Sister Rose Marie Tresp Fasts for Immigrant Justice

December 11, 2013

By Myra Joines, South Central Communications Department

Photo of Sr. Rose Marie Tresp

Sister Rose Marie Tresp

Sister Rose Marie Tresp, RSM, of Belmont, N.C., a Sister of Mercy for 46 years, has advocated for fair treatment of immigrants in the U.S. for many years, particularly since she became director of justice for the Sisters of Mercy – South Central Community in 2008.

But when the call came to join the Fast for Immigrant Justice that began on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 12, 2013, she hesitated because of her busy schedule advocating for and educating others on a variety of justice issues. “But all I could think about was the faces of the people I’ve met who are immigrants. I’ve seen the hardships they’ve endured escaping from violence and poverty in their countries.”  

And when she pictured those faces she knew she couldn’t say no, so she volunteered to travel to Washington to join the fast on Friday, Dec. 6 and Saturday, Dec. 7. Joining Sister Rose Marie was Sister Joan Serda, RSM, of Macon, Ga., who is assistant justice director for the Sisters of Mercy – South Central Community, and Sister Diane Guerin, RSM, of Merion, Pa., who is justice coordinator for the Sisters of Mercy – Mid-Atlantic Community.

“Our purpose is to push for immigration reform,” Sister Rose Marie said. “We’re hoping to get more people who will support immigration reform and work for it.”

“We’re closer than we’ve ever been in Congress. The Senate passed a good bill, and there is still a possibility it can happen in the House of Representatives. Increasingly, Americans support immigration reform, even if they don’t agree on all the details.”

The group who fasted on Capitol Hill is made up of people of many faiths as well as labor leaders. They’ve pitched tents to draw the attention of decision-makers in the nation’s capital.

For Sister Rose Marie, advocacy for fair treatment of immigrants is more than just the role she fills for the Sisters of Mercy—it’s personal. She is the former director of ethics for Laredo Medical Center in Laredo, Texas, a town on the U.S.-Mexico border where she frequently worked with immigrant families, many of which had been separated by immigration issues. In her own family, her brother-in-law emigrated from El Salvador.

“Fortunately, he found a legal way to remain here. He is a permanent legal resident with a green card and is studying for his citizenship exam.” But she realizes others haven’t been as fortunate, and she, along with Sister Joan and Sister Diane and other Sisters of Mercy are hoping this is the year that changes.

Please click here (MP3) to listen to an interview with Sister Rose Marie on Charlotte, North Carolina, radio station WBT.

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  1. Denise Sausville

    I am so grateful for all that Rose Marie does to keep us connected to the issues around our Critical Concerns. She always gives us concrete things to work on so that we can be who we say we are. I think that retired, or semi-retired, Sisters can follow-through on many of her suggestions, along with us active folks, who try to make those phone calls as we can. The e-mails, take less than a minute.

  2. Mary Angela Douglas

    This is so admirable. I can’t praise Sr. Rose Marie Tresp enough for her valiant and heartfelt efforts in this cause and all the other sisters.

    Like a lot of Americans I have been appalled for some time at the Gestapo like methods of, for one thing, the ICE agency. How can it be a crime to escape from horrific situations and to save your family from evil. To work and to dream of a better life as well. Now under President Trump we have seen increasing cruelty as to immigration policy. Thsi HAS to be countered. This is NOT what we stand for as Americans and children of God, and in our love for Christ and for the heart of Christ in the world we each represent. I pray with all my heart along with Sr. Rose Marie Tresp and all the other brave and noble Sisters of Mercy that this cruelty WILL NOT STAND. Because the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. As Scripture says. And we cannot allow children in any case to be separated from their parents or criminalized in this way. God Bless you, Sr. Rose Marie Tresp. AND ALL THE SISTERS OF MERCY.