HEALING BROKEN HEARTS
ANUNCIATA’S LIFE didn’t get off to a great start. Grow- ing up in a physically andemotionally abusive householdin Guatemala, she also lived in aviolent atmosphere outside herhome, thanks to car bombingsand the ever-present threat of themilitary. She saw the remains of aclose friend who had been ha-cheted to death.
Anunciata’s harrowing escapeled, finally, to Philadelphia. There,she found safety and belongingat the Aquinas Center, a formerconvent located in the heart of apoor, mostly immigrant neighborhood. She also found Sister MaryKennedy, O.S.F.
“Classes with Sister Mary have
helped me learn new coping tech-
niques,” Anunciata (not her real
name) told Good News, a publica-
tion of the Sisters of St. Francis
of Philadelphia. “My life has been
Whether leading a class called
Healing Our Hearts or introduc-
ing young parents to each other
in her peer-based Parenting Café,
Kennedy says the most important
tool she uses is her ears. “When
people see that they are being
listened to and respected, they
begin to trust.”
Kennedy’s latest Aquinas
Center project is in immigration
legal services, helping with such
tasks as citizenship applications,
deportation defense packets, and
immigration interviews. She also
helps locate family members who have been picked up in immigration raids.
Before serving at the center, Kennedy lived and served in Guatemala. Her cross-cultural experiencehas encouraged immigrants to trust her. The lynchpin to her ministry, says Kennedy, is this: “My faith is alarge part of my life. I wouldn’t be able to do a fraction of what I do without it.”
SISTER MARYKennedy, O.S.F.
(right) helps serve theroughly 600 peoplea week who turnto Aquinas Centerin Philadelphia forhelp with everythingfrom child-rearing toimmigration status.
PHOTO BY ANDREA CIPRIANA-MECCHI, COURTESY OF SISTERS OF ST. FRANCIS OF PHILADELPHIA, GOOD NEWS