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|L-R Erika Vergara, Sister Doretta D’Albero, and Sister Mary Ellen Burns standing in front of their offices in Fair Haven.|
In 1906, a small congregation of nuns from the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus left their home in Tuscany to perform missionary work in New Haven. The United States was in the midst of a great wave of European immigration, and the Sacred Heart sisters were called to help other newly arrived Italians in need. They took in orphans, taught sewing classes, provided religious instruction to children, and assisted new arrivals with the difficult transition of starting over in a strange place.
A century later, sisters from the Sacred Heart congregation are once again helping recent immigrants find stability in Greater New Haven. Located in the former convent of Saint Rose of Lima in Fair Haven, Apostle Immigrant Services offers legal assistance to immigrants trying to navigate the dizzyingly complex immigration system. The core of their work is resolving visa issues that risk breaking families apart or are preventing individuals who are stuck abroad from reuniting with families already in the United States. Many of the clients come from horrific war zones or countries with oppressive governments.
“The stories you hear make you think twice about ever criticizing or complaining about anything,” says Sister Doretta D’Albero, an accredited Bureau of Immigration Appeals representative with Apostle. Continue reading.