Interview with Mary Beth Moore, Sister of Charity
Assistant coordinator of Centro Corazon de Maria, Long Island
by Sr. Camille D’Arienzo
SR. CAMILLE: Mary Beth, you are a recognized leader of Pax Christi on Long Island and a longtime supporter of Spanish-speaking immigrants, many of whom are migrant workers.
Let’s start by exploring your relationship with that community, often victims of injustice. How, when and why did you begin ministering to them?
MOORE: In 2010, I was invited to join the sponsored ministry of the Religious of the Sacred Heart that was directed to immigrants in Hampton Bays on Long Island’s East End. The RSHM have a long history the East End, and they founded Centro Corazon de Maria in 2002 as a response to a congregation general assembly decision. They had no way of knowing that the immigrant population in Hampton Bays would mushroom at that very time (154.7 percent increase between 2000 and 2010). I was delighted to work again with the Latino people. I feel a deep connection with them.
SR. CAMILLE: What prepared you to become a successful advocate for this population?
MOORE: I worked in our congregational mission in Peru from 1982 to 1992. It was a life-changing experience. We had a team of seven — sisters, priests and lay missioners — in a crowded barrio just outside the coastal city of Chiclayo.
The Peruvian people are well-characterized by their compatriot theologian Gustavo Gutierrez as a suffering, believing people. The people’s warmth, their faith, their persistence, and their love for life remain great gifts for me. The emphasis on empowerment helped me to develop a mindset of advocacy and accompaniment…