Friday, May 30, 2008

A Beautiful Tribute: The Life and Death of Sister Hildegarde

Click here to read Fr. John Dear's tribute to Sister Hildegarde Smith, SCC, who died on April 25.
This picture was taken almost a year ago. Sister Hildegarde is in the center and is surrounded by Sisters and postulants from the Eastern Province. Thanks to Sister Karen Marie for the photo!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Partnership for Global Justice - Part Three

We thank Sister Mary Irene, SCC, for her detailed report of the Annual Meeting. The final installment of her report follows:

At the UN, we met with a panel at the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium. The panel was entitled, "The Spirituality of Politics: A Religious and Social View." The participants of this panel were: Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations; Elmira Nazombe, Co-Executive Secretary for Racial Justice of the Women’s Division, responsible for assisting United Methodist Women through the development of advocacy strategies and biblical and theological reflection materials on racial justice; and James Edward Jones, Associate Professor of World Religions and African Studies at Mahattanville College, Purchase, NY, whose personal and professional work has been focused on conflict resolution within families, communities, and across national and cultural boundaries. As can be seen from these wonderful people the panel was extremely interesting. Each person encouraged us to think of the common good as visioning people made in the image and likeness of God, developing the community itself, looking to provide health, food, clothing, etc., searching for peace, practicing compassion, and balancing “which allows us to negotiate the multifaceted nature of our lives without sacrificing our most cherished goals and ideals”.

A beautiful Saturday dawned with the participants convening for a panel and questioning time with Dr. Barbara Wall, PhD and Sister Pat Sieman, OP, JD. Summarizing the prior three days, all of the participants felt they were sent home in the power of the Spirit with renewed vigor, courage, hope, and fire for the kingdom of God.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Partnership for Global Justice - Part Two

Continuing Sister Mary Irene's report:

The keynote for Friday, entitled "The Spiritualit of Politics: An Ecological and Legal View," was given by Dominican Sister Pat Sieman, JD. Sister Pat is the director of the Center of Earth Jurisprudence. The mission of this group is to re-envision law and governance in ways that support and protect the well-being of the entire Earth community. In her talk, Sister Pat pointed out that we are living in a time of great urgency. To describe this urgency, Sister spoke of “tipping points” which are slow, gradual changes that becomes irreversible and then proceed with gathering pace. It is derived from the example of a rigid solid object being lifted to a point where it begins to topple.

A spirituality of politics that is most needed to deal with this is one that begins with knowing oneself and the ability to let go of control of a situation, especially in the face of fear. The second practice is to develop an awareness and experience of belonging to a single, interconnected and interdependent, community of being. It is this sense of belonging to a larger reality that can be a source of great hope and creativity. We are not alone; the other members of the world community support and sustain us.

We humans have caused the climate change, build-up of toxic chemicals in the environment and their accumulate effect. We must take seriously the environmental fragility, become aware of the failing civilizations in our world, establish relations with them, and vote for quality political leadership and the social responses to challenges.

Sister Pat closed with practical solutions for religious communities, namely:

  1. Those communities entrusted with land should create land trusts to be protected for generations;
  2. We need to ask ourselves, “How much financial security do we need?” Are we supporting youth for the good of the whole – whether or not they are entering our communities?
  3. Spend time with the arts and nature; and
  4. Share Eucharist in all ways.

After a break, we boarded buses bound for the U. S. Mission connected with the UN. The US Representatives to the United Nations met with us to discuss our hopes and concerns regarding the US/UN political systems.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Partnership for Global Justice Annual Meeting

Thanks to Sister Mary Irene for her report from the Annual Meeting of the Partnership for Global Justice, held from April 24-26, 2008. Part One (of three) follows:

Thursday, April 24, 2008, marked the beginning of a three-day conference sponsored by the NGO group called the Partnership for Global Justice held at Xavier Center on the campus of St. Elizabeth’s College in Convent Station, NJ. Religious women and men, and associates from various communities all over the country as well as Canada, Mexico, and the Philippines gathered for this examination of politics at its deepest level of serving the needs of peoples and Earth as we choose leaders for the 21st century.

