The Nuns are going to the border

By Kevin Clarke, 23 April 2021
A group of women carrying their children cross the Rio Grande to try to cross the border into the United States in Mexico. Image: David Peinado Romero/


You might have seen Nancy Murray, O.P., in a different role in the not-so-distant past. Before COVID-19 put the kibosh on such things as performing before live audiences, she made a ministry out of appearing as St. Catherine of Siena or the martyred Notre Dame de Namur Sister Dorothy Stang or Mary Potter, founder of the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary. This month in McAllen, Texas, she is assuming a new role, helping families coming across the border transition to life in the United States, answering a call for help from Catholic Charities USA offices all along the Southwest border.

Sister Murray, whose brother Bill has had some acting success of his own, said that with her usual work on standby, it was “a good time” to answer a call for assistance issued on behalf of Catholic Charities by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. “And I wanted to be working with the families,” she added.

After being detained across the border for months, thousands of asylum seekers have been allowed passage into the United States after President Joe Biden suspended the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” plan. That policy stranded hundreds of families and thousands of individuals in gruelling conditions in makeshift camps along the border.

Explaining her decision to leave Adrian, Mich., and to risk travel during the pandemic, Sister Murray said, “I felt that these are people who have been living in tents for a year, and they have been through storms and hurricanes and snow and COVID, and they needed to be treated with some respect. That is the reputation of Catholic Charities, of providing that dignity to people, and I wanted to be part of that.”

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Kevin Clarke is America’s chief correspondent and the author of Oscar Romero: Love Must Win Out (Liturgical Press).

With thanks to America Magazine and Kevin Clarke, where this article originally appeared.


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