Loretto helps provide respite for weary travelers
In early October 2018, the number of asylum seekers coming into El Paso began increasing dramatically. Annunciation House needed more volunteers to assist with serving these people. Sisters from many religious communities began coming and needed housing. After the convent closed and rooms were converted to offices, there were still 14 rooms that were saved for small retreats, for Sisters of Loretto coming to El Paso, and a few Academy housing needs. Rooms were made available to the sister volunteers from these many communities. Whenever a tenant moved out, that “office” was reconverted into a bed-room. There are now 17 rooms available. As of mid-March, Loretto had provided housing to just over 200 sisters, co-members and other lay volunteers. When there are not enough rooms, Liz Deines SL, Mary Margaret Murphy SL, Elisa Rodriguez SL and Buffy Boesen SL have provided housing and food for the hard-working sisters.
Sisters Mary Margaret Murphy, Helen Santamaria and Elisa Rodriguez assist with driving asylum seekers to the bus stations or airport. Alicia Ramirez SL worked at the hospitality center at Nazareth. Sister Claudia Calzetta volunteered for several weeks. Co-members Alicia Zapata, Irene Doody, Vivian Doremus and her sister, Judith, all came and worked in various capacities.
It is not unusual to find Mary Margaret Murphy at a laundromat with an asylum seeker or two washing, drying and folding sheets from one of the hospitality centers.
It is with a sad heart that the Nazareth hospitality center must close. The new owners of Nazareth are beginning work on renovating the original wing of the nursing home. Soon, that wing will be used for nursing home residents once again. Loretto and the El Paso community are grateful to Paramount Nursing Centers for the use of the west wing these many months.