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
The right to vote is foundational to our form of government. Voting allows citizens to have a say in decisions that affect our lives and to be fairly represented by officials who are responsive to our needs.
The cry of our dear neighbor impels us as Sisters of St Joseph, together with our associates and companions, to commit ourselves to work towards dismantling interlocking systems of oppression, including those that would limit access to voting. Our sisters marched in Selma to help secure the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Sisters of St. Joseph were part of the treatment team that cared for John Lewis when he was brutally beaten on the Edmund Pettis Bridge fighting for voting rights. Today, we urge the swift passage of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. These are two steps to ensuring that our voting processes do not discriminate against voters based on race.
Please find further information about both The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act below. If you are looking for a way to contact your Senators about supporting these acts or want to send a letter to the editor of your local paper, you can find both below as well.
Both of these bills deserve bipartisan support. As the Community of St Joseph, which values seeking unity and communion, we are disheartened by the absence of such collaboration. If our Congress cannot find compromises that allow passage of these two bills, then we reluctantly support a filibuster carve-out by the United States Senate for bills that relate to voting rights.
The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act seeks to restore the full protections of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. This new legislation is updated in part to reduce its vulnerability to another court challenge on the grounds of having outdated data on discriminatory voting practices, which was the basis for the 2013 Supreme Court decision. The revised bill is also worded to address a more recent Supreme Court decision that made the use of lawsuits against election officials under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act more difficult.
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act provides the necessary tools to address discriminatory voting practices and protects all Americans’ access to the ballot box. This bill:
• Creates a new coverage formula that applies to all states and hinges on finding repeated voting rights violations in the preceding 25 years;
• Establishes a targeted process for reviewing voting changes in jurisdictions nationwide, focused on measures that have historically been used to discriminate against voters;
• Allows a federal court to order states or jurisdictions to be covered for results-based violations, where the effect of a particular voting measure (including voter ID laws) is to lead to racial discrimination in voting and to deny citizens their right to vote;
• Increases transparency by requiring reasonable public notice for voting changes;
• Allows the Attorney General authority to request federal observers be present anywhere in the country where there is a serious threat of racial discrimination in voting;
• Revises and tailors the preliminary injunction standard for voting rights actions to recognize that there will be cases where there is a need for immediate preliminary relief; and
• Increases accessibility and protections for Native American and Alaska Native voters.
The Freedom to Vote Act creates national standards for states that have voter identification requirements, expands early voting, makes Election Day a national holiday, bans partisan gerrymandering and implements election security and campaign finance measures. This bill is a compromise effort to find middle ground that is acceptable to moderates of both parties, replacing the For the People Act. It addresses new legislation in many states that increases voting restrictions.
The Freedom to Vote Act:
• Allows for same-day voter registration,
• Establishes automatic voter registration,
• Protects and expands access to voting by mail,
• Establishes 15 days of early voting, including at least two weekends,
• Restores voting rights to individuals who have been previously incarcerated,
• Prevents partisan gerrymandering, and
• Protects against voter intimidation.
by Patricia Hunt, associate in the Albany Province.
Associates are women and men from various faith traditions, married and single, who extend the mission and share the spirit of the Sisters of St. Joseph without becoming vowed members. Find out more about becoming an associate.
Once again, within months of each other, the Syracuse CSJ Associates have lost another long-time and beloved member of our group. Suzanne Warner was called home to God after a valiant battle with cancer on July 18, 2021.
Suzanne would have made her 32nd commitment this past June, but her health didn’t allow for her to join us either in person or via Zoom that particular day. We are most grateful for the opportunity to have her join us, if for a brief time, for the last time, at our annual CSJ/CSJA picnic and Mission Day on June 28th. We will always be grateful to her dear friend, Pat Pilon, for making this meaningful and memorable occasion possible.
Sue played many roles in her life, but it was obvious that her role as wife, mother and grandmother took precedence. Even though many of the Syracuse associates who joined our group over the years never met her son, Tom, or her grandchildren, Brooke and Patrick, they certainly knew all about them and their latest achievements or activities.
Most remember her as a proud school bus driver for many years. As one associate related at her wake, “It was more a ministry than a job.” One of the main responsibilities of a bus driver is being attentive to traffic and weather conditions and ensuring passenger safety. Suzanne made it a point to be attentive to each child each time and encouraged them to greet each other. If there was a troubled or “about to be in trouble” child, she would take the time to find out what was going on, and help diffuse the situation with a one-on-one calm approach. Most of Suzanne’s dear neighbors were under the age of 12.
The profound influence on the associate community Suzanne had is not to be forgotten. She served on and off over most of her 30-plus years as a Syracuse area coordinator. She graciously volunteered behind the scenes of many associate Commitment Weekends. Most recently, she oversaw the Candle Lighting Ceremony, the last one held at the Provincial House.
So, my dear friend, please continue to help us as we navigate our own journeys with the dear neighbor, and help us keep following the planned route to our own divine destination.
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.