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.
January 2019: Ninth Family: After long delay of welcoming, a family arrives
After a 4 month gap in any refugees coming to the U.S. through Lutheran Social Sevices in the Twin Cities, a family of six is set to arrive on January 25th from Congo. They have lived in a refugee camp in Rwanda, and will settle into the Twin Cities soon.
June 2018: Eighth Family: Lived in Refugee Camp for 20 years
The family is Karenni, orinigally from Burma. There is a mother, father and two young daughters ages 4 and 6. They are coming from a camp in Thailand and have been there for 20 years.
February 2018: Seventh Family: Coming together after years of separation
The mother and father are originally from Ethiopia, but lived in Nairobi, Kenya for many years before coming to the US. Father originally setteled in Colorado in 2014. Mother joined him in Colorado several years later. The family moved recently to Minnesota. They now have three children--two sons in Kindergarter and pre-school and a daughter who is one.
February 2018: Sixth Family: In refugee camp for 12 years
A Karen family of eigth originally from Burma/Myanmar, fled to a refugee camp in Thailand in 2006. Mother and father, with six children: two sons ages 14 and 1, and four daughters ages 12, 8, 6 and 3.
January 20108: Fifth Family: Large Family seeking safety
A family of eight originally from Somalia. Secondary migrants to Minnesota. Mother, father and six children: Five sons, ages 15, 14, 13, 11, 9 and one daughter who is 3 years old. They now live in Minneapolis.
May 2017: Fourth Family: Eager to settle in Minnesota after a long trip
Basilica parishioners welcomed the 4th refugee family this May. The family is a small family, of a woman with a 10 month old child. The woman is pregnant and due with her
second child in July. This family comes from Somalia. They lived in a refugee camp in Kenya for many years.
The Basilica team is held a baby shower for her at her new home. Through the Basilica, they were able to provide needed items for a new born: diapers, car seat, stroller, clothing etc.
At this point, the Basilica has co-sponsored two families from Somalia, one from Iraq and one from Burma/Myamar. Each family has been very different. However, they have all be grateful and gracious as they settle into life in Minnesota. They lives are filled with efforts to learn English, find work, enroll the children in school and care for medical and dental concerns.
February 2017: 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.
July 2016: 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!
February 2016: 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.