The Basilica of Saint Mary is proud to partner with Lutheran Social Services to co-sponsor refugee families who are starting new lives in Minnesota after living in refugee camps throughout the world. Want to get involved in this ministry? VIsit our Refugee/Immigration Ministry page for more information, or donate to help support this effort.
Read about the Refugee/Immigration Ministry's latest activities and reflections on the Just Living blog.
Third Family: Arrive in Minnesota after 17 years in refugee Camp
On February 23rd, members of the Basilica of Saint Mary gathered close to 10:00pm to welcome a special family to Minnesota. The family had been living in a refugee camp in Thailand. They had just spent close to 24 hours on a flight that brought them from Bangkok to Doha, Qatar, to Chicago to Minneapolis.
The family was tired, but seemed excited for this new phase of their life. They are a Karenni family—a different ethnic group from Karen, but also from Burma/Myanmar. They are a family of five, with a mother, father, two daughters (9 and 6 years old) and a son (17 months).
To learn more about the Karenni community and their refugee status, read THE KARENNI PEOPLE.
While verbal communication was a challenge, there was a definite connection between people: compassion and kindness, welcome and support—mutually shared between Basilica parishioner and new Minnesota resident.
Look for more information in upcoming posts and in Weekly Newsletters.
First family: From Somalia to Kenya to Minnesota
In February 2016, the Basilica welcomed a family of six: two parents and four young people. This family was originally from Somalia, but spent the last 22 years in a refugee camp in Kenya. Learn about the conditions in this camp.
A Basilica mentor team helped them with tasks as diverse as learning how to shop for food, getting to appointments and school and finding out how to get around their new neighborhood – every experience was new after two decades in a refugee camp.
In June, the family decided to move to southern Minnesota to be closer to relatives, but the mentor team has kept in touch.
Second family: Starting school, learning English
In late July 2016, a family of two parents and three small children arrived in Minnesota. This family was originally from Iraq but was living as refugees in Turkey.
This family’s mentor team reports the family members are delightful, grateful to be here, and anxious to start their new lives. The children started school in September, and the adults have been taking ESL classes and looking for work. Please keep them in your prayers as they continue their new adventure!