UIW Mission and Ministry Hosts Mission Academy at MRC Centro de Bienvenida

November 3, 2023

Every year, UIW Mission and Ministry plans a Mission Academy for University employees to explore ways to integrate the Mission of the University into their daily work. Faculty and administrators belonging to various interdisciplinary programs were welcomed together to participate in this year’s event at the MRC Centro de Bienvenida, also known as the Migrant Resource Center, operated by Catholic Charities. The MRC Centro de Bienvenida is a resource center that aids migrants with multiple means of support as they pass through San Antonio on their way to sponsors located across the nation. The Center helps by offering case management, legal assistance, counseling, and humanitarian aid.  

“We are happy to welcome and assist neighbors passing through San Antonio with dignity,” shared Catholic Charities’ President and CEO J. Antonio Fernandez in a 2022 press release. “Leaving their home countries is not a choice, but a necessity as they search for safety, basic needs, and opportunity to provide for their families.” 

UIW’s Sr. Walter Maher, CCVI, vice president for Mission and Ministry, and the Right Rev. Dr. Trevor Alexander, Protestant chaplain, brought a group of faculty members to tour the facility and become better acquainted with its services and impact within the San Antonio community.

Sr. Walter shared that this organization and what it stands for align with the University’s Mission and the Catholic Social Teaching embedded within it. “Social teaching is about respecting, reverencing and honoring the dignity of the human person, who is created in the image and likeness of God,” Sr. Walter explained. “Indeed the trip is intimately aligned with the mission of both the sisters and the University because God reminds us to care for the most vulnerable, to welcome the stranger, and to see the person as other.” 

Sr. Walter also noted that, “observing the care and love extending to the most vulnerable in society, namely women and children,” was her favorite part of the experience. She shared that after spending the day at the facility she felt that the biggest take away was to be conscious of what is going on in the world around us. By actively opening one’s senses, individuals can become aware of the pressing issues of today and consider how to create a better tomorrow.

Many people aren’t given a choice when it comes to migrating, but the Center tries its best to make that difficult experience more bearable. For faculty and staff in attendance, this year’s Mission Academy shined a light on what the migration experience is truly like for those forced to endure it, a learning experience that will help them facilitate better student understanding of today’s global issues in alignment with the UIW Mission.

To learn more about Centro de Bienvenida and how you too can help, visit Catholic Charities.