Ecumenical gathering prays for Sunday's big rig smuggling victims

Sisters of Divine Providence consider tragedy a call to action

By Jessie Degollado - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Already advocating for an end to human trafficking that forces people around the world into servitude, the Sisters of Divine Providence at Our Lady of the Lake University offered their prayers for the victims of Sunday’s smuggling tragedy and their families.

Federal investigators said those on board had paid to be smuggled into the country.

Many at Friday’s ecumenical gathering in the convent’s Annunciation Chapel had seen images of the deadly tractor-trailer rig. 

“Our hope is that this kind of injustice towards our fellow human beings will not continue,” Sister Mary Bordelon said.

Bordelon said they want to see a coalition of law enforcement agencies, government agencies and caring members of the community join forces to seek out possible solutions.

Gultekin Gollu, an assistant professor of economics at OLLU, said people must come together to “hopefully come up with solutions, take action.”

“Praying is part of that," he said.

James Bradley Jr., the 60-year-old driver of the rig, is facing life in prison or death if convicted. He denied knowing there were people in the trailer, so he didn’t hear them banging to be let out or their cries for help.

“It’s in the Scriptures. God hears the cry of the poor,” said Sister Barbara Fry. “That’s what we need to do. We need to be hearing those cries.”

Fry said it was difficult to imagine the suffering the victims endured while they were overcome by the suffocating heat, no water and little or no air. She said as they saw others collapse or die, they were likely “thinking I’m going to be the next one.”

“It’s just a horrific, horrific thing that is happening in our nation, in our state, in our city and the world," Fry said. "This is a reality. It’s an invisible reality, unfortunately, in many ways.”

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