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AlphaCentauri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-11-05 11:49 AM
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Nun works to comfort immigrants,1299,DRMN_15_3918020,00.html

Sister Molly Muoz races her borrowed church van along an onion field outside of Fort Lupton, a trail of dust signaling her arrival to migrant farm workers taking their afternoon break.

She is just in time.
"Hola Madrecita," the men sing in unison. "We have to go back to work now."

"Not before I give you some bread and refreshments."

Muoz hops out of the van and opens the cargo door. In addition to an ice chest full of soft drinks and fresh bread donated by a Denver bakery, she hauls an assortment of other items given to her by merchants and parishioners.

She hands out linens and toiletries because many of the workers cross the border with little more than food and water. She gives them goggles to shield their eyes from the dust and baseball caps to protect them from the searing summer sun.

The circle of men surrounding the van grows.

"Gracias, Madrecita," they tell her. "God bless you."

Muoz directs migrant-worker programs for the Archdiocese of Denver, an effort to serve the growing number of field hands who tend rows of onions, broccoli and other crops in Weld County and elsewhere.

For these men and women, Muoz offers sustenance for the body and spirit. She is also a fierce advocate for immigrant workers, carrying on a Catholic tradition that began in the late 1960s, when the church became instrumental in backing Cesar Chavez's United Farm Workers union.

In March, Muoz was given an award named in honor of the late labor leader.

"She's a dynamic individual. She's a humble woman whose work absolutely comes from the heart," said Yvonne Sandoval, a community organizer who has gone with Muoz on her weekly trips to the fields.

"She is a maverick," said Lisa Duran, a Denver community activist. "Some people may not like her style because she is forceful and unwavering in her dedication. But she has a tremendous vision for justice."

Before heading to the fields on a recent weekday, Muoz made a quick stop at Centro San Juan Diego, a community center in Denver that provides pastoral and social services to Hispanic Catholics.

Sporting closely cropped hair, jeans and a T-shirt, Sister Molly hardly dresses the part of a nun. "Nobody ever sees me with my habit on," she says. "The habit doesn't make the nun, anyway."

Muoz climbs into her white passenger van, a loaner from St. Pius X church in Aurora, and joins the commuter traffic. Housing developments and business strips give way to fields. She spots a group of workers leaning against their hoes.

"Look at them," she says. "They're not criminals. They're not taking anybody's job away. They just want to work."

What Muoz perceives as anti-immigrant politics - and politicians - gets her excitable, and her words become punctuated by the occasional expletive. She's also critical of employers who exploit immigrant workers, like those who don't pay overtime or who provide run-down housing for their employees.

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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-11-05 12:10 PM
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1. one of my fellow workers
said while listening to a cnn headline news report on illegals--"who the fuck is going to pick the vegetables? white people?" he walked away cursing in spainish...
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