Sunday, September 26, 2010

Blessings for the SOA/WHINSEC Trip

For several years, the Sisters of Christian Charity of both North American provinces have been participating in the vigil and non-violent protest to close the School of the Americas/WHINSEC, located at Fort Benning, GA. This year, the Eastern Province will be represented by Sister Maria Lan Nguyen and Sister Maria Teresa Nguyen. This past weekend, we commissioned and blessed them, promising our prayerful support as they represent us at Fort Benning in November. These pictures were taken at the commissioning. In the top photo, many of the Sisters who represented us over the years gathered around the banner that is carried at the SOA. The middle photo shows Sister Josita leading the blessing and the lower photo shows Sister Joseph presenting the SCC banner to Sisters Maria Teresa and Maria Lan. Click here for more information.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

What does peace mean?

You'll recall that at the prayer service for the International Day of Peace on September 21, the international Sister-students at Assumption College for Sisters (ACS), Mendham, NJ, were asked to share what peace means to the people of their respective countries. More answers follow:

For the people of Kenya, peace means to accept and appreciate one another, despite our differences in culture, tribe and religion. It also means to preserve creation and to use and share the natural resources responsibly.
For the people of Indonesia, peace means to have a decent and good moral life and the freedom to practice their beliefs.
To the people of Haiti, peace means finding jobs so that one may provide for their family in order to prevent violence that occurs because of hunger.
Costa Rica
Fro the people of Costa Rica peace means respecting the dignity of the human being and creation by continuing to uphold its heritage of education, family, democracy, stability and peace which began when it abolished the death penalty in 1997 and its armed forces in 1948.
United States
The people of the United States cry for healing not only for country, but for healing in our families and neighborhoods.

What did you do for the International Day of Peace? Feel free to share with us!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Some Sharings from Peace Day

These photos are from the International Day of Peace prayer service held on September 21 at Assumption College for Sisters (ACS), Mendham, NJ (If subscribers cannot see the photos, click here). Thanks to Sister Joseph and Sister Gerardine for responding to the blog request to share some Peace Day events with us. At ACS, international Sister-students were asked to reflect on "Peace: What does it mean to the people of your country?" Here are some of the answers:
South Africa
Peace for the people of South Africa means living in harmony, accepting one another, black and white, appreciating each other’s culture, traditions, and beliefs.
For the people of Tanzania peace cannot be limited to a mere absence of war; it is the result of an ever-precarious balance of forces. No, peace is something that is built up day after day, in the pursuit of the order intended by God which implies a more perfect form of justice among people. May God grant peace during presidential and parliamentary elections which will be held in Tanzania on October 31, 2010.
For the Vietnamese people, peace is no war, no oppression in religion and in speech and respect for human dignity.
Stay tuned to future blog posts for more answers to "What does peace mean?"

Six Months of Health Care Reform: Get the Word Out!!

Do you know the significance of September 23 this year? It's the day that the first portions of the Affordable Care Act (signed into law six months ago) go into effect. How does this affect you? Do you know? Here are several websites that will help you to answer these questions. Click on for a very understandable explanation of the changes that go into effect today. Additionally, is dedicated to community organizing, especially as it pertains to getting the word out about the effect of the changes on lower income populations. Please spread the word. The site contains posters, door hangers, and fact sheets to help you get the word out.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Happy Peace Day!

What are you doing to observe the International Day of Peace today? Reply and let us know. In the meantime, LET THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sisters of Humility of Mary and "Education for the Earth"

Click here to read an inspiring article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the Sisters of Humility of Mary and "Education for the Earth."

Friday, September 17, 2010

Catholic Week of Action for the DREAM Act

From Justice for Immigrants (USCCB):

Catholic Week of Action for the DREAM Act

Take Action!

Send your Senators and Representatives a message asking them to support the DREAM Act

If enacted, the DREAM Act would create a pathway through which undocumented immigrant students could obtain conditional permanent residency and, ultimately, American citizenship. Under the legislation, certain students would be eligible for conditional permanent residency if they meet certain criteria, including: entering the United States before age 16; living in the U.S. for at least five continuous years immediately before the bill becomes effective; graduating from high school or gaining admission into an institute of higher education; having "good moral character" and not committed certain crimes; and being younger than 35 when the bill becomes effective. Students must also demonstrate that they have not been under a final order for deportation. After a six year period of conditional permanent residency, these individuals could apply for citizenship if they had continued to demonstrate "good moral character," continued to live in the U.S. , and completed at least two years of higher education or served at least two years in the military.

