Ministry to Refugees and Displaced Persons
The Loretto Sisters have been responding to the needs of refugees fleeing countries ravaged by war and famine and seeking a new homeland since the late 1970’s. At that time the Loretto community in Canada responded by sponsoring a Vietnamese family of seven, including two parents and five children. As Loretto sisters journeyed with this family they became intimately acquainted with the many challenges and difficulties the newcomers had to endure as they struggled to adjust to their losses, learn a new language, adapt to a new culture and ultimately, manage to achieve the goal of gainful employment and economic independence.
Since that time, the Loretto Sisters have sponsored refugees fleeing civil strife, war and famine, from various countries of origin including Ethiopia, Eritrea, Rwanda, Central America and Afghanistan. This has been a rich and rewarding ministry that continues to the present, bringing the Loretto Sisters many new and cherished friends.
Settlement Assistance involves a whole gamut of activities. These include helping newcomers to access health care, social insurance (SIN) numbers, social assistance and other social services. Newcomers often have basic survival needs for clothing, housing and food. Some need to be taught basic survival skills such as how to use public transit or access telephone and internet services to find what they need on a day-to-day basis. Many newcomers need access to language training and where necessary, assistance finding employment. All newcomers appreciate support; someone to care about the losses they have had to endure, someone to cheer them on as they overcome challenges and difficulties, someone to recognize and acknowledge their achievements as they realize their dream of a new beginning here in Canada.