After the welcome, opening prayer, and introductions, the keynote speaker, Dr. Barbara Wall, PhD from Villanova University gave a very insightful talk entitled, "The Spirituality of Politics: a Philosophical View." In this analysis she spoke of three concepts that intersect in the title of the conference: Spirituality, Politics and Common Good. With these in mind, she pointed out that the human person is integral to the community and vice versa. Integral to the human person is the understanding that s/he is understood as social (needing community) and political. Quoting from Gaudium et Spes (n. 35), she asked us to think about an evaluation of the common good by looking at the quality of life of the least among us, including the environment. We looked at the common good as “power.” Dr. Wall encouraged us to help our “world” see how to avoid the destructive use of power and domination: “Recognize that within each of us there is the possibility of being seduced by forms of destructive power; be on the watch for competition directed solely at winning and relationships that can be characterized as adversarial; turn off the chatter and artificial stimulants; develop the skill of interior silences; unmask the desire for domination, reflect on our own prejudices, biases and at times hatred of one another; and learn about issues.” She also encouraged us to “develop proficiency by: desiring to know and love the world, learning skills essential to the spiritual life, studying issues, promoting a desire for community, and practice hope.” Needless to say, all participants were challenged and encouraged to keep hope.

That evening, Dave Robinson, the executive director of Pax Christi USA, spoke about the works and philosophy of Pax Christi. Mr. Robinson encouraged everyone to have a spirituality of vulnerability by “putting our hands in the wounds”, have contact with people who are suffering, and see vulnerability with a positive attitude. Also, “We must live simply so others can simply live.”

Stay tuned for Part Two!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


The Ecological Search Engine:

Ecoogler is a search engine that uses Yahoo technology and helps reforesting trees and safeguard water resources in the Amazon region, which constitute today one fourth of the fresh water reserves of our planet. For every search in Ecoogler, you contribute symbolically to reforest one leaf. For every 10,000 searches, Ecoogler and Aquaverde plant a tree in the Amazon. Check it out at and help to plant trees!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center

For updates on current and pending U.S. legislation, go to the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center. The site allows you to customize your e-letters to your legislators and pass the information along to your colleagues.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Stop Trafficking Newsletter for May

The Stop Trafficking Newsletter for May is now available. Click here for access to the pdf file.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Human Trafficking Awareness Vigil

The Newark Coalition Against Human Trafficking invites you to its Human Trafficking Awareness Vigil on Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 5:00 pm in downtown Newark's Military Park on Broad Street, between Rector Street and Raymond Boulevard. The theme of the vigil is "Break the Chains."

The vigil will include a testimonial from a victim of human trafficking and a variety of opportunities to learn more about the problem of human trafficking in our communities.

Consider attending this vigil and help to spread the word!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Help for Myanmar

A message from the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, who have seven communities in Myanmar:

"As we pray in solidarity with the people of Myanmar , if anyone would like to make donations for the relief effort, donations gathered by GS across the world will be sent by bank transfer through the Good Shepherd Generalate directly to our sisters in the disaster zone. I have no doubt it will be used directly for basic relief of food water and shelter. We may not obtain much information however, communication being difficult in the best of times."

Donations may be sent to:
Sister Clare Nolan
211 East 43rd St. , Rm 302,
New York , NY 10017

Make checks payable to Sisters of the Good Shepherd and note that the donation is for "Myanmar Relief."

Sister Clare will send the money to the Generalate.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Book Recommendation: A Banqueter's Guide . . .

From the Liturgical Press web site: "When Jesus spoke at the table he provided instructions for his disciples to follow. A Banqueter's Guide to the All-Night Soup Kitchen of the Kingdom of God views those teachings as a set of guidelines for us to follow in all areas of life. Through the study of metaphors commonly used to describe the Eucharist, this book connects the Eucharist and Jesus’ words and actions with current issues in society. Each chapter defines a metaphor associated with the Eucharist and explores its moral, social, and ethical implications. Readers will become more aware of the need for social justice as they identify with the parables and guidance of Jesus. Chapters are: 'Take and Eat,' 'Breaking Bread,' 'This is My Body,' and 'An Unbloody Sacrifice.'" The author, Patrick T. McCormick, S.T.P., is associate professor of Christian ethics at Gonzaga University.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ten Days in May: Day 10

Let there be peace on earth . . .

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ten Days in May: Day 9

Thanks to Sister Josita for sharing the following:
Six Principles of Christian Nonviolence
Based on the writings and words of Martin Luther King

1. Nonviolence offers a way of life for courageous people. It is passive physically, but
strongly active spiritually. It is no passive nonresistance to evil; it is active nonviolent
resistance to evil.

2. Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding. Nonviolence uncovers and
builds up the beloved community of humanity. As the way of God, it redeems, reconciles,
and leads us to nonviolent Kindom of God on earth.

3. Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice, not people. It looks on evildoers as themselves
victims, rather than as evil people. Nonviolence recognizes that every human being sins,
that every human being does evil, that every human being commits violence. Active
nonviolence seeks to halt evil and to heal the human family.

4. Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform. Nonviolence struggles
actively for justice and peace, but instead of inflicting violence and death on others, it
accepts suffering without retaliation. In the nonviolent way of life, we refrain from
violence, no matter how just the cause. We never inflict violence on others or ever
advocate it, but if necessary, we suffer it with redemptive love that seeks to open the
eyes of our opponent to the truth of justice and peace. Redemptive suffering love, which
insists on justice and peace, is the doorway to conversion and transformation.

5. Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate. It resists violence of the spirit as well as of
the body. This love flows spontaneously, unselfishly, creatively, sacrificially and
unconditionally. Active nonviolent love risks a return of hostility. Such active love never
ceases to forgive but continues to insist on the beloved community of humanity.
Nonviolence recognizes that all life is interrelated, that all is one. Love, agape, is the
only cement that can hold the broken community together. When I am commanded to
love, I am commanded to restore community, to resist injustice and to meet the needs of
my brothers and sisters.

6. Nonviolence is a way of live that flows from a deep belief that the universe stands on
the side of justice. One who practices nonviolence knows that God reigns, that God is nonviolent, that God’s reign is a reign of nonviolence, and that God’s way of nonviolence
will eventually transform everyone into God’s Kindom of justice and peace. The universe itself bends toward justice. The deepest meaning in life is to side with God in God’s nonviolent transformation of the world into a Kindom of justice and peace.

“Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.” -Mohandas K. Gandhi
“We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools."
- Martin Luther King

Friday, May 9, 2008

Ten Days in May: Day 8

Mary of Nazareth: Prophet of Peace
John Dear, SJ uses Mary's Annunciation, Visitation, and Magnificat to paint portraits of "Mary and Contemplative Nonviolence," "Mary and Active Nonviolence," and "Mary and Prophetic Nonviolence." Perhaps on this 8th day of our peaceful observance, we could take time to re-visit this book.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Ten Days in May: Day 7

May peace prevail on earth . . .

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Ten Days in May: Day 6

Pace e bene Nonviolence Service fosters a just and peaceful world through nonviolent education, community-building, and action. Traveling with the Turtle: A Small Group Process in Women's Spirituality and Peacemaking is one of the resources available on this site.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ten Days in May: Day 5

Click here to read the latest issue of the Catholic Peace Voice.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Ten Days in May: Day 4

The Way of Peace: Exploring Nonviolence for the 21st Century is a resource for classroom or small group use. It is available from Pax Christi USA.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Ten Days in May: Day 3

The Muslim, Jewish, Christian Prayer for Peace
O God, you are the source
of life and peace.
Praised be your name forever.
We know it is you who turn
our minds to thoughts of peace.
Hear our prayer in this time of war.

Your power changes hearts.
Muslims, Christians, and Jews remember,
and profoundly affirm,
that they are followers of the one God,
children of Abraham, brothers and sisters;
enemies begin to speak to one another;
those who were estranged join hands in friendship;
nations seek the way of peace together.

Strengthen our resolve to give witness to these truths by the way we live.

Give to us:
Understanding that puts an end to strife;
Mercy that quenches hatred; and
Forgiveness that overcomes vengeance.

Empower all people to live in your law of love.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Death Penalty

Three weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ended a moratorium on lethal injections, at least 14 execution dates have been set for the coming months. Click here to read the May 3 NY Times article, "After Hiatus, States Set Wave of Executions."

Ten Days in May: Day 2

On this 25th Anniversary of the US Catholic Bishops' Pastoral Letter, "The Challenge of Peace: God's Promise and Our Response," perhaps a re-reading is in order. You can find the letter here.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Ten Days in May: Day 1

A Prayer for World Peace
by Joan D. Chittister, OSB

Great God, who has told us
“Vengeance is mine,”
save us from ourselves,
save us from the vengeance in our hearts
and the acid in our souls.
Save us from our desire
to hurt as we have been hurt,
to punish as we have been punished,
to terrorize as we have been terrorized.
Give us the strength it takes
to listen rather than to judge,
to trust rather than to fear,
to try again and again to make peace
even when peace eludes us.
We ask, O God, for the grace to be our best selves.
We ask for the vision to be builders of the
human community rather than its destroyers.
We ask for the humility as a people
to understand the fears and hopes of other peoples.
We ask for the love it takes
to bequeath to the children of the world
to come more than the failures of our own making.
We ask for the heart it takes to care for all the peoples
of Afghanistan and Iraq, of Palestine and Israel,
as well as for ourselves.
Give us the depth of soul, O God, to constrain our might,
to resist the temptations of power,
to refuse to attack the attackable,
to understand that vengeance begets violence,
and to bring peace - not war - wherever we go.
For You, O God, have been merciful to us.
For You, O God, have been patient with us.
For You, O God, have been gracious to us.
And so may we be merciful and patient
and gracious and trusting
with these others who you also love.
This we ask through, Jesus,
the one without vengeance in his heart.
This we ask forever and ever.