On the streets of Sicily, global sisters accompany African migrants

Sr. Lula Michael, a Santa Anna Daughter, meets Eritrean women on the island of Lampedusa in January 2016. (Courtesy of UISG)

Palermo, Sicily — Sr. Maria Gaczol and Sr. Veera Bara close the gate outside their hillside apartment tucked in an alley on a main street of Agrigento, a town of about 60,000 people on the southwestern coast of Sicily. Two elderly Sicilian men greet the sisters as they pass.

"Buongiorno, sorelle," they say in Italian, or, "Good morning, sisters."

Gaczol and Bara respond in their best Italian accents.

"Buongiorno," they say with a smile.

They continue down the narrow road in a town they've called home since December, forming a single-file line on the sidewalk to avoid getting brushed by a passing car.

"Now they recognize us," Bara says in English, describing the locals.

It's 11:30 a.m. on a Wednesday, but the streets are mostly empty. Many of the townspeople are seeking shelter inside to escape the July heat.

"There aren't any [migrants] out today," says Gaczol, a Polish native and member of the Society of Sacred Heart. "The lunch hour isn't the best time. You can usually find them out on the street."

Almost every mid-morning, the sisters head to the local mensa -- soup kitchen -- to visit with African migrants living in Agrigento.

Read the full story at Global Sisters Report.

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