The U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph condemns the violence at the U.S. Capitol yesterday. As members of the Federation, we join them in this public statement.
The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph joins with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in praying for peace after witnessing the violence and terrorism yesterday in our nation’s Capitol. We are deeply concerned about the state of our country and the future of our democracy. Our hearts ached as we watched white nationalists participate in these despicable actions that threaten not only to destroy our government but to rend the bonds that unite us. We commend and thank the members of Congress and staff who courageously continued their service to the nation last night even amid the chaos, as well as the law enforcement who helped protect and secure the building so the members could resume their responsibilities.
In our increasingly divided nation, we are saddened but not surprised by the predictable outcome of yesterday’s events. The Federation renews our Gospel Charism and commitment to being a unifying presence in the world through appreciation of diversity, transformation, and healing.
At this time, we feel each of us are asked to pause, reflect, and grapple with the history and legacy that brought us to this historic moment of white domestic terrorists attempting to take over our legislative branch. As Christians, we cannot ignore the images of the cross and flags bearing Jesus’ name that peppered yesterday’s scene. We cannot ignore the juxtaposition of the law enforcement response to yesterday’s violence at the Capitol versus the violence inflicted on Black Lives Matter protestors in June. We invite all people of good will to reflect on the next steps we must take to repair our democracy, eliminate white privilege, and contribute to the work of building a more perfect union.
Give the gift of Sr. Mary McGlone’s Called Forth by the Dear Neighbor: History of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Volume Two. This second volume of the U.S. history of the Sisters of St. Joseph is currently in production. You can reserve your signed, personalized, advance copy today for $22 ($27 for expedited shipping). You’ll be among the first people to get to read this much anticipated second volume.
The U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph has 100 books available for pre-order that can be signed and personalized. Reserve your copies today by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Do so by December 23, and they’ll provide a gift certificate for your recipient to be included in time for Christmas. Note: The books will not be printed before Christmas, but those who pre-order will be the first people to receive the book.
Look for information about regular sales after the new year.
The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph congratulates the president-elect and recommits to building God’s “Beloved Community.” As members of the Federation, we join them in this public statement:
The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph joins with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris and promise to work with them to build a society worthy of the values to which our imperfect union aspires.
We pray — as Sisters of St. Joseph and their partners — dedicated to the mission of healing and reconciliation, to repair the fractured relationships that have divided us during this difficult election season and reclaim our essential unity as a nation.
The people of this pluralistic nation form a diverse community characterized by different beliefs, experiences, and interests. We know that our differences can be our greatest strengths; our disagreements, opportunities to seek the truth. Our challenge is to embrace those differences and together seek the common good lest we rend the bonds that unite us.
Our Gospel mandate as Sisters of St. Joseph is to unite neighbor to neighbor and neighbor to God. Now is the time to make space in our hearts and our communities for the needs and concerns of all God’s people, the undocumented mother, the Midwest farmer, the unemployed steelworker, the suburban businesswoman, and the children and elders consigned to live in poverty. It is time to tear down the walls — real or imagined — which divide us by gender, race, class, geography, lifestyle, ideology, political party, and religious belief and to make room in our body politic for all who have been disaffected, disenfranchised, and discarded.
Now is the time to banish the fear that infects our souls and diminishes our hope. There is no room in this nation for fear of the other; no need to fear change; no reason to fear the future. This is a nation built on the dreams of our ancestors and the visions of our children. Our task is to make room at the table for every voice and every vision.
We thank those who turned out in record numbers to exercise their right to vote in a peaceful and respectful way. Their clear commitment to this democratic experiment of ours bodes well for the success of the difficult task that lies ahead.
We know that the work will be slow and arduous, and yet we join with Catholic sisters and their partners across this nation as we renew our commitment to exercise courage in the face of injustice, fear, and division. We will not shrink from the challenge before us to protect the sacredness of all human life, to dismantle white supremacy, welcome the stranger, care for creation, and to stand with those who have been exploited and marginalized by our throwaway culture.
We promise once again to be the healing presence of God. We pledge to hold the needs and concerns of all in the heart of a loving and ever-faithful God. We recommit ourselves to the sacred task of building the “Beloved Community” of which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke so eloquently, and we invite all people of goodwill to join us.
