facebook icon twitter icon


There is knowledge and enrichment through welcoming others.


The Biblical message of blessings on those who welcome the stranger is echoed in the experience of anyone committed to working with immigrants and refugees.    There is a knowledge and an enrichment through this welcome that can go beyond expectation and result in a personal and communal transformation that adds depth and meaning to one's life. To be involved is to risk, as in any relationship.  To meet their needs, especially those of refugees whose stories cry loudly  of unmitigated pain and suffering, is very demanding.  But to journey with them toward a new life here can become a privilege and an opportunity for jubilation.

A UNHCR report of 2012 highlights the plight of those around our world who have fled their homelands to find safety and basic security.  Close to 350,000 refugee populations have been identified on the continent of Africa; the Middle East and surrounding countries hold over 80,000; in Asia and the Pacific region 135,00 exist and there are more than 12,000 in Central and South America.

Our hesitation before such a need for resettlement is often enhanced by an increase in zenophobia, or fear of strangers, fueled by news media with its emphasis on the danger of terrorism among newcomers and its emphasis on their problems or crimes, without equal prominence given to newcomers  who enhance our society with all they contribute.  A spirit of self protection and self preservation can undermine inate human hospitality and encourage our governments to make more difficult the opening of our doors to those in need. Indeed our present government policy seems o be moving toward tighter constraints.

Refugees have been stereotyped by some as poor people with limited abilities. The truth is that they are often highly educated people who had careers, jobs, and very successful lives in their country of origin.  They do have much to offer.

Learn more about what we’re doing to help New Canadians and refugees: 

Casa Maria Refugee Homes

Casa Maria is a non-profit volunteer organization that welcomes refugees regardless of race, social status, religious or cultural tradition. Founded in 1994, this organization, a ministry of the Sisters of St Joseph, directed by Sister Ruth Hennessey assisted by an Advisory Board,  offers safe, temporary accommodation and assists refugees in meeting individual and family needs.

At present Casa Maria Homes operates three houses where up to six families can be accommodated at one time. To date this ministry has welcomed in excess of 200 people from countries far and wide, yet with one thing in common - their desire to escape persecution of one type or another.  Sister Ruth states: "We attempt to comfort and support them in their pain and accompany them in their long journey to gain citizenship here and their massive struggle to adapt to a new yet foreign culture.  Witnessing first-hand their transformation  and joy when they receive acceptance gives witness to the power of prayer and the Holy Spirit."


Copyright 2013. Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada.