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
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.
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 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.