In the wake of continuing concerns about the welfare and plight of children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, leaders of several congregations in LCWR Region 13 – including the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth – have issued the following statement recognizing this as a serious pro-life issue.

We appeal to people who value the dignity of all human life to recognize that the separation of young migrant children from their parents is a significant pro-life issue in our country today.

At an age when they should be full of energy and vibrancy, these boys and girls are experiencing the trauma of separation from their parents. At a time when they are most vulnerable, migrant children are being robbed of their youth and their potential.

In a culture that acknowledges the importance of nurturing a child’s development, our nation’s immigration policies and practices are inflicting lifelong and possibly irreparable damage on the health of these youth. Having experienced fear and violence in their homelands, they are being re-traumatized in detention centers. Some are dying – 15 deaths of children so far this year at the U.S.-Mexico border.

We believe this is a very strong and compelling pro-life issue. Family separation and detention and the resulting trauma go against the very fabric of respect for human life.

In the words of Pope Francis, “All children … have the right to be children.” In the words of Jesus, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)

We call upon mothers and fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles to think of these children as their own and to advocate against separation of families. We ask people of faith to pray for these children and their loved ones, and for policy makers and elected officials. With Pope Francis, we implore the adoption of “every possible measure to guarantee child migrants’ protection and security” and to avoid family separation.

Leadership of the following congregations of women religious in LCWR Region 13 has issued the above statement:
• Adorers of the Blood of Christ, St. Louis, Missouri
• Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kansas
• Dominican Sisters of Peace, Columbus, Ohio
• Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Leadership Team, Leavenworth, Kansas
• Sisters of Loretto and Co-members of Loretto, Nerinx, Kentucky
• Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity, Denver, Colorado
• Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, Colorado Springs, Colorado
• Sisters of St. Francis of Savannah, Missouri
• The Sisters of Benet Hill Monastery, Colorado Springs, Colorado
• The Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, Kansas

Region 13 of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) encompasses congregations serving Colorado, Kansas, western Missouri and Oklahoma.