Answering the plight of the victims caught in the tangles of human migration, a real flurry of activity took place on January 31st, 2018, as the Handmaids put the final touches on the new home of the Ramirez family. The main order of business that day for the Handmaids was to clean and put the kitchen in order. Organizing the pantry, closets, and bathroom was also on the “to do” list, while the tasks of painting, vacuuming, hanging curtains, and moving trash were being handled by additional volunteers. It was a joy to realize that Sisters from three Handmaid communities in the North (Uyen Chi Dang, Florentina Iruretagoyena, Lyan Tri, and Sagrario Nunez), as well as Ronnie Luke, an ACJ Associate, were among those whose energies were put to use.
In the last few months leading up to this day, the Handmaids, along with Sr. Eileen McNally, SSJ and Judith Bernstein-Baker, a lawyer from the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), had been busy looking for a safe, suitable, and affordable living facility for the Ramirez family. Originally from Honduras, Maria Elena (pictured at right with German, the youngest of her four children) and her family had been living in a homeless shelter for nearly a year, when the sisters recognized their need for assistance. Once the home on Germantown Avenue had been found, plumbers, roofers, electricians, and carpenters were called in to undertake major repairs. One of the additional and unanticipated repairs that presented itself was a broken pipe that had been the victim of the sub zero temperatures experienced this winter. When all was said and done, by the end of January, the home was finally in “move in” condition. Furniture and other household items were donated by the ACJ Associates and many generous lay friends, allowing the Ramirez family to move into their new home on Saturday, February 3rd.
The Handmaids, in their commitment of General Congregation XX, have made it a priority to “respond and live with passion the option for persons who are suffering in the world” and to offer “support for persons in situations of human mobility.” As a result, the sisters have assumed the responsibility of paying for the rent, utilities, transportation, food, clothing, medical and household expenses for the family for one year. They are being joined in their efforts by two other religious communities: the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth.
The family is having an official “housewarming” and tortilla contest on Sunday, March 11th from 3 PM to 7 PM. PLEASE, STOP BY at 6771 Germantown Avenue to greet the Ramirez family. What a wonderful opportunity to welcome Christ in this family!