MATAMOROS, Mexico (Border Report) — Catholic nun Pat Forstar bent low and spoke in Spanish to a line of children waiting for a Christmas meal of tamales Sunday at this refugee camp.

Looking into their big eyes, she gave each child a postcard with a nativity scene and told them to put them on the outside of their tents as Christmas decorations.

“This is a card with Mary, Joseph and Jesus that says Merry Christmas so every tent has at least one nativity scene,” Forstar said on Sunday as she meandered through a line of hundreds of people waiting for a special meal that was blessed by Brownsville Bishop Daniel Flores.

“I feel very sad. I feel that the United States of America does not understand what’s happening here. We have another card with Mary with big tears and that’s really how I feel. I feel they just need a place to live,” said Forstar, who is originally from Minnesota but now lives in a Franciscan order of nuns in Alamo, South Texas.

Forstar comes to Matamoros every Monday to help feed migrants who are part of the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols Program, also known as Remain in Mexico, in which they must wait in Mexico during their U.S. asylum hearing process.

Pat Forstar, a nun with the Franciscan Catholic order based in Alamo, Texas, greets children in Matamoros, Mexico, on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019 at a refugee camp where asylum-seekers live. (Border Report Photo/Sandra Sanchez)

Since MPP was started here in mid-July, the number of asylum-seekers who show up at the camp increases daily.

On Sunday, the migrants were drying out after two days of near-freezing temperatures and heavy rains that soaked all of their belongings but, Forstar said, not their resolve or their spirit.

“We’re all trying to help them with survival needs. It’s food and shelter. We can’t even think about education. We think about entrance into the United States if it’s possible. But who knows,” she said.

Sandra Sanchez can be reached at

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