US Federation Statement on Racism 2018
In the presence of constant and painful reminders of the deep roots of racism in our country, we, the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph join with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in committing to the critical work of creating communion, examining the root causes of injustice and our own complicity, and purging ourselves, our communities, and our country of the sin of racism and its destructive effects.
Following in the footsteps of Jesus, we commit ourselves to examine the root causes of injustice — particularly racism — and our own complicity as congregations, and to work to effect systemic change as we struggle to ensure immigrant rights, promote non-violence, and protect Earth and its biosphere.
We pledge prayer, education, and advocacy and commit to using our collective voice, resources, and power in collaboration with others to establish justice, which reflects God’s abundant love and desire that all may have life.
The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph joins with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and countless groups and individuals across the country and in Pittsburgh to condemn the slaughter of our brothers and sisters at Tree of Life Congregation in the community of Squirrel Hill.
Condemnation alone cannot bring change. Our mission as Sisters of St. Joseph, which calls us to unite neighbor to neighbor and neighbor to God, reminds us that we build community by being the neighbor to the one we don’t know: the person next door, the person who works with us, the stranger we meet on the street. It is only by breaking down our own barriers of comfort and isolation that we can begin to understand and appreciate those whose religion, race, gender or lifestyle is different than our own.
Please find our full statement attached to this email or here on our website. For this statement, we are encouraging everyone to individually consider these questions:
- Be attentive to our own implicit biases. Who are the individuals/groups we avoid?
- Have we taken the time to learn about the religious practices of other faiths? Have we ever attended a service at a synagogue or mosque?
- How do we respond if someone uses a racial slur when referring to another race or religious group?
Our hearts are heavy and our souls are pained at the intrusion of anti -Semitism and violence in God’ s sacred space. We join with LCWR and Catholic sisters across the nation to extend our sympathy to the families of those who lost their lives . We will mourn with you. We will pray with you. We will walk with you in the spirit of God’s love.
We recognize that shootings at synagogues and school s, churches and mosques , in our homes and on our streets have become all too common. The current political climate and growing polarization of our communities feed hate and spawn violence. In responding to this act of violence, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bi shops (USCCB) stated that “Violence as a response to political, racial or religious differences must be confronted with all pos ible effort. God asks nothing le s of us,” he said.
The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph Condemns Anti-Semitic Killing and Calls for the Healing of Divisions “He begs us back to our common humanity as his sons and daughters, “ he continued.
We recognize that the role of racist rhetoric and the senseless rancor must stop. White supremacists and their white nationalist ideology must be exposed and denounced. Anti -Semitism, racism, and hate of all kinds must be clearly condemned by our religious and political leaders, and each of us as well.
We acknowledge that all of us have played a role in the polarization of our communities and the denigration of the other . Each of us must participate in the healing and binding of wounds for which our communities long. We offer our praye s for the members of the Tree of Life Congregation and for all who have been victims of hate and violence and we say loudly and clearly, enough
Condemnation alone cannot bring change. Our mis ion as Siste s of St. Joseph, which calls us to unite neighbor to neighbor and neighbor to God, reminds us that we build community by being the neighbor to the one we don’t know: the person next door , the person who works with us , the stranger we meet on the street. It is only by breaking down our own barriers of comfort and isolation that we can begin to understand and appreciate those whose religion, race, gender or lifestyle is different than our own.
Statement by the US Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph
TPS FOR HONDURANS
The members of the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, who embrace the Gospel charism of unifying love for the healing and transformation of the world, are deeply troubled by the decision of the Trump administration to terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for more than 57,000 Hondurans.
Honduras is the seventh country whose citizens have been stripped of their right to protection by this administration. Hondurans have been contributing members of our communities for 20 years. They have raised families, paid taxes, and contributed to the growth and development of this country even as U.S. foreign policy has added to the endemic poverty and persistent violence that continue to afflict Honduras.
The TPS program is designed to protect people from being returned to harm. That is precisely what Hondurans will face if they are forced to return to a country racked by violence, roiled by political repression, and plagued by continuing environmental challenges cancellation of TPS for Hondurans brings to approximately 315,000 the number of our neighbors, friends, parishioners, co-workers, and colleagues whose gifts will be lost to us all. The short-sighted decision to rescind TPS protection for the citizens of Honduras, El Salvador, Haiti, Nepal, Liberia, Nicaragua, and Sudan places us all at risk. Ending their protection promises to tear families apart, fragment our communities, disrupt local economies, and places their well-being at risk.
The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph will continue to promote unity forged through respect and appreciation of diversity in solidarity with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and all who heed the scriptural command to welcome the stranger and care for those in need.
Impelled by Love of God and neighbor without distinction, we urge the Trump administration to reconsider its decisions and we call on Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to develop legislative solutions to protect vulnerable people.
We the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood, NY call on all nations and particularly our nation, the United States, to dare to plan for a nuclear free world.
We, Sisters of St. Joseph, abhor the trafficking of persons, all of whom are our dear neighbor. We are committed to educating ourselves and others about this destructive behavior, to speak out for the truth in order to heal and support victims of this injustice, and to promote life through systemic change.
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 know there is widespread displacement of men, women and children from their homelands by persecution, oppression, climate change, and slavery, and we believe that fundamental justice cannot be served without attending to their good as well as our own. In the absence of a united moral and practical response to increased migration our nation is increasingly divided socially and politically.
Therefore, we commit ourselves to pursue the following goals on behalf of our immigrant neighbors and to take the steps needed to implement them:
• To recognize the presence of Jesus in all displaced persons and make a pastoral response to the issue of immigration.
• To ensure that our institutions and ministries are models of welcome and inclusion of immigrants regardless of their racial, ethnic or religious affiliation.
• To work with others to preserve family unity and protect immigrants from practices that separate families.
• To support those who create safe space and to give assistance with the goods and services that immigrants need for their security.
• To align with those who work to secure the safety of unaccompanied children and other refugees as a universal right and priority.
• To seek the enactment of comprehensive immigration reform that guarantees a path to citizenship for those who pursue it.
• To 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.
• To support international efforts to end conflicts which force people to leave their homeland.
As Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood and our Associates, we 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. We will 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 will respond with courage and fidelity whenever these require our sacrifice on behalf of others.