"The greater the work the more
important it is to establish it on
a solid foundation. Thus it will
not only be more perfect; it
will also be more lasting.”

St. Louise de Marillac

“Be diligent in serving
the poor. Love the poor,
honor them, my children,
as you would honor
Christ Himself.”

St. Louise de Marillac

 

Catholic Sisters Week – Sisters 4 Justice

Every year, from March 8-14, we celebrate Catholic Sisters Week (CSW), recognizing the contributions that Catholic Sisters have made – and continue to make – in the world. While they have historically and currently contributed much to education and health care, Catholic Sisters have also contributed much to the work of social justice. They have committed to put their faith into action by working for the common good and dignity of all people, core principles of Catholic Social Teaching. Many Sisters view this as living out the Gospel way that Jesus calls all of us to as disciples. From creating national nonprofits, such as the Alliance to End Human Trafficking (formerly U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking), and a national lobby like NETWORK, to local nonprofits like Ignite Peace (formerly the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center), Working in Neighborhoods, and Bethany House, Catholic Sisters have made an impact globally, nationally, regionally, and locally to build God’s kin-dom here on Earth.

This year during CSW, the Sisters of Charity Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation in collaboration with the Communications Office will be spotlighting our six Justice Circles. Justice Circles are self-organizing groups of Sisters, Associates, colleagues and collaborators who regularly come together around a focused issue such as immigration and ending human trafficking; renewal of Earth; poverty, homelessness and food insecurity; peace and nonviolence; racial justice; and United Nations NGO impact.

To celebrate our Sisters and their commitment to social justice, this Catholic Sisters Week we will feature one Sister from each of our six Justice Circles and learn more about why this Justice Circle topic is important to her and the Community’s spirituality. The Circles are created to include not only Sisters and Associates but also individuals in the greater community; we hope the videos provide viewers the opportunity to learn more about these important social justice issues and inspire you to become involved.

Sisters Andrea and Louise shared why nonviolence is core to them as Sisters and to the Gospel as a way of life. Nonviolence is often dismissed as passive rather than seen as an alternative way of being that actively counters violence and injustice. As violence continues to rise in many places around the world, like Gaza, Ukraine, Sudan, and Haiti, and in our own country, both in word and action, we as a congregation are compelled to counter this with nonviolence. On March 23, we will be inviting Bridget Bearss, RSCJ, the LCWR associate director for Transformative Justice, to lead us in a reflective workshop aimed at practicing our interpersonal nonviolent skills to transform our relationships with each other, our families, those we serve in ministry, and those we don’t agree with.

Our Peace and Nonviolence Justice Circle welcomes all and meets the fourth Saturday of the month. For more information, contact Mackenzie Doyle (mackenzie.doyle@srcharitycinti.org) and visit our webpage (srcharitycinti.org/ministries/scj-ministries/jpic/priority-issues/peace-and-nonviolence/).

In April 2009, the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati made an Earth Statement outlining our commitment through our Charism to healing our global home. This commitment has been supplemented by Pope Francis’ two encyclicals Laudato Si’ and Laudate Deum which have called all Catholics to work together to address the reality of climate change and to change how we relate to the Earth and other creatures. Today marks 11 years of Pope Francis’ papacy, and thus, through our Earth Justice Circle, we hope to continue to advance the vision of Pope Francis for a healthier planet for all beings.

Join us the second Wednesday of each month as we discern how we can take the next step communally. For more information, email Mackenzie Doyle (mackenzie.doyle@srcharitycinti.org) and check out our webpage here: srcharitycinti.org/ministries/scj-ministries/jpic/priority-issues/earth/.

As S. Romina Sapinoso shared, the sin of racism affects everyone as well as our institutions and societies. If we view sin as a break in relationships between one another and even between whole groups of people, we must work to repair these breaches. We know that the path ahead is difficult and painful as historically white women religious congregations must reconcile with our past inaction, discrimination, and even violence towards our own brothers and sisters of color. We cannot work to create a more racially equitable future if we do not honestly look at our past. We must work with people of color, including women religious of color, to heal and transform our communities, church, and societies. 

While anti-racism is a grounding value of all of our Justice Circles, our Racial Justice Circle works to keep a focus on this issue and has taken steps to invite the congregation into this long and ongoing process of racial reconciliation and healing. All are welcome to join us in our effort! We meet the fourth Friday of every month. For more information, visit our webpage (https://www.srcharitycinti.org/ministries/scj-ministries/jpic/priority-issues/racial-justice/) or contact Mackenzie Doyle (mackenzie.doyle@srcharitycinti.org) for more information.

As we hear S. Terry’s story about why she joined the Poverty, Homelessness, Food Insecurity Justice Circle because of Miss June, we can reflect on how those we are in relationships with can often lead us to take action and learn more about various justice issues. Miss June’s life also shows the intersectionality of all justice issues, a grounding value that all our Justice Circles are formed upon, because in her case, racism, poverty, and homelessness, all interacted to lead to her untimely and tragic death. Thus, we realize that no justice circle topic is isolated from the others. So stay tuned for tomorrow’s video on our Racial Justice Circle.

The Poverty, Homelessness, and Food Insecurity Justice Circle meets on the third Friday of the month and welcomes all who are interested in these issues. For more information, visit our webpage (https://www.srcharitycinti.org/ministries/scj-ministries/jpic/priority-issues/poverty-homelessness-and-food-insecurity/) and contact Mackenzie Doyle for more information (mackenzie.doyle@srcharitycinti.org).

It’s not a coincidence that Catholic Sisters Week starts on International Women’s Day as women religious have been an important part of women’s history throughout the centuries and also have been advocates for women’s equity and inclusion in society. UN serves a global champion for gender equality and delivers programs, policies, and standards that uphold women’s human rights and ensure that every woman and girl lives up to her full potential. S. Marge Kloos and UN NGO Justice Circle members meet every six weeks to discuss a variety of topics and intentionally look at the connections between the global and the local in enacting justice in our world. For more information, check out our webpage https://www.srcharitycinti.org/ministries/scj-ministries/jpic/priority-issues/united-nations-ngo-impact/) or contact Mackenzie Doyle at mackenzie.doyle@srcharitycinti.org

S. Sally Duffy shares her passion for immigration justice and ending human trafficking as core to her living out the Gospel. As religious Sisters, our work for a humane and just immigration system and an end to human trafficking is centered on the dignity of every person as beloved children of God and the Bible’s call to not oppress the resident alien (Exodus 23:9) and Jesus’s command to welcome the stranger as they are Jesus themselves (Matthew 25:35). All are welcome to join the Immigration and Ending Human Trafficking Justice Circle. Visit our webpage (https://www.srcharitycinti.org/ministries/scj-ministries/jpic/priority-issues/immigration-and-ending-human-trafficking/) or contact Mackenzie Doyle (mackenzie.doyle@srcharitycinti.org) for more information.

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