The Voice of Catholic Charities
By Elmida Kulovic,
Director, Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program
As director of Catholic Charities’ Refugee Resettlement Program, one of the “perks” of my job is welcoming refugee families at the airport. Recently, we welcomed an 11 year-old girl from Uganda so we could reunite her with her mother after five years of being apart. It was too dangerous for the girl to flee with her mother, so she stayed with relatives until her mother was eligible to bring her to the U.S. Seeing the reunion of this mother and daughter after they had both endured violence, hardship, and years of being apart, is what makes my job so rewarding.
Although I have always admired the courage, endurance, and humble patience of refugee families, the COVID-19 pandemic has made me appreciate these qualities even more. This invisible enemy has brought about fear, anxiety, isolation from family and friends, isolation from religious worship, loss of loved ones, loss of livelihoods, and turned our lives completely upside down. I remind myself that every day refugees face these burdens and more, for their enemies are far from invisible.
Yet, somehow refugees—unique children of God—endure. They live in the hope that better things are yet to come, and they persevere through obstacles and setbacks with resilience and fortitude. In these past months, I have learned that I can do this, too. That we all can. I am inspired by refugee families who truly are models of endurance and courage—and like them, I will choose to live with humble patience, in the hope that better days are yet to come.
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