We commit ourselves to the cut-across issue of immigration. We are aware of attitudes and policies concerning immigration that harm the communities in which we live and minister. We believe that we have spheres of influence that can transform this reality so we welcome the stranger and work toward systemic change. ~from 2016 Chapter Direction
In carrying out this Chapter Direction, our Justice Committee has drafted a statement on Immigration. We have contemplated the first part of this statement in personal prayer and in Deepening Groups. It is the hope to affirm this statement at our upcoming Assembly on March 18th but in order to do so we would like further feedback. The following is the statement in its entirety:
Sisters of St. Joseph, Brentwood, NY
Statement on Immigration
We, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood, NY and our Associates who share a common history with immigrant people drawn to a new land; and who choose a way of life that embraces care for vulnerable people, are guided in our decisions by the teaching of the Gospel, the Charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph and the traditions of Catholic Social Teaching. We engage in personal and shared prayer and in contemplative dialogue that can convert us in mind and heart and can affirm our decisions as the fruit of the Spirit. We respond with courage and fidelity whenever these require our sacrifice on behalf of others.
We know that there is widespread displacement of men, women and children from their homelands by persecution, oppression and slavery. Fundamental justice cannot be served without attending to their good as well as our own. The absence of a united moral and practical response to increased migration is dividing our nation socially and politically. This impasse jeopardizes the relationships that identify us as one with the dear neighbor. We are called to read the signs of the times and to seek a break through to a future of wholeness in our communities.
We pledge that Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood and our Associates will be present to people in their search for inclusion in our communities, and intentionally recognize immigrant individuals with whom we interact on a daily basis. This commitment compels us to deepen our fidelity to the Chapter Direction on Immigration.
Therefore, we will pursue the following goals on behalf of our immigrant neighbors and take the steps needed to implement them.
- Recognize the presence of Jesus the Migrant in all displaced persons and make a pastoral response to the issue of immigration.
- Ensure that our institutions and ministries are models of welcome and inclusion of immigrants regardless of their racial, ethnic or religious affiliation.
- Preserve family unity and protect immigrants from practices that separate families.
- Create safe space and give assistance with goods and services that immigrants need for their security.
- Secure the safety of unaccompanied children and other refugees as a universal right and priority.
- Embrace cultural diversity as a gift to be valued and encourage cross-cultural understanding through education.
- Repent our complicity in America’s original sin of racism and use our white privilege to promote unity and reconciliation.
- Advance immigrants’ opportunities for social and economic stability in the communities we share together.
- Seek the enactment of comprehensive immigration reform that improves the quality of life and guarantees a path to citizenship for those who pursue it.
- Collaborate with religious and civic organizations in political action that promotes the educational, social and political welfare of all immigrants with special attention to those brought here as children.
- Promote international efforts to end conflicts which force people to leave their homeland.
We would like to move to Congregational affirmation of this statement. The Justice Committee asks that you review and reflect on this statement individually, have conversation about it with your local community, circle of friends, etc. as you consider the following:
- Are there any questions you may have before you can move to affirm this statement?
- What recommendation(s) to revise any point of this statement would you like to offer?
Type your comments below.