“What I Hope My First Arrest Means”

by | Mar 9, 2018 | News

Last Friday, we posted an article from the Catholic News Agency that talked about a Catholic-Led DACA protest that resulted in the arrest of Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Sr. Tracy Kemme. Below is an excerpt from her reflection in Global Sisters Report on her arrest and the impact she hopes it has. To read the article in its entirety, click here.

Charity Sr. Andrea Koverman, left, and Charity Sr. Tracy Kemme march Feb. 27 as part of the National Catholic Day of Action with Dreamers (Provided by Faith in Public Life / Mackenzie Harris)

What the arrest means to me

Nonviolent civil disobedience was a profound experience of living the Gospel and an expression of my Lenten practice. Our Lenten Scriptures urge us to action.

Isaiah 58 speaks to us of a true fast: “Thus says the Lord GOD: Cry out full-throated and unsparingly, lift up your voice like a trumpet blast … This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.”

Matthew 25 reminds us that each person we set free, feed, welcome, shelter, and care for is Jesus himself: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers or sisters of mine, you did for me.”

The moments surrounding the arrest are forever captured in my senses. Friends have asked if the cameras were distracting or if getting cuffed was intimidating. I have to say no to both. Instead, it was all prayer.

My heart was steadfast and centered because I knew who I was there for and with. I saw in my mind’s eye hundreds of faces of beloved Dreamers, immigrants living in the country illegally, and their families. I was buoyed by thousands across the country praying and advocating in solidarity. I felt intimately connected to the beautiful human beings filling the elegant Senate rotunda with song and prayer. And I sensed the palpable presence of Jesus.

The action was a sincere response to God’s call that flooded my soul with inner freedom. Power pulsed through me as I stretched my wrists behind me to the arresting officer because I truly believed in the rightness of our cause. It was downright beautiful, with “Amazing Grace” echoing high into the dome above us as we were led away.

Although the consequences were insignificant compared to what many have given for the sake of justice, including their lives, I was grateful to be able to offer myself in a small way. It felt like another step on my journey of discipleship. It shifted something in me, solidified that my deepest longing is to surrender all that I am for the mission of Jesus, no matter the cost.

Continue reading here on what Sr. Tracy Kemme hopes the arrest means to the rest of the world.

Source: Global Sisters Report