(Washington, D.C.) May 10, 2014 — Carmen is a Colombian woman and a victim of the terrible violence that has plagued her country for more than 50 years, claiming too many lives and displacing millions from their homes. A Jesuit Refugee Service team visited Carmen's community and engaged in a rich dialogue about reconciliation. Carmen’s story particularly demonstrated the power of reconciliation and a mother’s love.
Despite being struck down by depression that confined her to bed, Carmen had to care for her granddaughter. She rarely left the darkness of her room, only going out at night to visit the cemetery. There she would cry and cry, kneeling by the grave of her son until just before daybreak. Then she would return to her bed, but her granddaughter would slip into her room and say, "Granny, don’t cry. My daddy is alive in heaven."
This changed Carmen. She was compelled to fight for the life of her granddaughter because the girl was fighting for hers. She started to pick herself up and, little by little, to recover her life. Carmen went on to set up an association, Mothers for Life, with the widows and mothers of men who had been killed. They work to help one another overcome their pain and seek reconciliation. Carmen told us her story a few days before the fourth anniversary of her son’s death.
She said, "These days around the anniversary are still hard for me, so now I go more often to the priest’s house because it lifts my spirits. They killed all his family too."
Reconciliation is not easy, but mothers' love for their children and grandchildren inspires action. When we asked another mother in Carmen's community if she could move forward in reconciliation, she reluctantly replied, “A mother will do anything for her children.”
As we celebrate Mother's Day, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA honors mothers everywhere who will do anything for their children. Please join us in honoring, celebrating, and praying for mothers like Carmen whose love for their children inspires us all.