As part of the U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph, we call for an end to the family separation policy at the U.S. border. The Federation released the following statement today.
The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph Leadership Council Decries Human Rights Violations and Terrorism Perpetrated by the Trump Administration at the U.S. Border
¶ The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph Leadership Council joins with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Sr. Teresa Maya, the President of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), and members of many faith traditions in calling for an end to the separation of children from their parents at the border where they are seeking asylum.
¶ In May 2018, the U.S. Government began prosecuting migrants who illegally crossed the United States border from Mexico. Their children are then detained separately from their parents.
¶ We agree with Sr. Teresa Maya, CCVI, President of the LCWR when she states, “as women of faith, as Catholic sisters, we strongly oppose the Trump administration’s decision to forcibly separate parents from their children in an effort to punish families seeking safety in the United States. Mothers and fathers are taking tremendous risks to bring their children to safety. These are families fleeing violence and death in their home countries. They have every right to ask for protection in the United States and the Trump administration is legally and morally obligated to give them a fair chance to seek asylum. It is impossible to imagine the fear of a child being ripped from the arms of her mother or the pain of a father watching a stranger take his son. It is cruel and inhumane, and it must stop. Our faith demands it and our national values require it. We are better than this.”
¶ The president of the USCCB, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, declared, “our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma. Families are the foundational element of our society and they must be able to stay together.” During his remarks June 13, 2018, at the USCCB General Assembly gathering in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, DiNardo added, “Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral.”
¶ We call on Congress and the office of the Presidency of the United States of America to stop this deplorable practice immediately.
“After bidding adieu to our good Sisters in Carondelet, we started on our long and perilous journey to Arizona.” (Sister Monica Corrigan, Trek of the Seven Sisters)
by Jeanne Marie Gocha, CSJ
In some ways, there are a lot of similarities between the journey of Monica Corrigan and her six companions to Tucson, Arizona and the journey Sisters Carol Brong, Chizuru Yamada and I began on March 27th of this year. Both required a spirit of adventure, complete trust in God’s providential graces, the support of our Sisters and a reliance on the goodness of those we journey with to begin a new mission within the congregation.
Though Carol and I prepared for months to welcome Chizuru Yamada into the newly formed Congregational Novitiate here in Porter Ranch, California, it all became real when Sister Miriam Ukeritis, in the name of the Congregation, accepted Chizuru Yamada’s request to enter into the next step of her discernment journey to become a Sister of St Joseph of Carondelet. The candidate became a novice whom we now call “Sister.”
After celebrating the Triduum and great feast of Easter, our first “field trip” took place as we set out on a “half Trek,” echoing the trek of seven Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet to begin a mission in Tuscon in 1870. We drove out to Phoenix to celebrate with Sister Adele O’Sullivan and other Sisters in the annual Circle the City Tea. Then we took some time to see for ourselves the wonderful ministries that Circle the City supports to serve the homeless population of Phoenix.
Sister Mary Murphy, the aficionado of the history of our first sisters in the West, joined us to begin a “mini-Trek” through the deserts between Phoenix and Tucson to visit the holy places where our early Sisters first ministered back in the 1870s, some of which continue today. We rested at Picacho Peak, felt the presence of our early Sisters as we prayed in the chapels of St. John’s in Komatke and San Xavier del Bac, and experienced first-hand how our charism continues to be lived in the staff and patients at St Mary’s Hospital in Tucson. Our journey was sweetened by the gracious hospitality of our Sisters in Tucson: Marge Foppe, Michelle Humke, Irma Odabashian, and Barbara Sullivan. A wonderful mixture of past history and present realities all lived for the sake of the Mission!
Returning home, novitiate life began to find its rhythm of prayer, classes, community life, and personal reflection. Sister Darlene Kawulok offered Chizuru insightful classes on Vatican II and its documents. Sister Ingrid Honore-Lallande shared her expertise on Ignatian Spirituality and Discernment. We are in the midst of weekly classes with Sister Anne Hennessey, CSJ from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange on Fr. Jean Pierre Medaille and our first Sisters in France in the 1600s.
