"Father, I consecrate myself for them." (John 17:19).
Thinking about the experience of sharing my life with immigrant children in detention in the United States deeply touches my heart. My time with them was short, only three years, but very profound. Through them, God gave me so much, changed me so much.
I am a Franciscan Missionary of Mary from Mexico who was serving in an El Paso, Texas, diocesan project that cares for immigrant people. When minors cross the border without the presence of a parent and are stopped by the U.S. Border Patrol, the children are placed in custody until they can be reunited with their families or returned to their country of origin. This is how I met Juan and Sara, two children who gave a new meaning to my own consecration.
I walked with Juan and Sara at difficult moments of their lives. I can't say I did much for them, but I think my own consecration deepened because of the feeling of powerlessness, when, at night, I had to leave them in God's hands because there was nothing more to do. As Jesus prayed on Holy Thursday, I can now say, "Father, I consecrate myself for them," not because I was successful, but because God put these little ones into my own fragile and sometimes broken hands. I can say these words because Jesus says these words in my life.