Lawful Assembly 25: Stop the Pretense That It is Just About Public Health


This is an interview with Rev. Craig B. Mousin, an Adjunct Faculty member of the DePaul University’s College of Law, Refugee and Forced Migrations Studies Program and the Grace School of Applied Diplomacy. The podcast examines the “Public Health and Border Security Act of 2022” and critiques the intent of the proposal.  It argues that the implementation of Title 42 procedures in denying asylum seekers entrance to the United States masquerades as public health and violates domestic law.


1.    Church World Service:  This link provides a sample communication with your elected Senators and Representative to “Urge Congress to Reject Anti-Asylum Policies and Invest in Humane Welcome”:

  1. The Welcome With Dignity Coalition offers you this sample script to call your elected representatives today:


The quote from Monette Zard can be found in “Epidemiologists and Public Health Experts Implore Biden Administration to End Title 42 and Restart Asylum” at:

The National Immigrant Justice Center offers an explanation of why Title 42 must be eliminated and offers several action steps: “Exploiting the Pandemic To Expel Asylum Seekers: An FAQ On Why Title 42 Expulsions Must End at:

The Interfaith Immigration Coalition provides you with a toolkit to take action at:

The Welcome With Dignity offers a: “Title 42 Must Go Social Media Toolkit” at:

The budget amounts comparing enforcement expenditures to resettlement efforts came from:  Todd Miller, “More Than a Wall: Corporate Profiteering and the Militarization of U.S. Borders,” Transnational Institute (TNI), September 16, 2019 at

We welcome your inquiries or suggestions for future podcasts.  If you would like to ask more questions about our podcasts or comment, email us at:

Louise Week 2022

In honor of Saint Louise de Marillac’s Feast Day on May 9th, the Division of Mission and Ministry invites DePaul students, faculty, and staff to celebrate Louise Week 2022.  

Louise de Marillac lived in a time of great upheaval and crisis. She along with numerous female contemporaries provided shoulders that bore the weight of a country racked by war, entrenched in political upheaval, overwhelmed by the plague, and struck by hunger. The shadows of her own life’s story were filled with grief and loss and provided a vehicle for transformation that led to creating new pathways for women. Her story reminds us of the possibility of light transcending darkness.  

Connecting to Louise’s story and tying it to the present can encourage us in times of suffering and uncertainty. As we seek healing from the impacts of living through a pandemic for the last two years, Louise’s example calls us to community, healing, and rekindling joy.  

Join us May 9-13 to pause, connect, and celebrate St. Louise’s legacy alive today at DePaul. Just as she was sustained by the generosity and goodness of those around her, may we too take the time to pause, uplift, and celebrate with gratitude those who sustain our journey.  

Curious to learn more about Louise’s personal journey? Check out this virtual six-day pilgrimage created last year that follows her footsteps across Paris. 

Louise Week 2022 Events:

Louise Week Mass
Monday, May 9 (Noon)
Loop Miraculous Medal Chapel and LPC St. Louise de Marillac Chapel

Celebrate the Feast Day with a celebratory Mass at 12 pm at both campuses. Everyone is welcome! 

Louise Feast Day Lunch
Monday, May 9 (12:45pm – 2:00pm)
Loop 11th Floor Terrace, LPC Student Center 104

Celebrate the Feast Day with a celebratory lunch at 12:45 pm. Everyone is welcome! 

  • In the Loop, join us on the 11th floor terrace in the DePaul Center. RSVP here for the Loop lunch: 
  • For the lunch in Lincoln Park, no need to register, just come to Catholic Campus Ministry (Student Center – Suite 104). 

Food For Thought
Monday, May 9, (11:30am – 12:30pm)
LPC Student Center 314A

Join CCM’s Food for Thought and Meet Me at the Mission for lunch and a meaningful conversation about St. Louise de Marillac’s living legacy. 


HPW – Wellness Wednesday
Wednesday, May 11, (12:00pm – 12:30pm or 4:00pm – 4:30pm)
Arts & Letters Hall 204

Join us for our signature Wellness Wednesday series! Our peer health educators will feature a different topic that aims to promote wellness and encourage you to take care yourself and others. During Louise week, Mission and Ministry will join us to talk about healthy boundary setting.


