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The Homeless, the Sick, and the Injured

 Life in Houses of Hospitality is full of interesting events and surprises, together with painful, even tragic, stories. We never know who will come to the door. Today a woman arrived from Iowa who was fleeing domestic violence. She had found a place to stay with a family, but the family friend she had brought with her, someone to whom they had given hospitality after his accident, had nowhere to go. Could he stay in our house for a few days until other arrangements can be made? He is on a walker and is on dialysis after his accident. Of course, he will only be able to get dialysis on an emergency basis when he is very ill and almost dying.

A woman called to ask for a wheel chair after her husband had had a recent stroke. We said yes, we had a wheel chair, and then she hesitantly asked for a walker. Her husband was falling a lot and she had nothing for him. When she came for the wheel chair and walker, we discovered that she was desperate, as the families often are when a crisis of this kind occurs.

The team of rehabilita-tion doctors and therapists who work with brain-injured patients and who volunteer with us visited the couple and were able to offer considerable help with reducing the strain in moving the patient and prescribe for the patient and the caregiver.

We cannot meet all the needs of people who come to our doors, but it is a joy to be able to give basic food when needed or give hospitality.

The Anguish of the Families of the Deported

Almost daily we receive calls from the families of the deported. They seek legal help while their loved ones are in detention or they ask for shelter or food for the wives and children left behind.

Two weeks ago a young woman called to ask if she could stay with us. She said her husband had been deported. They had four young children. She was being evicted and had no food. We welcomed the family and the delightful children.

Another young woman called to ask our help. Her husband had been deported and tried to return to be reunited with his wife and baby and care for them. He was given five years in prison by the US government for trying to return.

These children may never see their fathers again.

We wonder what happened to the declara-tion of the possibility of prosecutorial discretion made several months ago by the Obama adminis-tration? It seemed like such a good plan, but it does not appear to have been implemented.

Deportation is Wrong

Deportation is listed as one of the most serious sins by a document from the Second Vatican Council entitled “The Church in the Modern World,” and also in the encyclicals Veritatis Splendor and Evangelium Vitae:

“There exist acts which per se and in themselves independently of circum-stances are always seriously wrong by means of their object such as murder, genocide, abortion euthanasia, and willful suicide, all violations of the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental tor-ture, undue psychological pressures, all offenses against human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary im-prisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children, degrading work-ing conditions where men are treated as mere tools for profit rather than free and responsible persons: all these and the like are criminal. They poison civilization, and they debase the perpetrators more than the victims and militate against the honor of the Creator.

Houston Catholic Worker, Vol. XXXIII, September-October 2012.