hands on from the time we’re toddlers. But there’s no room for self-centeredness in Christianity, including the spirit of nativism. Nativism
describes the inner conviction that
“we’re the real Americans”—and everyone who got here after us doesn’t
Unity in plurality isn’t easy.
Yet cultural pluralism is our story.
During the last big century of mass
migration from 1820 to 1920, the
United States was saturated by waves
of immigrants seeking a new home.
The church responded energetically
with ethnic parishes, schools, and
charitable institutions, founded by
men and women religious, hastening
the integration of newcomers into
the American story. That’s how my
grandparents got here. It’s why I’m
a participant in the American dream
It must be admitted: The insti-
Challenges of change
tutional church was less responsive
to Native American and black com-
munities in our midst who sought
the same integration. “The stranger
you know” can be harder to em-
brace than the foreigner you don’t.
Church leaders drafted statements
of intent for these groups but rarely
implemented them. Progress came
mostly through the courage of in-
dividuals such as Augustus Tolton,
the first black priest in the United
States, and groundbreaking women
religious, such as Elizabeth Lange,
Henriette de Lille, Katharine Drexel,
and Thea Bowman, who fought for
the rights of Native American and
black Catholics within the U.S.
The face in need of our welcome
keeps changing. Nineteenth-century
immigrant waves came from Europe.
The arrival of more non-European
immigrants since 1965 has led to an
ironic rise in hostility from citi-
zens descended from the European
influx. Unhappily, this is true in my
family. We’re two generations “off
the boat” ourselves, but my older
relatives are deeply suspicious of the
This anxiety is especially strong
in working-class communities
already hard hit by shifts in the
economy away from what used to
be secure industries. Competition
There’s no room for
the spirit of nativism.
Enter #085 at VocationMatch.com
Enter #188 at VocationMatch.com
In 1866 Saint Thérèse Couderc, the Foundress of the Cenacle Sisters,
had a vision of the Goodness of God. Today, over 150 years later, in Laudato Si’
Pope Francis invites us to gaze on the whole creation with eyes that see Goodness.
Come join us in living out this vision!