top of page

Refugee Journey - Primero Dios

Updated: Aug 3, 2021

Images of our holy family (Jesus, Mary and Joseph) often depict Joseph in the background, distant or hidden; focusing the viewers attention more on Mary and Jesus. This position is often purposefully done by artists. Through the story of Joseph we understand he was a humble man, a deep listener and deeply committed to placing God first (we can say this in Spanish as ‘Primero Dios’).

In this special year dedicated to Saint Joseph I have been contemplating where and how I see his humble spirit alive today. It certainly seems to me that his humble and trusting heart can be seen in families that happen to find themselves to be known today as refugees. What humble trusting courage is required to leave your homeland and go wherever the road with God may take you!

As artists we are called to tell stories. This new image has been illustrated and painted with a unique perspective (best viewed high on a wall). I hope this perspective helps the viewer to enter into the story of the holy family’s refugee journey (Matt 2:12-15). To honour this year dedicated to Saint Joseph, his hands are not hidden - but center. He holds tight, supporting Mary as he lifts her and baby Jesus (in her front pack) up. I hope this image tells the story of how I believe Joseph can show us the way to live, and also experience what God wants for us all. It seems to me that God only wants to lift us up on our journey, God is always wanting to give us life and empower us (Jn 14:6). When I listen and trust in prayer, God empowers and sets free - surely we are called to gaze into the eyes of the one that lifts us, trust and keep moving together as community.

When I place myself in this scene I also become aware of creatures that may travel with refugee’s today, perhaps making the long journey from South America north to the USA border wall. Squirrels can be found everywhere, lizards, butterflies to name just a few. Creatures remind me in nature that we never journey alone, no matter where or when we may find ourselves, we are part of community. Our God of truth and life always journeys with us in many forms - “who is my Mother and who are my brothers?” (Matt 12: 46-50). Pope Francis describes this fraternity in Frattelli Tutti: “By ourselves, we risk seeing mirages, things that are not there. Dreams, on the other hand, are built together”.[6] Let us dream, then, as a single human family, as fellow travelers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our common home, each of us bringing the richness of his or her beliefs and convictions, each of us with his or her own voice, brothers and sisters all.”

I hope we might hold those who find themselves as refugees from South America (and all nations) close to our hearts. Especially as we move closer to honouring the annual World Day of Migrants and Refugees on 26 September (5min video from Pope Francis). In addition I have two prayers below (via GSR) that might be helpful as we lead up to 26th September. I’ll be praying for trust, empowerment and life for all who journey; I hope you’ll join me in prayer as we all remember ‘primero dios’, just as Joseph lived.

Vaya con Dios…

~ Jane


1. Download free digital wallpapers of this image:

2. Let me now if you are interested in prints of this image?

3. Discover more links // nourishment via the Connection email:


An immigration Creed

( Found near the end of video: )

I believe in God, who guided the people in exile and in exodus,

the God of foreigners and immigrants.

I believe in Jesus Christ, a displaced Galilean,

who fled his country with his parents when his life was in danger.

Jesus was persecuted, tortured and unjustly executed.

But rose from the dead not as a foreigner

but to offer us citizenship in the New Heaven and the New Earth.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Eternal Immigrant among us who speaks all languages,

lives in all countries, and unites all races.

I believe in life eternal

in which no one will be foreigner

but all will be citizens of the New Heaven and the New Earth

where God reigns forever and ever. Amen.


People pushed to the Edge (Joyce Rupp)

( Found near the start of video:

Companion of People Pushed to the Edge,

let me stand with the least and the lost.

I will reach out my hadn’t and welcome them.

Let me become one with these sisters and brothers.

I will approach each person as my teacher.

Let me accept their empty, outstretched arms.

I will receive the bounty of their inherent goodness.

Let me come vulnerably close to their distress.

I will try to comprehend the reality of their rejection.

Let me know the breadth of their daily poverty.

I will work for justice the tends to their human needs.

Let me enter their loneliness and desolation.

I will activate my empathy with compassionate presence.

Let me acknowledge that my privileged position

is part of the reason they live on the margins.

I will do my part so all may live in one large circle.

Companion of People Pushed to the Edge,

you walk among the ones easily forgotten,

those who are rejected, dismissed, and violated.

Your heart aches for how they are treated

and goes to stand with them on the far borders.

Your love knows no boundaries.

Your love does not judge or tally.

Your love accepts.

Your love gathers.

Your love embraces.



Other resources from the Sydney Catholic Justice and Peace Office and the Josephite Justice Network.

Robustly exhorting the Federal Government:

  1. To provide income support and a financial safety net for all people seeking asylum in Australia

  2. To end temporary protection visas and create a clear pathway to permanent residency

  3. To ensure access to family reunion for refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia


A. Petition: A petition which we would be so grateful if you’d sign and pass on to family and friends: SIGN HERE

Once you’ve signed, perhaps share this petition with friends and family by forwarding this email or sharing on social media.

B. Email: Send the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs for Australia an email - Alex Hawke – so that Catholic voices across Australia can finally be heard in unison on the mistreatment of refugees and asylum seekers in our community.


C. Video: A video to inspire – youth expressing their opinions on Govt refugee and ASP policy and calling for change. Watch and share:

Primero Dios...


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page