Posted by Julia Goonan
on 13 May 2020
The International Union of Superiors General (UISG) is a significant incorporation performing inspiring work across the world. Bringing together Superior Generals and Congregational Leaders of Women Religious Institutes, the work of the UISG is one that does not go unrecognised in the communities they build and establish.
One of the most significant projects the UISG has been working on to date is the Migrants Project Sicily. The project took shape after two women saw the crisis where men, women and children were arriving at the borders of Italy, fleeing war, poverty, human trafficking and torture, and decided the crisis needed to be handled and abolished. In collaboration with Talitha Kum, a worldwide network that was founded in 2019 by the UISG that aims to raise awareness and eliminate human trafficking across the world. They have a base in 77 countries on every continent where they provide courses, workshops and seminars that are all based on promoting cooperation and collaboration with government organisations and non-governmental organisations to make a greater difference to the world of the less fortunate. The Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH) is a member of the Talitha Kum UISG network in Australia, where De La Salle Brothers are also a part of the organisation. Lasallian Brother, Tony Cummins FSC, is an Australian representative in Rome that works alongside the Sisters in Rome. Due to the high numbers of migrant needs, the De La Salle and Marist Brothers ministries opened a second project, named the Fratelli Project. The program, located in Saida's outskirts and Beirut, welcomes refugee children who have fled from the war in Syria and from religious persecution in Iraq to provide them with education and safety.
There are multiple migrant reception centres as part of the UISG Migrant Project - Sicily, one of these centres is on the Island of Lampedusa. When the community opened in November 2019, it was directly after a horrific tragedy of a boat of 70 migrants capsized on the way to the island in October. Only 12 of the bodies were recovered, some were pregnant, and one was a child. This heartbreak brought the community on the island to form as one, no matter what race, culture or religion. The work of these Sisters is not done just for Christians. They provide immense support and supplies for anyone and everyone that needs it.
Sister Elisabetta Flick is the Coordinator of the UISG Migrants Projects and said in a recent article that
"These Sisters are willing to be a present as friends among migrants and to share their lives with the local people. We returned to UISG in Rome not only deeply affected by the experience of death and pain but also with a strong experience of communion and solidarity with the local people."
The work of the Sisters doesn't stop after they return home from visiting and working in communities. The UISG is continually seeking to find more need to help and establish more unity within Italy. There are multiple Migrant Projects across the world, including UISG Catholic Care for Children International and UISG Programme for the Preparation of Formators.
The UISG accept donations through their website.