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Co-founder of La Esperanza joins Sen. Carper at Pope Francis speech to Congress

Anne Hoffman/Delaware Public Media

Sister Rosa Alvarez was Senator Tom Carper’s guest at the Joint Meeting of Congress with Pope Francis Thursday morning.

Alvarez is a Spanish nun who has long fought for the rights of immigrants in Georgetown.

She helped found La Esperanza, a large nonprofit that serves the area’s booming Latino population.

Just after stepping off the train from Washington in Wilmington, Sister Alvarez was still visibly moved -- hours after hearing Francis speak.

"Many popes, and bishops, have spoken about about faith and helping others," she said in Spanish. "But many in times in the church, we’ve been afraid of the words we should be using. Words like justice."

Alvarez, who also cites Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador as an inspiration, added that Pope Francis’s advocacy for social justice and immigrant rights makes her feel especially connected to him.

"I keep asking God to give him many more years of life," she said.


Senator Carper added in a statement that both the Pope and Sister Alvarez don’t just sermonize, they lead by example.


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