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Crossing from Guatemala to Casa Juan Diego With Much Faith

By an Immigrant Woman From Guatemala

Many, like us, day by day see the great need to immigrate to the United States. There are many reasons.

We want to better our quality of life for our families and ourselves. We want our children to have a profession, and we want to offer them what perhaps we were never able to have.

But the difficult thing for us, after many years of suffering and solitude, is to try to arrive here to unite with our family. Because in our country we have lived through the suffering of many children who were left alone because their parents emigrated. Now they are young people who are unstable emotionally.

It is very sad that there are borders in the world that do not allow us to reunite with our families. This journey becomes a nightmare throughout Mexico, because the federales humiliate us, ignore our human dignity, treating us as if we were worthless, without taking into account that we are children of God.

We risk falling into one of the cartels, the narco traffickers who want to use us to transport drugs across the border. If we don’t bring what they want us to bring, we are dead people.

Our experience was very hard, but at the same time, very beautiful. From the moment we left our house, we did not stop praying, even for a minute. Many times when the bus began to put on the brakes to stop, we saw ahead all the lights of the immigration police. We prayed, and we said to Jesus, “Lord, protect us in this moment, as Saint Joseph and the Most Holy Virgin protected you when you fled into Egypt so you would not be killed by the powerful of this world, as when you sent the centurion, and when you reached and moved Mary’s mantle and became the white lilies [depicted in representtations of the Annunciation]. Cover us in this moment, so they will not see us, but see you.”

We had the opportunity of going to the Basilica of Guadalupe and we went up the hill of Tepeyac. There, we asked Saint Juan Diego to help us on our journey.

When we crossed the border, we walked and walked. At one moment they told us that Immigration was coming. One woman carried her passport, and she ate the photograph in case she was arrested. But thanks be to God, we continued our journey.

It was very sad, because three of us came together, but the guides only allowed us two women to go on. They separated us from my son. In a moment of terror, we all begged. The woman who accompanied me was by my son’s side, but my son had to pretend that he did not know her, because we did not know who might be trying to trap us. My friend called me, and we went to a warehouse to look for him, but we couldn’t find him. Thank God we now have good news of him.

When we arrived in Houston, Texas, about 3 in the morning, we met a woman who wanted to help us. She called a cousin, but she never answered the phone. Then the woman had to go to another state. We couldn’t stand the tiredness and hunger. Finally, a Hispanic man appeared and we told him about what we had been through. He brought us to Casa Juan Diego.

Louise opened the door and God bless her for receiving us. In our room we wept in gratitude that the house was called Juan Diego, because with so much devotion we had asked him to help us.

We want to deeply thank God for placing so many angels on our way to help us, especially Louise and her husband Mark, Sister Angelica, and Monica and Bridget for being so generous and humanitarian.

Many thanks. We want to thank you for being friends of the poor and recognizing Jesus in us.

“Lord, we asked, and ‘you gave to us.’

Lord, we knocked on the door and ‘you opened to us.’

Lord, we sought you ‘and we found you.’

Because you are in all the people who help us.

We bless you and glorify you, that with your blood that has such great power, you may bless each one of them.”

Today we are waiting for my son, praying that he may arrive well at this place, and that we may continue our journey.

Houston Catholic Worker, January-February, Vol. XXXV, No. 1.