St. Mary's in Support of the Avila Family
In 2020, St. Mary’s parish, in partnership with Congregation Sherith Israel, supported a young family that fled persecution in Honduras to seek asylum in the United States. This partnership, Nueva Esperanza Accompaniment Team (NEAT) helped the Avila family access the resources and systems they need to live in dignity and security as they continue their quest of asylum.
At age 17 Audenis left an abusive father to seek sanctuary with his aunt in San Francisco. Although he lived an exemplary life in the U.S. for many years, ICE detained Audenis in August 2019 and held him Butte County jail. With interfaith community support and a packed courtroom, Audenis was granted bond in February 2020.
Audenis and Olimpia first met in their home country, where she was an attorney. She came to the United States in 2019 and was held in a detention center. Olimpia and Audenis reconnected and had a baby, Alexandra, a month before Audenis was detained. During delivery, it was discovered that Olimpia had a heart condition that would eventually require surgery.
The St. Mary’s-Sherith Israel Nueva Esperanza Accompaniment Team (NEAT) helped the Avila’s find housing and work, obtain clothing, and establish secure lives together in San Francisco. Thanks to NEAT connections, Olimpia was able to obtain the heart surgery that she needed.
Audenis and Olimpia want the same things that we all want for ourselves and our families. As Olimpia puts it, “We want to work so our baby can have a good life, a good education, and everything she needs. We want to be healthy and always to be together. Thanks to family, friends, church, and the support of the St. Mary’s-Sherith Israel NEAT, the Avila family is now thriving while awaiting final action on their asylum requests.