Cafecito con Tepeyac 
Thursday, May 12, (3:00pm – 4:00pm)
LPC Student Center 325

Join us for a conversation about women’s leadership, the legacy of St. Louise de Marillac and community with Latinx students. Cafecito and pan dulce will be provided!  


Catholic Women’s Group 
Friday, May 13, (1:00pm – 2:00pm)
LPC Student Center Suite 104

Join us for a conversation about women’s leadership in the Catholic Church. 


DWN Louise de Marillac Spirit & Mentorship Awards 
Friday, May 13, (3:00pm)

This year, the DePaul Women’s Network is honoring mentors. The awards will be held online on May 13th at 3pm and will feature interactive opportunities to share mentorship strategies, celebrate our mentors and mentees, and hear about the impact that a good mentor has on members of our community. As part of our celebration, we will also be raffling off ten $50 GrubHub certificates! Join us for an afternoon hour full of community, conversations and inspiration from the people living Louise’s legacy! 


Lawful Assembly Episode 24: Restoring Roots of Refugee Responses

This is an interview with Rev. Craig B. Mousin, an Adjunct Faculty member of the DePaul University’s College of Law, Refugee and Forced Migrations Studies Program and the Grace School of Applied Diplomacy. The podcast explores different national responses to refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.  It urges that the current generosity offered to Ukrainian refugees serves as a template for a more responsible refugee protection for all nations.


  1. Church World Service: Rebuilding the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP): Recommendations to Strengthen Refugee Resettlement in the United States” March 2022 at:
  2. Human Rights First has offered a link to advocate for passage of the Afghan Adjustment Act at:
  3. Evacuate our Allies has put together a social media tool kit to assist educating about and advocating for the Afghan Adjustment Act:

Editorial: Welcome the stranger, whether from Libya, Ukraine or Mexico

The Advocates for Human Rights have provided a fact sheet on the issues demonstrating the need for the Afghan Adjustment Act at:

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s quote, “I hate war” came from a speech he gave at Chautauqua, New York (August 14, 1936) and can be found at:

The concept of “responsibility sharing” came from a blog post by Elena Chachko and Katerina Linos in “2022 UKRAINE CRISIS: Sharing Responsibility for Ukrainian Refugees: An Unprecedented Response,” March 5, 2022, Lawfare, at:

“Canada launches new temporary residence pathway to welcome those fleeing the war in Ukraine,” March 17, 2022, can be found at:

We welcome your inquiries or suggestions for future podcasts.  If you would like to ask more questions about our podcasts or comment, email us at:

Busy Person’s Retreat Day 5: Are You Ready?

View an illustrated PDF version of this reflection here.

We have come to the end of our week…and to the end of our Busy Person’s Retreat.  Five days of thought and reflection on themes meant to help us find calm in the midst of storms and reassurance when uncertainty overtakes us.  On day one we began by recognizing how busy – or full – our lives are and how, even amidst the bounty of this fullness, we yearn for moments of stillness and pause.  Day two’s reflection reminded us that we thrive when there is a balance between action and inaction – or agitation and serenity – in the lives we lead.  Day three introduced us to multiple forms of meditation as a means of cultivating inner awareness, compassion and calm.  While on day four, we learned about the different types of rest that we need in order to maintain a sense of wellness.

What will we take with us from this week?  What new wisdom or action are we ready to invite into our lives?  Vincent de Paul often reminded his community members that they had to “learn how to free yoursel(ves) and be open to God’s will[1]” in order to live with meaning and purpose.  In other words, to learn how to detach from the distractions, fears, and disturbances that keep us from hearing and going to where we are being called.  Once we have freed ourselves all we need is a “ready heart.[2]”  With this in mind, ask yourself: am I ready?

Pause for Reflection and Action:

As you look back upon the Busy Person’s Retreat, were there moments that stand out for you?  Were there thoughts or images that especially resonated with you?  Pay attention to these moments and these thoughts.  Jot them down in order to remember.  They may help you discern how to introduce new peace and balance into your life.

Consider taking some time and building into your day some of the lessons you learned from this past week. Experiment with different forms of meditation.  Make a plan for how you will pursue multiple types of rest.  Or, simply take time to sit and breathe in quiet stillness.   Be attentive to these experiences and endeavor to continue them.

How does it feel to be part of a community at DePaul whose Vincentian heritage encourages you to grow by participating in things such as reflection, prayer, meditation, service and community?  Are you feeling called to deepen your engagement with our university’s Vincentian mission?

