Migrant Families in Rural South Carolina

by | Apr 11, 2024 | Formation, Reflections | 2 comments

I am a Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul who is presently on mission along a rural highway in South Carolina, USA. We are a team of one Vincentian priest and three Daughters whose primary focus is the development of a Diocesan Ministry to Farmworkers under the leadership of Sister Migdalia Flores.

The parish of St. William was founded one hundred years ago by an extended family of farmers who converted to Catholicism. The tiny church, rectory, parish hall and convent have been maintained by the local families. For most of the history, there were visiting priests who came for liturgy and sacraments.

About 20 years ago migrants from Mexico arrived followed by migrants from Guatemala to work primarily in chicken processing plants, construction, landscaping, maintenance, and vegetable and flower farms. Their children born here are citizens and attend public schools where they become fluent in English.

The migrant families are actively engaged in all aspects of the life of the parish from liturgical ministries to construction to planning committees to hosting prayers in their homes for Our Lady of Guadalupe and posadas to preparing dinners to cutting the yards to cleaning and setting up the outdoor pavilion now needed to hold the 250 chairs needed for feast day liturgies. One group of Mexican women who are cousins lead three Spanish choirs. The children in their twenties are completing college or professional training and are eager to assume leadership in catechesis, music, liturgy and youth and young adult ministries.

During Lent, fifteen Hispanic families rehearsed every Sunday afternoon to prepare a dramatization of the Way of the Cross and the Resurrection that amazed me. The woman who played Mary the Mother of Jesus wailed at the foot of the cross of her 20-year-old son and the narrator was unable to continue. God has come among these undocumented parents and energized them to educate their children to embody the love of Christ in rural South Carolina. We are blessed to be witnesses and collaborators.

2 Comments

  1. Dee Mansi

    Sr Julie this is a beautiful, hope-filled and faith-filled account of good people. What a joyful Mission your team has. Blessings!

    Reply
  2. Sr. Naomi Libiak

    Its refreshing to learn how the Church in this little town has grown in ten years; how the migrants have taken part in leading the liturgies, as well as in some down-to-earth work. Congratulations to our Daughters and C.M’s.

    Reply

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