Dominican Sisters Grand Rapids WORD ESL and Citizenship MinistriesOn Wednesday, Oct. 16, in Ada Michigan, 190 people from 53 countries were sworn in as United States citizens. Looking on and celebrating the achievements of every person in the room were Carmen Rostar, OP, Janice Mankowski, OP, and Joyce Ann Hertzig.

Especially dear to these Sisters was Evelyn Sunshine Lao. They walked beside Evelyn as she completed study and preparation to take the Citizenship exam in Detroit earlier this year. The swearing in ceremony is the final step to becoming a citizen of of the United States.

The judge read every country represented in the room and number of immigrants from each: Sierra Leone (1), Cameroon (2), Democratic Republic of Congo (2), India (14), Honduras (1), Guatemala (1), Kenya (1), and so on. So many of these countries of origin are places of unrest, war-torn, racked by disasters, disease and famine. As the name of each person is read, joy is tempered by memories and thoughts of countries and people left behind.

Joyce Ann Hertzig, Carman Rostar, Evelyn Sunshine Lao

Above in the middle, new citizens Evelyn Sunshine Lao and her husband, Aung Kyaw Htwe, originally of Burma, stand with Sisters Joyce Ann, Carmen, and Janice, along with Evelyn’s mother Waj3, Rol Tl. Below, Alejandro Bermejo Molina, originally of Mexico, who was also sworn in, visits with Sr. Janice.

Honorable Ray Kent, a U.S. magistrate, oversaw proceedings. As he closed the ceremony, he looked out over the auditorium and said: “If you want to know who America is, you need only look around you… Americans come from every country on Earth. It is immigrants like you who have made America great.”