[1] Go, learn how to free yourself and to be open to God’s Will; let that be your lesson. (Volume: 12 | Page#: 197) Indifference, 15 May, 1659

[2] (Volume: 13a | Page#: 36) Sermon on Holy Communion

Vincentian Heritage Special Issue: 2020 and Beyond: DePaul University’s Community Responds to Crises

Our Biannual Journal is Free and Ready for Download

The year 2020 began an unprecedented era as we faced three intermingled crises: the COVID-19 pandemic, the scourge of systemic racism brought further to light by the murder of George Floyd, and a presidential campaign that highly divided our country. These were frightening, strange times, full of sound and fury yet juxtaposed by a silent, deserted campus. How did these crises change us? How did they impact our work and our relationships? How did we respond as a Vincentian higher learning community? And, given what we’ve experienced, how do we now move forward?

To answer these questions the DePaul University Vincentian Studies Institute called out to our university community for materials responding to 2020. As a result, we are pleased to announce the publication of our newest peer-reviewed e-book edition of Vincentian Heritage, “2020 and Beyond: DePaul University’s Community Responds to Crises.” This special issue managed by Prof. Matthieu Brejon de Lavergnée, the Dennis Holtschneider Chair of Vincentian Studies at DePaul University, features an opening from A. Gabriel Esteban, PhD, DePaul University’s president, a theological reflection from Guillermo Campuzano, C.M., vice president of the Division of Mission and Ministry, and a wide variety of contributions from prominent faculty, staff, and university affiliates. From articles, to photos, to poetry, to collections of student artwork, each of these fourteen works is devoted to our Vincentian response to the crises that enveloped us in 2020, and that indeed continues to this day.

We offer this volume of Vincentian Heritage to our DePaul community in hopes that it helps us to better understand the myriad ways all of us have worked to face the challenges of this unprecedented time.

To download the complete book for iPad or PC, please click here.

Individual .pdfs for each article are also available for download here.


Featured in this edition:

  • “Introduction. 2020: DePaul University’s Community Responds to Crises,” Matthieu Brejon de Lavergnée, Ph.D.
  • “The Guiding Principles of Leading and Living Through a Pandemic,” A. Gabriel Esteban, Ph.D.
  • “A Vincentian Reading of the Pandemic: Hope Beyond All Reasonable Expectation,” Guillermo Campuzano, C.M.
  • “Creativity Can’t Be Canceled: DePaul Students Express Their Pandemic Experience Through Art,” Lin Batsheva Kahn
  • “Critical Perspectives on Our Current Moment: An Experiment in Teaching for 2020,” Jane Eva Baxter, Ph.D., Sarah Brown, Jenicel Carmona, Val Carnes, Zoe Espinosa, Randall Honold, Ph.D., Cary Robbins, George Slad, Margaret Storey, Ph.D.
  • “Online Community Engagement Enhances Service Learning,” Dan Baron, Kaliah Liggons, MPA, David Pintor, Jonathan Handrup, LSW, and Rubén Álvarez Silva, M.Ed
  • “The Graces of 2020: Catholic Campus Ministry Students Seek Out Blessings Amid a Tumultuous Year,” Amanda Thompson, MDiv, & Dan Paul Borlik, C.M., DMin
  • “‘Learning Not to Despair of Our Own Age’: The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in This Time of Pandemic,” Timothy P. Williams
  • “The COVID-19 Pandemic and Homelessness: Depaul International Responds,” J. Patrick Murphy, C.M., Ph.D.
  • “Mass Incarceration, COVID-19, and Race as Exposure to Early Death,” Traci Schlesinger, Ph.D.
  • “Pandemic, Poverty, and Power: Biosocial Ethics of Global Solidarity for Health,” Stan Chu Ilo, Ph.D.
  • “C-Void,” Amaris Casiano-Zoko
  • Opening Images Essay, Olga Rozenbaum, Stefania Cosentino

Busy Person’s Retreat Day 4: The 7 Types of Rest We All Need

View or download an illustrated PDF version of this article here

Rest is to work what harmony is to melody.  They complement each other and when the two come together, the results can be beautiful.  The human need to cease working and relax has been proclaimed by world religions, extolled by poets, and legislated by governing bodies.  Children have rest periods in school, highways have rest stops for travelers, and the faithful have eternal rest after lives well lived.  Rest has many well-documented health benefits [1] and, for the good of our minds, bodies and spirits, it is essential.

