Jesus Was a Migrant

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A biblically grounded presentation of the value of migrants, immigrants, and refugees to each and all of us.

The Bible is rich in powerful stories of migrants.  The children of Israel were migrants.  Jesus was a migrant.  The world is filled with migrants and refugees whose dramatic stories are impossible to ignore.  America is a country of immigrants.  Deirdre Cornell shares her personal experiences and gets to the heart of the matter when she writes:

Human mobility certainly entails sacrifice.  Migration has caused--and been caused by--tremendous suffering.  But it has also served as a source of great blessing.

This is what being a migrant really means, what being a Christian means, and what migrants mean to the spiritual and material growth of a society that welcomes them.

"Not only about the outer journey of a people but also the inner journey of the soul.  Weaving together personal experience, pastoral theology and Christian spirituality, Cornell gives us a new way of seeing the migrant and a new way of understanding ourselves and our sojourn through this life." --Daniel G. Groody, CSC, author, Border of Death, Valley of Life

Deirdre Cornell lived in Mexico for three years as a Maryknoll lay missioner and has, with her husband Kenny, worked with migrant workers in upstate New York for many years.  She has written about her experiences in A Priceless View and American Madonna.

Book Details

Jesus Was a Migrant
Deirdre Cornell
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Jesus Was a Migrant Table of Contents 109 Kb
An opportune resource within the prevailing discourse regarding the increasing, and often controversial, phenomenon of migration and human mobility. Cornell offers a nuanced theological perspective, which emerges from her lived experiences working with migrants and immigrants for two decades.... A useful resource for those readers who wish to explore the understanding that life is a spiritual migration.
This is a book that can appeal to most North Americans, who were migrants themselves at some point of their family history or who have dealt with migrants. Not only does it tell of contemporary stories of migrants from Latin America, but it also reflects on stories of migration in the 19th and 20th centuries from territories like Ireland, Italy and Eastern Europe. It also includes major figures whose lives were touched by migration and/or migrants: Pierre Toussaint, John Neumann, Frances Cabrini, Dorothy Day, Ceasar Chavez and Teresa of Calcutta.
I strongly recommend Cornell's thoughtful book of reflections on the religious roots of human migration written in a very accessible style of personal stories and faith reflections.
However you choose to read Jesus Was A Migrant, your life will be surprisingly enriched.
Cornell opens with attention to the historic relationship of Christian faith to human mobility, then takes readers through salvation history as a record of migrations both human and divine. She writes, "With all its hardships, human mobility serves as a paradigm of religious faith. Christians espouse belief in a Savior who embodied migration in this lifetime - and who continued to cross borders as the risen Lord. In migration, we find a source of blessing." This insight, that migration is central to the human experience taken on and redeemed by Christ, provides the driving force for the book.
... recommended for undergraduate students and institutions with collections dedicated to Christology, cultural anthropology, liberation theology, pastoral theology, and social justice. ... the reader will find much of value in the author's personal reflections related to ministerial work amidst extreme oppression and suffering.
Cornell's personal stories make real the names and faces of migrants whom she has met and who have inspired her. These stories are especially important in changing attitudes and raising consciousness about the issues they face. She has a masterful way of weaving the account of migrants with the Scriptures - especially the life of Mary - and drawing from the Bible insights into a migrant's journey.
Deirdre gifted both with pastoral and theological insight, writing with nuance and language that is neither academic nor patronizingly dull. Each chapter is a story told with gentleness born out of years of relationship, and they were quick to cut me, in different ways.
... Cornell builds bridges between the struggles, hopes and faith of the Mexican farm workers with whom she ministers in upstate New York, her family history of Irish and Italian immigrants, and her own and her family's experiences with hospitality in the Catholic Worker movement and as Maryknoll lay missioners in Mexico. ... offers fresh perspectives and gives deeper meaning to core biblical stores and faith practices.
... a simple yet eye-opening new way of viewing the migrant and personal journeys through life and spirituality, and is a fine recommendation for Christian readers and collections.
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