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 National Catholic Reporter‘s Global Sisters Report has featured the letter our Congregational Leadership Team sent to Cardinal Dolan on May 1 in their article about various leaders of women religious sending him similar feedback. Excepts from our letter are shared along with quotes from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and Sister Simone Campbell of Network Lobby.
“We find ourselves very discomfited by your praise of [President Trump’s] leadership,” the congregational leadership team of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet wrote in a letter dated May 1 addressed to Dolan.
Guided by the Statement of Future Direction from our most recent congregational chapter, which calls us to work toward an inclusive church and society, the Congregational Leadership Team has sent a letter to Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, asking him to reconsider his well-publicized praise and support of President Trump.
May 1, 2020
Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York
452 Madison Ave
New York, New York, 10022
Dear Cardinal Dolan,
We write to you as the Congregational Leadership Team of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet. Aware that you shoulder great responsibility as the metropolitan of one of the largest archdioceses in the United States, we assure you that we remember you in each Eucharistic prayer when we ask God’s guidance for our Church leaders.
As your sisters in Christ, we also feel impelled to say that we are concerned about your unqualified praise of President Trump as demonstrated during your appearance on Fox News on April 26. We have read various reports and listened to your Fox interview, and we find ourselves very discomfited by your praise of his leadership.
This is not a political disagreement. We know that good and faithful people have very different political opinions, and that people in opposing camps can explain their positions on the basis of Gospel principles. But the current president of the United States is notorious for his consistent lying to the public and for poor judgment. His stances on immigration and migrants are directly opposed to what the USCCB espouses in documents like Welcoming the Stranger and recent pronouncements by Archbishop Gomez and Perez, and Bishops Tyson, Cantú, and Doronsville, among others. Instead of welcoming or even simply tolerating the “other,” our bishops themselves have said that the president sows “polarization and animosity.” Instead of offering moral leadership, he is a philanderer whose business activities like Trump University have taken advantage of the poor and vulnerable. The current president exemplifies much of what John the Baptist condemned in the ruler of his day—a prophetic task for which he lost his head but not his integrity.
The Congregational Center of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet is in your hometown, St. Louis. You may therefore be aware that we have served the People of God in the United States for 186 years. We are sure you know how we and other apostolic women religious built the educational, health, and social welfare institutions of the Catholic Church in the United States. We are faithful women of the Church. Because of that, we believe we must ask you to reexamine your public pronouncements in favor of a president whose verbal support of one or two religious causes is designed to create the impression that he supports Catholic values.
As your sisters, we ask you to reconsider your well-publicized praise and support of this president. It gives the impression that the Church itself stands with him. The scandals of the past few decades call us to a much higher standard. May God bless you with the wisdom and courage necessary to serve in these times.
Congregational Leadership Team
CORRECTION: Cardinal Dolans remarks aired on April 27, not April 26.
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As the challenges of the 2019 Chapter’s Statement of Future Direction begin to permeate our lives, the suffering present in our multiple planetary crises compels us to greater depth, authenticity, and creativity in our responses as Sisters of St. Joseph.
How will we as religious and spiritual leaders provide guidance when the solutions we have counted on in the past are no longer enough to address our world’s extremes, e.g., increasing climate chaos, devastation of the Earth’s capacity to sustain life, extreme polarizations, and increasing despair and numbers of suicides? When people turn to us as spiritual leaders to help them navigate these times, what new consciousness can we offer them that is different from the thinking that brought on these crises?
This course, titled Spiritual Leadership, a New Consciousness, and a World in Crisis, hosted on Deeptime Network, is designed for spiritual and religious leaders who want to frame their life and ministry within the new universe story as taught by Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme, Mary Evelyn Tucker, and John Grim. It will offer insights from contemporary science about the way the Universe and our Earth really work—the way our Creator is continuing to build our world. It will give a firm, sacred foundation from which to address the challenges we face in today’s conflicted world. It will provide us as spiritual and religious leaders with insight into the divine dynamics operating on all levels of our lives—spiritual, social, and ecological.
The goal of this course is to encourage a more radical imitation and adaptation of the cosmos-building principles of the universe—identity, differentiation, and communion. It is to challenge us to greater authenticity in aligning ourselves with the evolutionary forces of the universe. We will look at the behaviors these principles suggest, with particular emphasis on the potential of reinterpreting religious vows in a way that witnesses to the values the human community needs to adopt to survive and flourish.
By deepening our consciousness based on these principles, we will be able to discern new solutions to address our crises and to build a more viable human presence within the community of Earth. These sacred dynamics make the wisdom and resilience of the rest of the natural world available to us. As religious and spiritual leaders we can then midwife more mutually enhancing relationships within our sacred universe.
About the instructor
Toni Nash, CSJ is a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet and teacher for over 50 years, a national lecturer, retreat director, and spiritual director. She has ministered on the faculty of a renewal program for Catholic religious and priests, and served in general leadership for her religious congregation. In 1994, Toni and three other Catholic sisters co-founded Sisters of Earth, an informal network of women from across the globe who share a deep concern for the ecological and spiritual crises of our times. Toni holds a doctorate in Philosophy and Religion with a concentration in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness. As a Religious Cosmologist, her work helps people to integrate their own religious traditions with the insights of contemporary science about the nature of the universe and the role of humans. Her current involvements include lectures and workshops on the Doctrine of Discovery and neo-colonialism. She’s also applying her work as a religious cosmologist to heal relationships with Native American communities affected by the boarding school era.
About Deeptime Network
This workshop is sponsored by the Deeptime Network (dtnetwork.org), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit registered in New Jersey, US, whose vision is a world in which an evolving interconnected universe, with its unique community of life on our home planet Earth, is a context for understanding, belonging, inspiration, decision-making and creating the future. For more information, write to email@example.com.
As part of the U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph, we echo their call for the United States to act to counteract climate change.
We, the U. S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph join with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious ( LCWR) in expressing our deep disappointment regarding President Trump’ s promise in 2017 to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. We are profoundly troubled by the decision to formally request U. S. withdrawal from this critically important international agreement.
We, the U. S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph who are compelled by the Gospel and by our heritage to be responsive to the ” dear neighbor” without distinction, are concerned for all of God’ s creation and our sisters and brothers everywhere. Catholic teaching is clear… climate change is a grave moral issue that threatens our commitment to protect human l ife and dignity, exercise a preferential option for the most vulnerable, promote the common good, and care for God’ s creation. The failure of the United States to fulfill its 2015 commitment dishonors our nation and threatens our common home. We will continue to raise our voices against climate policies that harm Earth and its people and to advocate for climate justice.