However, getting the rest we need is not always easy and is not as simple as just getting a good night’s sleep.  Recently, attention has been paid to something called the seven different types of rest.[2]  The idea being that we need multiple ways of taking a break from our daily labors and renewing our energy.  These seven different types of rest are probably not surprising to anyone and include the following dimensions: Physical, Mental, Emotional, Social, Sensory, Creative and Spiritual.   Being mindful of these different areas of our lives and the need that each has for the restorative effects of rest is a step towards health and wellness.

For physical rest, of course, getting good sleep is important.  So, too, is regular exercise.  But, also beneficial are simple things like stretching in our chairs and getting up from our desks to walk around for a few moments every half hour or so.  With mental rest, we can use a similar approach by taking long stretches of time away from work when possible as well as scheduling in short breaks during our workdays to do things like scroll through the news or entertain ourselves with a few quick Youtube videos.   Emotional rest can be challenging due to the self-awareness and vulnerability it demands.   However, when we are able to do things like minimize our negative self-talk or comparing ourselves to others, the emotional relief is real.  Social rest may involve intentionally being with people with whom we can be our total and authentic selves; where energy is actually gained when we are together.  Sensory rest may often go overlooked but involves being aware of what sensory input exhausts us and then mitigating it.  Limiting our screen time or turning down the noise that constantly distracts us are ways to gain sensory rest.  Creative rest engages our imagination and allows new thoughts a chance to breathe.  An art project or journaling time are simple examples.   Finally, spiritual rest involves connecting with something transcendent; something bigger than ourselves that helps to give us meaning.  Prayer, meditation and community service are some examples of this.

I think Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac would have appreciated the wisdom behind these seven different kinds of rest.  They understood that repose and renewal of all types were essential for themselves and their communities.  Prayer and meditation were regular parts of their days and they both frequently urged their community members to take good care of themselves, work a little less and adopt healthy habits that leant themselves to balanced lifestyles[3].  Vincent insisted that his missionaries take the months of July, August and September off from heavy labor and travel in order to “catch our breath and recoup a little energy.”[4]  And, on a more personal level, Vincent is known to have taken Thursdays off from his heavy workload.  Moreover, Louise is known to have loved and appreciated art, perhaps for the restorative effects it had on her spiritual and creative energies.

Rest is indeed a valuable, normal part of our day-to-day human journey albeit something we may overlook at times.  Whether for its health and wellness benefits or because it is fundamental to our Vincentian identity, let us honor the role of rest and its restorative powers in our lives.

Pause for Reflection:

Briefly review the seven types of rest mentioned above.  Without putting too much time and effort in, which ones strike you as needing attention in your life?  After identifying these, is there something(s) you can do to give yourself a bit more rest in these areas?

If you wish to take more time exploring your rest-needs, feel free to take this free Rest Quiz:

What are actions that make you feel rested, renewed or rejuvenated?  Can you make a plan to do a few of these in the near future?

Reflect back on the first 3 days of the Busy Person’s Retreat.  What wisdom or gift from them do you wish to take with you?


[2] Dalton-Smith, Saundra. Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity. Faith Words, 2019.

[3] Blessed be God that your health is better! Take care of yourself for the love of God and reflect that one way to do this is to remain cheerful by conforming yourself completely to the holy will of God and not worrying about anything. State your needs very simply and do not be upset that your illness makes you useless.  Louise de Marillac (Volume: | Page#: 56) added on 6/2/2012; I ask you once again to work a little less and take care of yourself. Vincent de Paul (Volume: 5 | Page#: 506) To Edme Jolly, 7 January, 1656 added on 6/28/201

[4] Now, you know that our missions come to a halt during these three months of July, August, and September, which we set aside to catch our breath and recoup a little energy. Vincent de Paul (Volume: 8 | Page#: 39) To Edme Jolly, 18 July, 1659 added on 6/28/2011


Busy Person’s Retreat Day 3: Meditation, with a Purpose

View an illustration PDF version of the reflection here.

What do you think of when you hear the word meditation? I’ll be the first to admit that my thoughts immediately picture a yogi, sitting cross-legged in lotus position, floating a few inches from the ground, blissfully empty of thought, their inner-eye open to the Universe.

