EMBODYING OUR MISSION
“…They shall be to you as native-born children of Israel. With you they shall be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel.”
Welcoming immigrants has deep roots in the Judeo- Christian tradition, as reflected in this passage from Ezekiel, where God commanded that those from outside Israel be given land and accepted just as if they were native-born citizens. Individuals who have emigrated from West Africa to the U.S. are the bedrock of our workforce in The Communities of Don Guanella and Divine Providence, and in this long tradition they have found a welcoming home. In fact, they make up well over half of our staff of 800 employees. Peter Nimley is one such person. Peter retired in August after twenty years of employment with us at the Day Programs at Our Lady of Fatima parish. Peter often said “God has blessed me so much,” but it was really Peter who blessed countless men and women through his compassionate care and loving presence. Like the vast majority of our direct care workforce, Peter came to us from West Africa where he had faced civil war and violence. In Liberia, Peter’s family was not spared. His six-year-old son Peter Jr. was shot and killed by gunmen from an adjacent rooftop just as he opened the shutters of his bedroom window. Despite this tragic loss, Peter continued to find blessings everywhere. Losing his only son was tragic, but Peter knew that he needed to continue to care for his six daughters, one of whom still lives in Liberia. Many of our direct care staff have family members who remain in West Africa. Like Peter, most of them regularly send financial support to help them survive. Peter credits God’s assistance in finding a way for him to leave war-torn Liberia. He has fond memories of his Mom, who always encouraged him “to help anybody who can’t help themselves.” That encouragement to support others was also reinforced by the nuns who taught him at Our Lady of Fatima School in Cape Palmas, Liberia. By coincidence, or Divine Providence, Peter worked for the last several years at our community day program now located at Our Lady of Fatima in Secane. Peter is one of the many faces that contributes to the rich diversity of the Communities of Don Guanella and Divine Providence. Our immigrant workers are integral members of our family. The loving care they offer to our individuals is an expression of their genuine and heartfelt concerns for others. We truly love them all!