Sister Lil Mattingly, MM and Gail Phares were the guest speakers. Click on Read more… to see the Bios for Lil and Gail and to view a video of their presentations.
Lil Mattingly grew up in Louisville, KY, and joined the Maryknoll Sisters in 1960. She was missioned to Bolivia in 1971 where she spent 20 years witnessing many injustices under Bolivia's military dictators and elite oligarchs. Lil returned to the USA in 1996. In a rural area of Kentucky, she began work in the Center for Latinos, serving the streams of migrants from Mexico and Central America. This migration phenomenon was made up of those who were seeking work and/or political asylum. In 2000, Lil returned to Maryknoll to become the coordinator for the Renewal program. It was in December 2002, that she was able to visit Iraq as part of a Catholic peace delegation. After discerning with the Community, she joined a group of demonstrators and “crossed the line” at Ft. Benning, GA to protest the School of Americas. She was sentenced to 6 months incarceration at Danbury Federal Prison. Currently, she is working with BorderLinks, an experiential educational program which facilitates immersion trips into Mexico in order to promote a better understanding of the various push- pull factors in global economics that are at the root of the migration.
Gail Jerome Phares (William Aurelie) was a Maryknoll Sister from l957 to 1969. She lived and worked with Sister Maura Clarke in Nicaragua and later spent three years in Guatemala. Gail was one of the founders of Witness for Peace some 26 years ago; she has led over 50 delegations to Nicaragua, Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti and Cuba. Gail holds a Master’s degree in Latin American Studies from the American University. She has been a national leader on issues around Central America, Mexico, immigration and trade policy. This past February, Gail led a delegation of 20 people to Mexico to study the Roots of Migration. The delegation included key grassroots organizers from across North Carolina. For the past 22 years, Gail has organized a Holy Week Pilgrimage for Justice and Peace across North Carolina with farm workers and immigrants calling for reform of US trade policies such as NAFTA as well as a change in our immigration laws. For the past ten years she has worked to close the US Army School of the Americas at Ft. Benning, GA and spent 90 days in a Federal Prison for her act of civil disobedience at the SOA.