Social Justice

Social Justice

The American Province of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ calls for common sense gun laws in the wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, TX on May 24, 2022 as well as the other multiple mass shootings. The Uvalde mass shooting was the twenty-second school shooting this year.

We weep at the loss of young, innocent lives of children in our schools as well as staff members who leave behind spouses and children. Students and adults face daily fears and worries about the numerous shootings all too often in our country. So many lives have been lost by gun violence. It is time for common sense gun safety laws before more lives are lost in such tragedies.

We call on members of Congress to take immediate action, to enact legislation banning access to semi-automatic assault weapons with high capacity ammunition magazines, to require stringent background checks for all gun purchases, to restrict concealed weapons in or around schools and other public places, to support red flag laws and to restrict the ownership or use of guns and other weapons by persons with mental illness. We also call on Congress to bolster mental health services across our country.

We pray for grieving families, school personnel, and all suffering from these tragic school shootings and loss of life. Every child should have the freedom to attend school without the fear of being shot while trying to learn. Every person should be able to go to work, to their place of worship, or to a store without fear of becoming a victim of a shooting.

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” (Mt. 5:4)

The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ are members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. We endorse and support the LCWR Statement on Racism and Gun Violence in Buffalo, New York. We invite you to use this statement in your own prayer and reflection, outreach and action in ways that are helpful to you.

May God’s peace comfort and sustain all those whose lives are torn by racism and violence. May our lives give witness to the Gospel vision of love and compassion.

Violence and White Supremacy Cannot Stand

Wed, 2022-05-18 07:49 by asanders

Our hearts are breaking as we once again come face to face with the racial hatred and gun violence that infect our land. The members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious extend their condolences to the Buffalo community and all who lost loved ones, friends, and neighbors and we say once more violence and white supremacy cannot stand. And we know that is not enough!

Racism is a virus, every bit as deadly as COVID-19, that has infected our nation since its inception and until we address it, people of color will continue to die, and our nation will continue to bleed. Racism, whether the institutional racism which privileges some at the expense of others or the daily acts of hate and discrimination, diminishes us all. It denies that most profound truth, that all of us are created in God’s image and each of us is entitled to lives of dignity and respect.

As women religious in a predominantly white organization, we recognize how we have been privileged. We lament our silence in the face of white supremacist ideology, and we acknowledge our complicity in institutional racism. We ask forgiveness of our sisters and brothers of color, and we pray for our nation’s healing. And we know that is not enough! It is time for bold, decisive action. We pledge to raise our voices and to act to end the violence and white supremacy which has cost us dearly. In the wake of the horror of Buffalo, we rededicate ourselves to LCWR’s commitment to dismantle systemic racism and white privilege and effect transformative change in our hearts, our organization, and our society and we pledge anew to build God’s beloved community. We will not permit that violence and white supremacy to stand!

LCWR is an association of leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States. The conference has nearly 1300 members, who represent more than 38,800 women religious in the United States. Founded in 1956, LCWR assists its members to collaboratively carry out their service of leadership to further the mission of the Gospel in today’s world.

Resolutions to Action - LCWR Global Concerns Committee

The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ support the latest LCWR Resolution regarding our relationship with Native communities and Native American boarding schools, in particular. Please note at the end of the Resolution there are six actions listed that we can do to work toward a right relationship with Indigenous communities.

Click here to read the resolution.

PDF 103KB

July 1, 2021

Senator Mike Braun
374 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510

Dear Senator Braun:
The Leadership Team of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ is writing you to raise up the op-ed written by Christopher Harris, Marilyn Moran-Townsend, and Ranjan Rohatgi and published in the South Bend Tribune on June 29, 2021 (linked here).

As a person of Catholic faith, we invite you to consider the moral call to recognize the importance of creating a democratic system that takes seriously the voices of each person – and the voice of the Spirit that speaks through the collective voices of the people. If we silence any those voices, we silence part of the message that the Spirit is leading us to.

As members of the Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission, Harris, Moran-Townsend, and Rohatgi speak specifically to gerrymandering. Gerrymandering mutes the value of certain voices and raises up the value of other voices, muting God’s voice. We would like to add for your consideration a few other provisions of the For the People Act.

The For the People Act creates a national baseline for voting that all citizens can count on. It does this by standardizing a minimum level of access to early and absentee voting, providing for automatic voter registration, and prohibiting common voter suppression tactics. Elections are meant to be won by winning over voters with good policy, not by excluding voters from expressing their views.

The For the People Act also provides for updating and modernizing our election system to ensure transparency throughout the voting process. We must restore faith in our elections process through transparency not through restrictive and punitive practices that either target or disproportionately impact communities of color.

