MCHENRY, Ill. (AP)  She’s warm and affable, and speaks in slow, soft, measured tones. But when you listen to her describe the battle to provide pastoral care to immigrant detainees inside the McHenry County Jail, you know Sister JoAnn Persch is one nun you don’t want to mess with.

Sweet as an angel but tough as nails.

When local county, jail and immigration officials in 2007 told Sisters Persch and Pat Murphy they weren’t allowed access to the jail to provide pastoral care to the immigrant population, the nuns became the face of Illinois’ Access to Religious Ministry legislation. The law allowed them inside the jail, and what Sister Persch described as access to detainees not granted at other detention centers in the country.

“Pat and I have a motto that we do all of this peacefully, respectfully, but we never take no for an answer. That’s how we got where we are,” Persch said.  More here…