We invite you to take urgent action with us between now and October 31 to let our senators and representatives in the U.S. Congress know that we expect action on the Build Back Better Act.
Please personalize the letter below and send it to your federal legislators. You can also write a letter to President Biden, letters to the editor, attend any town hall meetings and urge your friends and family to take similar actions.
Now is the moment to rebuild our communities on a new foundation of human dignity and finally confront the root injustices that have left so many families more vulnerable than others. We must build back an economy that provides dignified employment for all, that respects our shared environment and that leaves the world a better home for our children and grandchildren.
Catholics around the world recognize the Season of Creation from September 1, the World Day of Prayer for Creation, through October 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. As Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, we have made a commitment to respond to the crisis of Earth.
We invite you to engage with some of our Season of Creation resources.
Learn about ways to be more ecologically sustainable in various areas of your home:
Reflect on our Closing Prayer video with reflections from Chile, Japan, the United States and Peru. Captions in English, Spanish and Japanese.
From the international Laudato Si’ Movement:
Our common home and common family are suffering. The climate emergency is causing rising seas, a warmer planet, and more extreme weather. It’s devastating the lives of our poorest sisters and brothers. At the same time, biologists estimate that we’re driving species to extinction at a rate of 100 to 1,000 times their usual rate. “We have no such right” (Laudato Si’ 33). In the year 2021, we have an opportunity like no other. At the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in October, world leaders can set meaningful targets to protect creation. In November, at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), countries will announce their plans to meet the goals of the Paris agreement. Ahead of those meetings, it is our responsibility as Catholics to lift up the voices of the most vulnerable and advocate on their behalf. We must act now.
To celebrate the Season of Creation, join our Los Angeles Province, the congregation and the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph for “Sacred Mystery in the Heart of Creation,” a half-day virtual retreat presented by Linda Neil, CSJ. This interactive, online presentation will integrate the Gospel with our call to care for Creation. Spanish interpretation will be available. The retreat will feature two sections with an hour-long break in between; if you can only join for one, you are welcome! view the full schedule
Saturday, September 18
noon-5:30pm EDT / 11am-4:30pm CDT
10am-3:30pm MDT / 9am-2:30pm PDT
6-11:30am Hawai’i / 9月19日日曜日午前1時
1-6:30pm in Chile / 11am-4:30pm in Peru
Moving always towards profound love of our neighbor without distinction, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet defend the human rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.[i] We do this through advocacy and actions. In these complex times, we commit ourselves to both deepen and broaden our understanding of the interlocking issues that impact both people and governments. While recognizing the complexity, we acknowledge the simple truth that the right to seek asylum is a human right, and migrants are our sisters and brothers worthy of being treated with dignity and respect.
Worldwide migrants, asylum seekers and refugees encounter racism and discrimination. We urge countries to prioritize just and humane processes in their immigration policies. We encourage interventions to address these issues at a systemic level and through personal conversion. Those who assist these people in the legal processes and resettlement benefit from training and cultural sensitivity. Immigration officials have made great strides but need to continue to improve trafficking victim identification rates. Legal protections are needed to address discrimination faced by migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
The countries in which we minister—Chile, Japan, Peru and the United States of America—all signed on to the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, a UN International Treaty. This protocol commits to treating asylum seekers and refugees in accordance with internationally recognized legal and humanitarian standards, including:
We call on our governments and the United Nations to fulfill their obligations under this protocol. We continue to advocate for global cooperation to address the 4.2 million human beings seeking refuge and asylum. To accomplish this, we need:
Many of our members continue to support those seeking refuge or receiving asylum and migrants living in our countries by providing emergency assistance and longer-term supports. As we continue to educate ourselves and learn from our interactions with those we serve, we share our learnings with the wider community and invite them to join us in our advocacy and actions.
[i] An asylum seeker is a person seeking to be admitted into a country as a refugee and awaiting decision on his/her application for refugee status under relevant international and national instruments. Persons seeking asylum flee persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, or political reasons, including conflict and war.
Refugees are people who have fled war, violence, conflict or persecution and have crossed an international border to find safety in another country.
