Leonora Garcia has lived in sanctuary for more than a year. She exemplifies an unbreakable faith in the face of great injustice. Pictured here is Leonora, holding her young son outside the Forest Hill Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

Amanda Craft, Manager for Advocacy in the Office of Immigration Issues, imparted her wisdom at the October session of Foundations in Wisdom, intensive study and spiritual formation program. The program unpacks wisdom by looking at the intersection of spirituality, justice, and mercy.

The October session explored the role that living from a place of gratitude has on our understanding of wisdom. Our wisdom then leads us to know and see the presence of God.

"As we look at coming from a place of gratitude, we must also look at the role forgiveness plays in this," Amanda said.

Amanda captivated us as she shared her lived experiences and work with the immigrant community. Through her presentation, Amanda expanded our knowledge of current US immigration policies. and gently returned us to scripture for wisdom.

Then Jesus turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman?  (Luke 7: 44). 

Amanda then turned the question to us and asked, "How often do we see those who are on the move as they flee violence?"

Moved with compassion, Amanda shared the story of Leonora Garcia.  Leonora is an immigrant from Mexico and has lived in sanctuary for more than a year in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Leonora's story guided our contemplation and dialogue.  We wrestled with the holy tension that exists when we talk of justice, forgiveness, and gratitude. We were grateful for Amanda's wisdom and gift to us, and in gratitude, we closed in prayer:

We pray that you push us to action with affected communities
to transform structures so that they reflect your goodness, grace, mercy, and light.
It is you, God who keeps faith forever,
Who secures the oppressed
And feeds the hungry.

Foundations in Wisdom is a nine-month spiritual formation program rooted in the Dominican charisms of prayer, study, community, and service.

Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you. - Brother David Stendl-Rast