When we unveiled our 5-year strategic plan, Holistic Accompaniment stood out as one of our core priorities. We wanted to approach our work mindful that people on the move deserve care in all areas of their lives—social, emotional, physical, and mental.
As we have expanded our efforts in Holistic Accompaniment, we have come to treasure this concept as one for everyone involved in the work for migration with dignity. Looking back on the last 15 years, it is clear that each of us needs accompaniment, whether we are in migration or supporting those who are.
Below you’ll find stories and tributes of the people who have accompanied us as staff, people receiving services at Kino, volunteers, or board members. We are grateful to be among a communion of saints, and for the collective care we get to offer one another.
A saint accompanies a family on the move.
“When I left with my family and my children, we were accompanied by the Holy Infant of Atocha. I had witnessed miracles after asking for his intercession before, and so I wanted him to accompany us in our migration. I brought the icon of him that I had at home, and I kept it in my backpack during the entire passage toward Nogales. I cried to him, I asked him to protect us and to be with us. I felt his presence with us, and he was with us when we came here to Nogales. I kept him here in our apartment in Nogales, and I still ask for his help to make sure my children are protected and that everything turns out alright for us.”
– Gabriela* is a mother from Guerrero now living in the US. Name changed to protect privacy.
He gave me a bed to sleep on.
“I’m grateful for the reception and appreciation from the city of Nogales, both sides [of the border]. I send special appreciation for Fr. Cayetano. He was the most receptive of any of the priests. He gave me a bed to sleep on when I would bring young people down on a confirmation trip to the border so that they could encounter the migrants.”
—Fr. Thomas McCormick, Kino Supporter, retired priest in Denver, CO, who formerly did mission work in the Diocese of Hermosillo before Kino was founded. Fr. Cayetano, a Diocesan priest, was instrumental in founding Kino. He served as our parish priest in Nogales, Sonora, for the majority of Kino’s fifteen years.
A legacy of community leadership
“My great-grandmother was a community leader. Ever since I was very small, I would go with her when she worked on community projects. I like to think I’m following in her footsteps, and I see the power of connecting with migrants and hearing their stories.”
—Alma Reynoso, Kino Border Initiative Organizational Development Leader.
Honoring the example of my mother.
“The person who inspired me to get involved with KBI and who inspires me with her generosity every day is my mom. When she started volunteering at the old soup kitchen in 2013, I noticed how every time she went, she came back delighted. She told us how going to serve helped her. Then, she started taking my daughters, and they told me that they loved going there. One day, I decided to go too. Now, I know firsthand how powerful it is to serve, listen to the stories of migrants, share food, and witness the Missionaries of the Eucharist at work. From the first day I went, I decided that I would do everything I could to be a part of this work. I feel so blessed.” –
Marina Leyva Gómez del Campo, KBI Board member
People on the move give me strength.
“I have had the joy of working with many different communities, and it is always the people we serve who give me the strength to continue. Miguel, who was just 7 years old, arrived alone in San Diego after a journey from El Salvador that not all of us would have endured. I think of Leslie, a woman from the mountains of Chihuahua who fights daily to reconcile her indigenous identity with everything that surrounds her in the city. Tomasa and all the migrant women who carry so much. Their resilience and their fight are what give me the strength to continue in this work. Their example sustains me and gives me strength.”
—Maria Silva, KBI Board member
Encountering angels along the way.
“First and foremost, God has accompanied us. When we decided to flee for the border, we asked God to show us where to go. God directed us to Nogales, and we had the blessing of arriving here at Kino, where we met many more angels like Bernie, Alma, Luz Maria, Pedro, Joanna, Adriana, Engracia, Tachita, and especially Tracey. Tracey has been like a mentor to me. I’m convinced she’s an angel – all she is missing is wings.
Through Kino, I got to meet the other Revolucionarios, or migrants, who are taking action to advocate for our right to seek asylum. And my fellow Revolucionarios inspire me. We are a family that has found each other, it has been so important to me to stay connected with them, even now that we are in the US.
That connection with them and with the people of Kino has been so important because what we’ve gone through is very difficult. We have all gotten discouraged. But together, we can give each other hope. There were nights when we would pray and cry out together. Each time, we reminded each other that in spite of the struggle, there was no way back, only a way forward.
Truthfully, I am so grateful to God for all of these angels who have been put in our path – this painful and difficult path – to sustain us on the journey.”
—Carlota, a mother who fled with her family to seek asylum and is now in the US.
I see them multiply the loaves and fish in Kino’s kitchen.
“Hilda and Lupita work wonders in cooking for KBI. They are creative, solid, flexible, dependable, and true artisans! They work with countless volunteers to feed hundreds of people with donated food and it always turns out delicious. They are behind the scenes in one of the most important roles of the organization: feeding the hungry. They do this foundational service humbly, thoroughly and joyfully. They inspire me to serve in the same way.”
—Sister Eileen McKenzie, FSPA (Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration), a volunteer with the Catholic Sisters Walking with Migrants program, generously supported by the Hilton Foundation.
Let’s move forward in faithfulness.
We honor and celebrate each person who has stood in solidarity with people on the move, cared for us, and inspired us to work for a world where migration with dignity is possible. At our upcoming quinceañera event on November 3, we will feature an altar that honors all of these loved ones.
Lastly, we recognize that continuing this work takes many forms of support—prayers, time serving in-person, and also funds. If you would like to honor a loved one with a tribute gift towards sustaining Kino’s work, please click here.