We grow in relationships with those who come share a meal and insights too. The Northridge Caritas community of Associates meet at Caritas for their monthly gatherings. A Readers Circle of Sisters meets monthly for a meal and sharing highlights of their latest spiritual reading. There is also a Friday night gathering once a month of Sisters who come for dinner and theological reflection.
Sally Koch, a candidate here in Los Angeles, will join us in July as a novice. Both novices will be heading out to Rochester to participate in the Federation Novitiate beginning in August. Though you all can’t come to visit, share a meal, or teach a class, we certainly need and rely on your prayer-filled support. We promise you our prayer-filled support in return and will keep you updated on our journey.
“Now that we are settled in our new home, we trust our good Sisters will continue to pray for us, recommending the success of our mission… to our dear Lord, to the end that we may labor earnestly to promote His greater glory, and have this, alone, in view, in all our undertakings.” (Sister Monica Corrigan, Trek of the Seven Sisters)
Sisters Carol Brong and Chizuru Yamada prepare for their journey creating a timeline of events of our early sisters. and missions.
Off we go! Sisters Jeanne Marie Gocha, Carol Brong and Chizuru Yamada begin their “half trek” to Arizona.
Sisters Mary Murphy, Carol Brong, and Chizuru Yamada at St. John’s Mission in Komatke, Arizona.
Sister Adele O’Sullivan tells stories of patients who have received care at the Medical Respite Center for those experiencing homelessness in Phoenix.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet affirmed our commitment to nonviolence and called for an end to gun violence in the United States of America back in August of 2016. Once again with the tragic Parkland, Florida school shooting on Ash Wednesday/Valentine’s Day; we, as a congregation of 1,036 vowed women religious, reaffirm our commitment to nonviolence and pray for those impacted by the violence that continues to leave in its wake too many hearts and spirits broken by indescribable suffering. Far too many families are affected by violence in the homes, schools, and streets of our beloved nation.
Violence seems to be the new norm in the nation and the world. It is a public health and moral crisis that is destroying the lives, dignity, and hopes of millions of people in our country. Our intention as a people of faith is to recommit ourselves to develop and grow in our capacities for nonviolence, our capacities to love our dear neighbor without distinction, and to be a prophetic sign of unity and compassion in our world.
We are committed to a comprehensive approach to gun violence prevention that focuses on prevention of all forms of homicide, suicide, and unintentional shootings. We call upon Congress and state and local officials to enact gun laws that include making assault weapons illegal, ensuring comprehensive background checks on those purchasing guns at tradeshows, online, and in stores.
We turn to the God of mercy and peace, the God who wipes away every tear, to give us the strength to be instruments and forces of change, to be messengers of unity and reconciliation.
“Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.” (Speech to U.S. Congress on September 24, 2015)
Additionally, we, as a congregation, have signed on to a letter from the Campaign Against Assault Weapons
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
We, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, are deeply troubled and concerned at the Trump Administration’s decision to terminate the “temporary protective status” (TPS) of nearly 200,000 Salvadorans who have made a life here in the United States. This is yet another very disturbing action against immigrants and refugees after the Muslim and refugee bans; the dramatic increase in arrests and deportations; the rescinding of DACA protections for nearly 800,000 Dreamers; the termination of TPS for Haitian, Nicaraguan, and Sudanese people; and the dramatic decrease in refugee resettlement.
We are inspired by our faith to welcome the immigrant and refugee. They contribute significantly to the workforce. They have established families and borne children in this country who are U.S. citizens. Natural disasters, wars, and violence caused them to seek refugee here in the United States. Now, they are being forced to abruptly return to these dangerous situations that made them flee their homelands.
We support and stand with all immigrants in this country. We call for action from our elected officials in Washington D.C. to enact just and humane laws that create permanent residency for those who call this country home through clean legislation that truly welcomes and protects our vulnerable and marginalized immigrant and refugee neighbors.
As Jesus said: “When did you see me a stranger and welcome me?” (Matthew 25:38).
And Pope Francis reminds us that “The wisdom of faith fosters a contemplative gaze that recognizes that all of us ‘belong to one family, migrants and the local populations that welcome them, and all have the same right to enjoy the goods of the earth, whose destination is universal, as the social doctrine of the Church teaches’” (Pope Francis’ 2018 World Day of Peace Message quoting from Pope Benedict’s 2011 World Day of Migrants and Refugees Message).