Refugee Narratives: Ten Stories of Cambodian Refugees

The Role of the Sisters of the Holy Cross: The Mission

We, Sisters of the Holy Cross throughout the world, are called to participate in the prophetic mission of Jesus to witness God’s love for all creation. Compassion moves us to reflect on the signs of the times, discern needs, and respond. We stand in solidarity with the poor and the powerless. Our life together enriches and strengthens us to foster community wherever we are.

—Mission Statement of the Sisters of the Holy Cross

Moved by compassion and a commitment to a global ministry, the Sisters of the Holy Cross have devoted their lives to responding to the needs of the world, as is laid out in their mission statement. Beginning with the founding of the Order in 1841, the Sisters of the Holy Cross have dedicated their efforts to educating women and serving the poor and powerless. One of the many ways in which this dedication translates into the sisters’ ministry has been through providing health services to the displaced and under-served. 

In October of 2019, the Congregation issued an official Corporate Stand on Migration, affirming their solidarity with all migrants forced to flee their homes for whatever reason. Although this official corporate stance was only recently codified, the sisters’ involvement in aiding displaced populations goes back more than a century, as seen in their work ministering to internally displaced populations during the U.S. Civil War. In the late twentieth century, then, the Sisters of the Holy Cross entered into a partnership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in an effort to provide greater international relief during a series of modern conflicts and natural disasters. This partnership brought them to serve those displaced by violence, political unrest, and war in Cambodia, Lebanon, and El Salvador in the late 1970s and 1980s. In each of these conflicts, a group of sisters relocated to live and work in the affected areas and aid displaced groups. Their aid was mostly provided in the form of nursing care, although they advocated for the displaced populations they served in many other ways, including by providing emotional and spiritual support. As the issuance of their 2019 statement indicates, the sisters continue to dedicate themselves to the  work of  advocating for displaced persons and offering refugees relief today.

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