The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph calls us all to dismantle racist systems and work to be antiracist individually. As members of the Federation, we join them in this public statement:
“The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph strongly condemns the police-killing of another Black man on the streets of our nation. Our hearts are breaking as we mourn with the family and friends of George Floyd, as well as Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee, and all the others who have lost loved ones to law enforcement violence.
“The continued killing of Black people; the constant harassment of people of color; and the denial of the rights and dignity of our Black American neighbors must end now.
“Racism is America’s original sin. It is a virus every bit as deadly as COVID-19 that has infected our nation since its inception and until we address it, people of color will continue to die, and our nation will never heal. Racism, whether the institutional racism which privileges some at the expense of others or the daily acts of microaggressions, hate, and discrimination, diminishes us all.
“The resilience and well-being of humanity depend upon us dismantling these systemic, structural, and cultural realities of white supremacy, endemic to the fabric of our country. We commit ourselves to the creation of the ‘One Sacred Community,’ where all people are treated as the sacred creation that they are. Racism denies that most profound truth, that all of us are created in God’s image and each of us is entitled to dignity and respect.
“As women religious and their partners in mission, we acknowledge our own complicity in institutional racism. We pray for our nation’s healing, yet we know that is not enough. We ask forgiveness from people of color – without expecting or requiring it – to move into action. It is time for bold, decisive action – it is long past time to dismantle white privilege and rededicate ourselves to building God’s beloved community.
“As a Federation, we vow to turn our words into precise actions addressing the institutional racism that lives within our institutions and within ourselves. We vow to support criminal justice reforms, including a call for independent bodies that conduct investigations of police misconduct and broad, sweeping reforms to policing, incarceration, and the judicial system. As part of the reconciliation for the death of George Floyd, we urge Hennepin County Attorney, Mike Freeman, to pledge a just and timely adjudication of this tragedy.
“We call on the people of the United States to work with greater urgency to eliminate the systemic racism that infects the very soul of our nation. For the U.S. Federation, that requires us looking at all of our institutions and introducing guidelines to ensure that we are working to a more just society. This includes an honest look at the hiring and promotion practices at all levels, including the Federation, congregations, our schools, hospitals, and ministries.
“As we continue to work to dismantle institutional racism, we are all asked to do the deep, ongoing inner work that antiracism requires of us. This includes listening to, learning from, supporting, and elevating the Black voices from within our sisters, partners in mission, and more broadly.
“We ask God’s blessing on the struggle that lies ahead. We, as a Federation and as individuals, must do better.”
The Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet and the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St Joseph truly celebrated Laudato Si’ Week this May 16-24! With a special focus on reducing or eliminating single-use plastics from our lives, our members were educated and inspired. We prayed together and acted as one.
The online discussion groups were energetic and insightful. After watching on our own, we had online discussions of two excellent videos on plastics (Frontline: Plastic Wars is still available for viewing). Participants had a profound appreciation for the reflective presentations offered by Sr. Linda Neil and illustrated by Sr. Marion Honors. Both “The Be-attitudes for Care of Our Common Home” and “Living Simply in a Consumer Society” are available to watch online.
Federation artists shared artwork, poems, and prayers for all to engage in reflection and use for social media.
All participants were invited to action by:
Laudato Si’ Week was closed out with a powerful prayer celebrating the gifts and challenges of being members of this one sacred Earth community. It invited us to recommit to aligning with the Creator’s dream for our Earth.
Throughout the week participants shared their shock at how they have they have been duped by the plastic industry into thinking that recycling plastics was actually occurring when 91% of plastics produced in the last 15 years have not been recycled.
Inspiring poetry and quotes from Laudato Si’ helped participants go deeper as they pondered the calls of Laudato Si’ to care for our common home and simplify our life for the life of the world.
Inspired to make a difference, they journeyed farther in their commitment to action. Joining together they responded boldly to bring about systemic change to save our planet.
It’s not too late for those of you who were not available this week to share in these activities. Links throughout this article will take you to resources and actions you can take. You can still find all of the details on our Laudato Si’ Week webpage.