are committed, sisters and lay people together, to their rights as well as to logistical support, to the young, the sick, to their education and integration. A care that happens on the ground like that of the MSC sisters who work taking care of Honduran migrants at the Aguas Calientes border between Honduras and Guatemala or like also the Cabrini Mission Foundation working on the U.S.-Mexico border.
But for a system oriented toward the common good, which aims to promote the freedom to migrate and the right not to migrate forcibly, there is a need, as Zanfrini says in Avvenire, for 360-degree action: from combating trafficking and exploitation to humanitarian assistance in crisis situations, from raising public awareness to cooperation with government authorities to encourage the adoption of laws and procedures capable of providing answers to the problems of migrants and, with them, to the problems of society of which the former are always a reflection.
What is needed, therefore, is to walk toward a society that responds to social, health, social welfare, and human promotion needs, in which each person feels an integral or integrated part of an epochal change, a migrant among the migrants of history.


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