Or, perhaps you think of the commercials for meditation apps, promising one minute of calm while a soothing image of a raindrop slowly trickles off a leaf, or a close-up of a parent as they close their eyes on the couch while a chaotic maelstrom of children, pillows, and food swirl around them, their mind the calm center of the storm.

Or, maybe you think of yourself, sitting or standing in prayer, either at home or in a church, mosque, or temple, emptying your buzzing thoughts and nagging worries and trying to offer them up to the Divine for help, relief, and community.

Absolutely none of these are wrong. It seems as long as humans have lived in the world, we have needed a way to take our minds out of the world for reflection, even if for a moment. There is a human need to quiet the mind and not get swept up in life’s constant flow of sensations, thoughts, and noise. Meditation exists in a beautiful kaleidoscope of forms, each adapted to the needs of a particular culture. From Buddhism, Hinduism, and Daoism, to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, most spiritual traditions have a practice of intentional mindfulness, each with their own permutations, perspectives, and techniques. Even outside of religious practice, meditation has become increasingly popular commercially and in the medical community, as its benefits have been clinically proven time and again (from stress, pain, and anxiety reduction to boosted immunity, mental acuity, and psychological wellness).

While we get our English word meditation through the Latin meditari, meaning to think, ponder or contemplate, it’s also been used as a translation for similar practices in Hinduism and Buddhism (dhyai in Sanskrit, later adapted into a form of the Xiu Dao in Chinese Buddhism). So, what is meditation? Generally, meditation is the intentional, trained act of contemplation to cultivate greater awareness, empathy, calm, or compassion. The second part of this is key, especially from a Vincentian point of view. To Saint Vincent, one of the greatest values of meditation is in how it changes you, not just in understanding but also “affections,” making you more receptive to compassionate action.

Thus, the focus that comes during a meditative state is not the goal; instead, it is a calm, compassionate mindfulness that endures after meditation. As the Saint Vincent quote above notes, it is in “actions and behavior” that “show clearly how they have benefitted from it.” Meditation, seen this way, does not lead one away from the world, to live in seclusion on a mountain-top; instead it leads one back into the world, but with greater empathy and calm.

It’s not just sitting and breathing

There is a wide world of meditative options out there to try. A few broad categories are described below. Most of these practices incorporate awareness of breath in their technique, which is simply focusing on each breath that comes in and out. Close your eyes. Breathe in.. and out. Focusing on breathing helps clear the mental clutter.


Adapted from the Buddhist tradition, mindfulness meditation is the practice of attempting to become a neutral observer of your own thoughts and feelings. After settling into your breathing, if a thought comes, let it visit like a guest, and then let it leave just as freely. The goal is to not become impatient or engaged in any one thought or feeling. Easy to say, hard to do. Mindfulness can often use breath awareness, a repetition of a mantra, or a physical focus like prayer beads or a rosary to help better focus the mind.


Rather than trying to sit still and be as unmoving as your thoughts, movement meditation leans into the fact that we are embodied creatures, and engages our physicality so that our minds can become free of noise. This includes yoga and tai chi, but also activities like walking and gardening. If you find the idea of sitting still excruciating, this might be the one for you. The next time you go for a walk or run (weather permitting) try focusing on your breath, and letting your mind empty. Walking through nature can be enormously helpful in attuning your mind not to the past or future, but to the present.


Spiritual meditation really varies by religious tradition, but it can be best thought of generally as a kind of prayer. Spiritual meditation often incorporates the mantras, stories, and reflective practices of a religious tradition. For example, Ignatian meditation is a Christian practice that heavily uses imagination and visualization, rooted in Catholic cosmology, to guide and focus the mind. Alternately, Sufism, Jewish Kabbalah, and other traditions have rich practices that also incorporate movement and mindfulness in their contemplation of God.


I hope that this brief tour through the world of meditation will encourage you to try it, if only for a week. See what happens! Pick a time every day to spend ten minutes in contemplation. Maybe try different forms of meditation to see what works, and what absolutely doesn’t.

Also remember that emptiness of mind is not the goal; it’s the compassionate clarity that follows that matters.

  • What form of meditation seems to come most naturally to you? What form doesn’t?
  • Is there a spiritual tradition that uses meditation that you’d like to learn more about?
  • How can you incorporate meditation into your daily life?

Busy Person’s Retreat Day 2: Balance and Inner Piece

View or download an illustrated PDF of the reflection here.