The DREAM Act has always had strong bipartisan support, and the U.S. Catholic bishops have been long standing supporters of the legislation.

The DREAM Act would make a difference in the lives of undocumented youth who were brought to the United States by their parents and now, because of their lack of legal status, face obstacles to their future. By removing such barriers, the DREAM Act permits immigrant students to pursue a promising future through college education or military service. Those benefitting from the DREAM Act are talented, intelligent and dedicated young people who know only the U.S. as their home.

More information about the DREAM Act may be found at

While the Justice for Immigrants campaign continues to work for the passage of comprehensive immigration reform, JFI is also engaging in the effort to grow more support in Congress for the DREAM Act. Passage of the DREAM Act could provide the momentum needed to advance immigration reform legislation, but we need lawmakers in Washington , DC to act swiftly on the measure. Indeed, a limited number of weeks remain in the current session – which goes through the first week in October and includes a mid-November for a “lame duck” session – as our windows of opportunity to move the DREAM Act, and federal lawmakers will act only if they hear from you.

To promote Congressional action on the DREAM Act, the U.S. Catholic bishops will be sending letters to Capitol Hill expressing their support of the legislation. We urge you to act in accordance with the Bishops by participating in a Catholic Week of Action for the DREAM Act and send the alert below to your Senators and Representative and asking them to co-sponsor or publicly support the DREAM Act.

Click on the “Take Action” button above or go to to take part in the Catholic Action for the DREAM Act.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Religious Faith, Torture, and our National Soul

Continuing to focus attention on torture, we consider the book by ethicist David Gushee, Religious Faith, Torture, and our National Soul. According to NRCAT, this collection of essays contains insider accounts from people who served in the military during the years of the Bush Administration, as well as those who have been to Guantanamo and represented clients there. It offers probing religious and ethical analysis from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim perspectives. NRCAT suggests using a chapter or two for an adult education class or book group this fall.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

International Presentation Sisters in Pakistan

From the Partnership for Global Justice:

The effect of the flooding will be felt long after the waters abate as the loss of crops will inevitably lead to food shortages in the long term.

Sr. Shamim, based in the community in Risalpur, writes:

"There are about 1,500 flood victims in the school. Office staff members and our workers are doing a great job in looking after them in some ways. It is very hard to see them without their homes. The water went over their houses and there was no other option but to get out of the houses. The military is trying to feed them but it is not possible to give them everything. The water came so quickly that it was impossible for people to take things from their home. Some people came from Nowshera. It was pathetic to see those families who had lost their children as well. The majority of these people had mud houses... It is still raining. We are hoping and praying for the sun to shine."

August 17, From Sr. Josepha Charles, IPBVM in Pakistan: I am sitting in a shop. We are sending some appeals for help for the people in our area. All systems are out of order, no phone, no email etc. The situation is bad. We are in the worst hit area, trying to visit all we can. 210 families have occupied the school.

We have a fund for flood relief and will be sending help directly to our Sisters in Pakistan. If you wish to make a donation to the fund please contact the Presentation Sisters, Main Street, Monasterevin, Co. Kildare, Tel +353 45 525335. We are waiting until the flood waters subside in order to see how best to respond. The army is doing a fine job in providing food to some of the flood victims as are the aid agencies.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Remembering 9/11: A Song and a Prayer

As we remember 9/11/01, let's also remember that peace begins with each person. Here's a video of the Choirboys singing "Let There be Peace on Earth." (Email subscribers click here for the video.) Please take time to look at the faces of the children. Let this be our prayer:

Here's a prayer from Education for Justice (feel free to share with others):

Prayer for 9/11
The flames and ashes proclaimed our brokenness,
But healing was our challenge and our call,
Our vocation in the Spirit.
We must continue as a human community
To move toward wholeness,
To repair the ravages of hate,
To bring together
Rather than to tear apart.
The open gesture of trust must replace
The clenched fist, the refusal of the other's hand.
Only in building inclusive community
Do we construct a healing truth:
We are all fragile children of God
Needing each other for wholeness.
‐by Jane Deren 8/30/10

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Crisis in Pakistan

From the Partnership for Global Justice:

The Medical Mission Sisters
Sister Sylvia Strahler, Medical Mission Sister District Coordinator in Pakistan, reports on the tragic flooding that has impacted missions of people. “Rescue teams have difficulty in getting to the victims because of the heavy rains and gushing waters...there is a great shortage of food, drinking water and medicines,” she writes. Please join with us in prayer for all those affected.