There is no internationally accepted legal definition of a migrant. Migrants are not asylum-seekers or refugees. They leave their country for a variety of reasons including seeking work, to study, because of poverty, natural disasters, gang violence or other reasons.
by Lynn M. Levo, CSJ, Ph.D. with Ann L. Thompson
Psychologist Sister Lynn M. Levo has been busy. Of late, much of her work has focused on helping her Albany community and her clients find hope in these uniquely challenging times. She shares her insights below.
My understanding of hope is based on theological and psychological understandings. Connecting the two is exciting and helpful. I have been exploring hope and changes in religious life, and most recently in relationship to COVID-19, our political reality and the many losses we are facing today. It is clear that hope matters now and that it begins with naming reality honestly, followed by a call to action. We will not be hopeful unless we name what it is like for ourselves and for those around us. It is a call to transformation, to creating a different world going forward.
Hope requires us to acknowledge the tremendous suffering of COVID, the unnecessary loss of life, the loss of connection with people we care about and the loss of touch. Many are touch-deprived, a basic need for us as humans. Because of the need for safety, rituals around death and saying goodbye and the celebrations of jubilees, birthdays and daily Mass have not been possible. We can’t underestimate the impact of the loss of ritual, of our inability to share our daily life and our very personal experiences of suffering and loss.
Sometimes I hear people say, “I want to win the lottery!” What is this really about? Hearing this, I think of the work on hope by theologian and author Jurgen Moltmann. He says hope is awakening in us a thirst and a hunger for the fullness of life. When we are dissatisfied with who we are, we are moved to create a future in which more life will enter the life we actually have. For Moltmann, hope is divinely inspired dissatisfaction.
For our congregation, our dissatisfaction is reflected in our desire to right relationships by acknowledging the crises of the earth and global warming, our recognition of and our complicity in
systems of oppression, and our desire to walk with women and others who desire to speak their truth. This is our shared impulse for the fullness of life and our dissatisfaction with what we see. Yes, divinely inspired dissatisfaction.
Psychology points us to understanding and embracing these fundamental human longings:
Each day we can choose what is personally fulfilling and how we can be of service to others — elements critical to purpose. Even in the midst of COVID, we have choices. Saying “There’s nothing I can do here” enables hopelessness. Realizing the choices we do have helps us live fully and gratefully in the present. Today’s choice may simply mean putting on a mask.
Even though we are separated because of COVID, knowing that we are loved, remembering the presence of a loved one, a mentor, a friend and a caring community help foster a sense of connection and trust and openness that are critical to being human. People who are isolated find it difficult to hope.
A personal understanding of how to care for oneself and live a balanced life even in the midst of COVID is fundamental to psychology’s focus on resilience. Being resilient is about caring
for oneself physically, emotionally, relationally and psychologically. During this anxious time for many, knowing how to soothe and relax are critical elements of self-care and resilience.
Those of us with a spiritual life, the gift of faith, are fortunate to have a sense of connection to something greater than ourselves. Leaning into our belief in and connection with a loving and faithful God helps. We are learning that our prayer needs to include our feelings. Although we may pray the Psalms, many of which are laments, God longs to hear what it is like for me/for us, which means talking to God about what I/we feel, trusting that God will hear us and is caring for us. These choices likely will require a shift in perspective, being open to what is and living in the present. It includes doing our own inner work and reaching out to others.
This article appeared in the 2021 issue of Carondelet Magazine.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet are heartbroken by the recent events in Afghanistan.
Like people around the world, we are watching the unfolding events there with great sadness. We are also challenged by Pope Francis in his address to the 6th International Forum on Migration and Peace: “We have a duty toward our brothers and sisters who, for various reasons, have been forced to leave their homeland: a duty of justice, of civility and of solidarity.”
The United States has a clear duty of justice to those who risked their lives over the last 20 years as translators, interpreters and in other roles to assist the U.S. military in their efforts. We made promises to those workers that we must now honor. We urge our government to find ways to protect these vulnerable Afghans.
We also have a duty of solidarity with the women of Afghanistan, who in recent years have achieved some of the rights for education and professional development that should be afforded to all people. We urge our government and the international community to do all in its power to protect these rights for all Afghans.
Our charism calls us to love God and love the Dear Neighbor without distinction. We will not distinguish people by religion, color, gender or creed when they cry out for mercy. Let us all respond to our Dear Neighbors with love in this challenging time.