by Renae Bauer
published June 2017
What are the odds?
Two or three years ago, while helping an adult student with English language skills, Sister Mary Berg toyed with taking on another student. As she thumbed through the profiles, Martha Osorio’s popped out. Little did Sister know that Martha had studied with another member of this Community, Sister Jeanne Jarvis, a longtime literacy volunteer who had retired.
Initially, Sister Mary was hesitant to journey with someone who was pursuing U.S. citizenship but that changed after meeting Martha.
Each week, Martha and Sister Mary worked on a portion of the 100 preparatory questions. Questions ranged from elements of the U.S. flag, to geography and branches of government. “It’s not hard to work with someone like Sister Mary,” said Martha, who was raised in Colombia. When it was time for the naturalization test, Martha breezed through all the questions which touched on her background, her paperwork, English skills and civics knowledge. On April 20, Martha became a U.S. citizen along with her husband, Manuel, and 60 people representing 30 countries.
Sister Mary said helping someone gain citizenship was rewarding; she encourages others to volunteer for their local literacy organization.
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