USING LEGAL EXPERTISE TO AID REFUGEES
ONE CASE STILL HAUNTS Sister Ann Durst, S.H.C.J., a lawyer and co-founder of her congregation’s Casa Cornelia Law Center in San Diego. The center has helped scores of mi-
grants gain critical legal assistance. It is there she first met “Sara.”
Sara had fled El Salvador to try to escape the brutal gangs re-
sponsible for murdering, trafficking, and disappearing many of her
fellow Salvadorans. On arrival in the United States, she was put into
detention and kept there for three years.
“Sara’s case was challenging and compelling,” Durst says. “Al-
though she had a well-founded fear of returning to El Salvador, she
was ultimately deported. She said, ‘If I can get out of the airport, I’ll
be okay.’ I heard from her once, so she got out. But I have no idea
where she is now.”
In retrospect, Durst regrets that although this was perhaps her
best legal work, she did not prevail. She does not regret, however,
the investment of time representing Sara. “Any time you can push
back the darkness with truth, you let in the light. It’s good work.”
A RADICALLY ALTERED LIFE
THE JOURNEY of Father Corey Brost, C.S.V. from button-down Catholic high schoolprincipal to T-shirted pilgrimage leader, runsthrough southern Arizona, along dusty trailslined with cactuses and pockmarked with memorials to migrants who have died.
“I came down to help lead another group
in 2015, and it was such a powerful experi-
ence that it radically altered my life,” Brost
says about his involvement in border issues. “I
asked my Viatorian community for permission
to leave the high school so I could devote my-
self full-time to immigration issues. They said,
Go. We support you.”
Brost began leading students and young
adults twice a year from Tucson, Arizona to
Nogales, Mexico. They talk with migrants, bor-
der patrol guards, desert guides, and shelter
“We leave our comfort zones to searchfor God in the desert,” Brost says. “We walkinto the experiences of people who livethrough this human-rights tragedy of migration. We ask: How does our faith intersectwith it? The young people say the pilgrimagehumanizes the complex issue of immigration.
It connects human suffering with our Catholic teaching.”
When Brost is not leading the twice-a-year pilgrimages, he oversees Viator House of Hospitality in DesPlaines, Illinois (near Chicago), a ministry to young men awaiting asylum who would otherwise be incarceratedin county jails. All year long, in one form or another, Brost and the Viatorian religious community pay attentionto migrants, immigrants, and refugees.
FATHER COREYBrost, C.S.V. (left)with a studentpilgrim near theU.S.-Mexico border.
SISTER ANN DURST, S.H.C.J., who founded a
San Diego legal center that helps migrants
and immigrants, says, “Human life is
precious . . . any effort that enables people
to live a more human life is worthwhile.”