“The New Colossus”

by | Jul 4, 2018 | Faith & Politics, Immigration, Justice

The below sonnet appears on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, perhaps the greatest symbol of the American spirit. Written by Emma Lazarus in 1884, its words inspire and challenge us today. Is Lady Liberty still the “Mother of Exiles” in 2018?


Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.


“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”



Bill McCormick, SJ

bmccormicksj@thejesuitpost.org   /   All posts by Bill