By Gregory Kepferle
CEO, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County
Recently we lost a much beloved staff member at Catholic Charities who had worked here for over thirty years. Even in the midst of our grief, I think of her life and the amazing difference she has made in the lives of thousands of immigrant families over those years of service. She bore her own sorrows and pains and experienced her own joys in her life. Her passing leaves a hole in the hearts of all who knew her and loved her. And yet, she also leaves a legacy of hope, a legacy of compassion, and a legacy of victory over death itself. For in her work, she saved lives. An immigrant herself, she reunited families and provided safety to those who fled the violence and poverty of Central America and other parts of the world. Through smart, careful diligent legal work she helped families seeking to get right with the law to come out of the shadows and build new productive lives in our land of opportunity. She lived the Gospel call to welcome the stranger, inviting families into her own home while they got on their feet and consoling them in their suffering. Ana Consuelo’s very name means “the one who comforts.”
We have one life to live. How shall we live it?
Every day at Catholic Charities I witness our volunteers and staff, like Ana Consuelo, living their lives to the fullest. They are full of kindness — full of compassion – and full of dedication in brilliant service to those who are suffering. I am blessed to witness some of their victories: a DACA youth who can study and work; a hard-working immigrant family who are now citizens; a rescued refugee orphan welcomed into a foster family; hungry, lonely seniors who are nourished in body and soul; children who can finally read; families who learn the skills to live with mental illness or physical disabilities; young men and women freed from gangs and incarceration who now have hopeful futures; families who now have safe affordable housing; and entire neighborhoods transformed.
God has given us the gift of life. Let us give our lives back to God in the brief time that we have. Like Ana Consuelo, let us love deeply, serve humbly and give generously of ourselves to those who most need our care and comfort.
For more information visit, www.CatholicCharitiesSCC.org.