There are many different ways in which we may feel ourselves to be busy, or to feel overwhelmed.  We can feel overwhelmed by tasks that we are required or being asked to complete.  Sometimes, however, our minds feel busy whether we are engaging in actions or not.  This leaves us with a feeling that we have no peace in our hearts.

One way of looking at this is that we live in a time in which we are bombarded by information.  We receive news continuously and instantaneously from around the world.  Discussion and distraction of all types: political, entertainment, work related and of so many other types is literally always at our fingertips.

For some people prayer is a powerful way to bring increased serenity and inner peace.  For others, related processes of naming what is one’s mind and heart can have some of the same benefits.

Agitation of many types, whether among people or internally in one’s heart can be a blessing.  It can lead us to acknowledge a need for change, in unjust systems or in the brokenness of patterns and habits of our lives and relationships.  Our Vincentian patrons were no strangers to this wisdom.  Both Vincent and Louise experienced restlessness which called them to action and encouraged increased awareness in others believing it should lead to change.  Certainly the Vincentian question “What must be done?” can be described as an agitational one.[1]

If we sometimes need to be provoked into action we must also be able to find peace.  Finding peace can make us more effective in our work and make a source of calm and tranquility for those around us.  This is profoundly reflected in many of our spiritual traditions ranging from Prophet Muhammad on the hijrah journey fleeing prosecution in Mecca hiding in a cave stating to his terrified companion “Do not fear or be sad, God is with us”[2] to the gospel story of Jesus calm amidst the storm on the sea and addressing his disciples “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”[3]

Vincent and Louise also offer this advice strongly.  For them, this tranquility could best be found in realizing humbly one’s own limitations along with one’s responsibility.  We are responsible for our actions but we cannot feel responsible for what lies beyond our control or capacity.  Through a faithful trust in the divine or transcendent or through an acknowledgement of reality, we seek to move to this place of inner peace, even where we experience chaos and especially while we remain engaged in actions. In this life, we cannot expect to reach this once and forever, but it is a condition to which we hope to return over and over again, when it is perhaps inevitably disrupted.

Pause for Reflection:

What are some sources of stress for me at this moment?  What are the actions I can take to address these issues?  What are some things in which I can trust and find security even in the midst of uncertainty?

Most of us are probably familiar with Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer.[4]  This short prayer offers a powerful summary of some of the things we have mentioned in today’s reflection.

God, give me grace to accept with serenity

the things that cannot be changed,

Courage to change the things

which should be changed,

and the Wisdom to distinguish

the one from the other.

[1] Even more so when the question is understood in its fullness as necessarily containing the specific questions “What must I do? What must you do? What must we do?” See Udovic, Edward R. C.M., Ph.D. (2008) “”Our good will and honest efforts.” Vincentian Perspectives on Poverty Reduction Efforts,” Vincentian Heritage Journal: Vol. 28 : Iss. 2 , Article 5.

[2] Qur’an 9:40

[3]  Matthew 8:23–27, Mark 4:35–41, and Luke 8:22–25

[4] Niebuhr went through several different versions of the prayer over his life, and it has been adopted and repurposed with slight changes by many over time but the basic spirit of it seems to be shared by all.

Lawful Assembly Podcast Episode 23: What the heck is a proposed rule? (and other questions)

This is an interview with Rev. Craig B. Mousin, an Adjunct Faculty member of the DePaul University’s College of Law, Refugee and Forced Migrations Studies Program and the Grace School of Applied Diplomacy. The podcast responds to questions raised by our listeners about the importance of responding to proposed federal regulations.  In five of our previous podcasts we invited you to file responses to proposed regulations or federal rules impacting how our nation treats asylum seekers and refugees.  We have been asked why engage in submitting comments and what else can one do to expand hospitality within our nation?

If you are seeking additional immigration on asylum issues such as limiting asylum applications or restricting admissions based on public health considerations, visit the National Immigrant Justice Center’s resource page at:

If you would like more information on the work of the DePaul College of Law Asylum and Immigration Law Clinic, visit:

If you would like more information on refugee resettlement programs, re-visit Podcast 10, “Rebuild Refugee Resettlement,” where you will also find information about Chicago-area refugee resettlement programs:

The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago Refugee Resettlement Program

Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago


World Relief Chicagoland Refugee Resettlement

Heartland Human Care Services

We welcome your inquiries or suggestions for future podcasts.  If you would like to ask more questions about our podcasts or comment, email us at:

Busy Person’s Retreat Day 1: Take Time and Make Space

To view or download a PDF copy, click here.