If you wish to help financially, please send your donation specified for: Pakistan Flood Relief to Medical Mission Sisters Development Center, 8400 Pine Road, Philadelphia, PA 19111.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Caritas Internationalis in Pakistan

From Caritas Internationalis via Partnership for Global Justice:

The challenges presented by the floods are enormous. Some areas are still inaccessible. The number of people who need help is massive. Prices of food and petrol have shot up as supply has been strangled. Caritas has been providing food, water, shelter, hygiene and cooking items, as well as medical support in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh. Caritas is also working with communities to identify infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and irrigation channels, that needs to be rebuilt. By doing this it will reconnect people to markets and other services. As Pakistani’s struggle with the loss of their homes, possessions and livelihoods, their one hope is that the floods will subside bef ore the planting season in September. If farmers are unable to plant because fields are water-logged, this increases the possibility of a hunger crisis brought on by poor crops at harvesting time. To donate online go to:

Saturday, September 4, 2010

CRS in Pakistan

From the Partnership for Global Justice
(Note: This is a vivid portrayal of daily life in Pakistan for families right now. Please take the time to read and pray -- and, perhaps, donate.)

Michelle Neukirchen of Catholic Relief Services tells us:
I just returned from the CRS office in Besham. We've worked in this area of Pakistan continuously since the 2005 earthquake. The purpose of my visit was to support our team as they plan further flood response efforts, especially in the areas of water, infrastructure and hygiene.

The difficulty of moving from one location to another: In one area we visited, the entire length of road connecting villages to the local market was washed away. We hiked from the market to the village, and although it was only three kilometers (less than two miles) away, it took us over two hours to reach the community. We had to climb over boulders and scramble over loose rocks.
It's important that roads are rebuilt in the north as quickly and safely as possible. People had to travel long distances for food and medical care before the floods—now those journeys are more difficult, and may be impossible for someone who is very ill. We also have to remember that some people depend on getting to markets to make a living, so the limited access has become an income issue as well.

Some families are taking shelter in local schools. People do have extended families, so many are staying with relatives. A few families even had leftover materials from the 2005 earthquake, such as tents and tarps, and they were able to grab them before the floodwaters rose.
We saw some women carrying children out walking with their husbands toward the market. Women don't leave the household very often, for cultural reasons, so if you do see a woman walking, it's likely for a serious reason. The biggest impact on women is collecting water. Tap stands are no longer working so they have to collect water further from home, which compromises their privacy. Now families have to work together to access water and other services.

The floods in northern Pakistan were sudden and violent. People had very little time to move to higher ground, and the water cut 100-foot-wide and 40-foot-high gashes out of mountainsides. Water delivery systems, roads, bridges—everything was destroyed by the sudden force of the water. People's land has just vanished. It's not a matter of waiting for waters to recede; their land is gone for good. And we have to think about shelter solutions in the north right away. Winter comes earlier in the north, so aid agencies will need to coordinate with the government to ensure needs for winterized shelters are met before the cold sets in. To donate online go to:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Crisis in Pakistan

More information on Pakistan from the Partnership for Global Justice:

From the Dominicans in Pakistan
The present situation of Pakistan caused by floods is the worst one in our history. It is estimated that these floods have caused more damage than all together of the earthquake in Haiti, in Pakistan in 2005 and that of the tsunami.

Our Dominican family is affected. Parts of our houses, church buildings and church compounds have been damaged. In particular the lay Dominicans have also been severely affected by these rains. Their homes have collapsed, crops destroyed and most of their animals killed. I know 30 houses of Dominican laity have collapsed in a village near Faisalabad. There are many more which I am not aware of. They are in grave need of not only to rebuild their homes but also are in need of food, shelter, and medicine.

There is a forecast of more heavy rains and floods. That will certainly bring more misery and suffering to our people. Please pray for us so that we may be able to face these crucial times and all those families which are affected may get some comfort and relief. I will be happy to offer any assistance if any one of you would like to consider helping us in kind or cash for the flood victims have in Pakistan. To contribute to Dominicans efforts in Pakistan, contact fr. James Channan o.p. at