Maria sat next to me on the sofa, smiling as she told me that she had been gang raped and kidnapped twice on her journey from El Salvador to Mexico. When I asked Maria how she could be so happy, she answered by speaking to God instead of to me: "Sometimes one has to suffer. I did not suffer like you suffered, Jesus, and I am a sinner." During my year and a half of volunteering at Casa RAICES, I have heard many stories like Maria's, stories that combine extreme suffering with extreme faith. I am touched and fascinated by the way asylum seekers from Central American cling to God during a singularly difficult time of their lives.
Parke, Aubrey, "Immigrating With God: Religious Coping Among Central American Asylum Seekers" (2016). Undergraduate Student Research Awards. 33.