So, you signed up for a Busy Person’s Retreat this week. Something drew you to do so. What was it?

What did you assess was needed or desired in your life to sign up to receive these daily reflections for a week?

Congratulations on taking this step… whether toward self-care, toward reflection and mindfulness, toward deeper meaning and purpose, or toward whatever good and authentic yearning inspired you to do so.

As we begin this week of reflection, let me ask you one more question:  When you consider yourself a “busy person”…why is that so, and what does that describe or mean to you?

When I catch myself thinking or talking about how horribly busy I am, I find it helpful and informative to catch myself, to pause and to do a moment of self-assessment. Why am I feeling so busy? And, what does “busy” describe or mean to me in this moment? How much of this “busy-ness” is, at some level, by habit or choice and how much of it is necessity or imposed upon me?

By taking just a moment to pause and reflect in this way over the years, I have come to see that in our U.S. American culture at large, we tend to put a high value on being busy – or, at least, being seen as one who is busy. Being busy, or feeling rushed while moving from one thing to the next, or having so much to do that we can’t possibly slow down, are at times projected or proclaimed as evidence of our productivity in front of others, or as unspoken justifications of our own importance.

While this tendency certainly has been and remains part of my own erroneous way of thinking, a habit present to me from my early years, I can say fairly confidently that it is also clearly a tendency that we absorb from the broader cultural milieu in which we live. In other words, when I stop to pause and reflect for just a moment about why I am feeling so busy and what the word is describing or means to me in any given moment, I realize that I am at times simply wrapped up in a cultural norm that is assessing my worth in a way that is, quite frankly, just not healthy, meaningful, fair, nor accurate. Assessing our worth based on how busy we are is absurd – yet it is so commonplace.

In speaking of the Jewish/Christian practice of Sabbath as a day of rest each week, author Walter Brueggemann points out the way in which such rest can actually be seen and practiced as a fruitful form of resistance to the dominant culture: “Sabbath is a practical divestment so that neighborly engagement, rather than production and consumption, defines our lives.” [i](18)

At times, being or feeling busy may indeed allow us to see that we have put unrealistic expectations on ourselves, or that impossible expectations have indeed been put on us by others – whether in a job or in our home life – and we are  entangled in them. This insight has the potential to be liberating, if we are able to accept and name it for what it is, to ask for the help of others to alleviate some of the pressure, or to make other changes within our control to bring us back into a more healthy and realistic balance.

Very often, we may find that the fullness of our life and who we are may in fact be harmed or lessened to some degree by our being overly or constantly “busy.” Our “busy-ness” does not allow the time and space for new growth, for the flowering of seeds planted, for the fire within us to breath in the fresh air needed to fuel our authentic creativity and passion. It also doesn’t allow us room to reflect, an essential behavior or practice necessary to look objectively at our life experiences and to learn from them. Being overly busy doesn’t allow time and space for rest and relaxation, for friendships to be nurtured, or for us to be fully and truly present to the people in our lives and to the realities before us. When we are busy, we are rarely “mindful” and certainly not “soul-full.”

What is hurt by your taking a few minutes now and regularly in your life to pause, to breathe deeply, and to slow down just a bit? Answer:  Probably nothing and no one at all.

What is gained by doing so?  Answer:  The fullness of who you are. And, that is a very good thing for you, for others around you and for the world. Your wholeness is not only healthy for you, but is also a gift to others. Taking a few minutes each day – maybe several times a day – simply to pause, breathe and reflect will help you to be happier, more at peace, more creative and effective… and in the end, if you and others around you need to know… it will probably help you to be more productive as well!

One little life hack that I have found helpful is to catch myself when I use the word “busy” and – if it makes sense to do so – to describe my life situation instead as “full.” My life is very full has a different ring to it, a different meaning.  I like the idea of my cup overflowing with the life that I am receiving – not something I am doing or accomplishing, but something that I am choosing to fully embrace and engage in the best way I can.

May this week’s reflections allow you the space and nourishment you need to grow into a new and more fruitful fullness!

[i] Walter Brueggemann. Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now (2014). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press. P. 18