Catholic Social Teaching calls for people to participate in their society. Voting is just one way to follow that call, but it is a critically important one. Our elected officials – like you – have the responsibility to ensure that all people have equal access to fulfilling that responsibility.

The provisions in the For the People Act (H.R.1/S.1) are not partisan. The American people broadly support these provisions. More importantly, our faith compels us to act in such a way that recognizes and honors the dignity of each individual. In a democracy, this means enacting reasonable provisions to ensure the participation of each and every member of the society. The For the People Act does just that. We urge you to support the passage of the For the People Act.
Sincerely,

Provincial Leadership of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ

The following is a joint statement issued by The National Black Sisters’ Conference (NBSC) and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in response to the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.

We, the National Black Sisters’ Conference and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, stand together in our commitment to the sacred dignity of each human person as emphasized in Catholic Social Teaching.

In the aftermath of the guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, we recommit to working for real and sustained systemic change in the struggle to end institutional racism in every aspect of our society.

Sadly, we know that the trend of fatal police shootings has only escalated in this country over the last four years. The rate of fatal police shootings among Black Americans is much higher than that of any other ethnic group. Starting with the savage beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles in 1991 up to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the trend of abuse at the hands of law enforcement has alarmingly increased.

In 2020 there were 1,021 fatal police shootings, and in the first three months of this year 213 people have been shot by the police; 30 of whom were African Americans. Police brutality is only one of the many manifestations of systemic racism; but it is one that too often ends in the death of too many young African Americans.

We believe that we are at a crucial moment in race relations in this country. We must acknowledge and work to eradicate the sin of White Privilege that seeks to affirm the false superiority of Anglo-Saxon culture and way of life.

We must as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. admonished us “learn to live together as brothers (and sisters) or perish together as fools.” Therefore, we call upon all people of good will and especially people of faith to join us in working for real and sustainable solutions to the racial divide in our country.

We will not rest and our work will not be done until the belief that all people are created equal and entitled to the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, is a lived reality for every American citizen.

LCWR is an association of leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States. It has more than 1300 members, representing approximately 80 percent of more than 40,000 women religious in the United States. Founded in 1956, LCWR assists its members to collaboratively carry out their service of leadership to further the mission of the Gospel in today’s world.

The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ call for an end to hate and violence against our Asian American and Pacific Islander sisters and brothers and for the enactment of strong legislation against all hate crimes.

We Sisters ask for immediate action by Congress to protect the dignity, rights and safety of all US citizens.

We pray for a profound conversion of heart to root out racism and hate that causes such injury, loss of life, and erodes the moral fabric of our country.

We call upon all people of faith to pray for Christ, the Great Healer, to heal the wounds of racism throughout our land.

Provincial Leadership of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ

We are living at a moment when society is discovering the vast breadth and depth of both the richness and the challenges inherent in the diversity that exists within the human family. That diversity entails a rich mix of differences and encompasses all the dimensions that make each person unique including: ethnicity, race, age, gender and gender identity, beliefs, sexual orientation, and more.

As the world community grapples to understand diversity, we, the members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, wholeheartedly join in this exploration. We recognize that this is a difficult journey that requires enormous capacity to transcend ideas that may have shaped our thinking over the course of decades, if not millennia. We acknowledge our need to continuously educate ourselves to understand differences – informed by science as well as theology, to patiently listen in a non-judgmental way to people who suffer because of who they are, and to commit to an unceasing reconsideration of our own ethical judgments in light of new understandings. Furthermore, we recognize that we must grow in our capacity and willingness to experience the pain and struggle of people who have been excluded or subjected to violence by others because of who they are. We know that the more we can see life from the perspective of others, the greater will be our capacity to grasp what they experience and learn from it.

As we work to understand the differences among us, we also pledge ourselves to work towards both inclusion and equity. We believe that all people need to feel valued and connected, and that they belong. All people thrive in environments where their inherent worth is respected, and where they are safe to express their authentic selves. Inclusion helps us all know that we belong to something bigger – the reign of God, in our view as religious. At the same time, we will work to guarantee a society marked by fairness, equal access and opportunity, and justice for all people.

As we continue this lifelong work of non-judgmentally walking along side persons whose ways of being may differ from our own, we anticipate that at times we will fail. We ask for forgiveness when we close our hearts, unconsciously exclude, or speak or act in ways that disrespect another. Like many in society, we know that we do not yet fully understand the diversity among us and that we have much work ahead of us. We believe, however, that the work to comprehend and appreciate what it means to be human in all our glorious diversity -- each one made in the image of God -- may be one of the most important contributions we can make at this critical moment of evolutionary change and growth for the entire global community. As women of faith, we are committed to it.

Contact:

Sister Annmarie Sanders, IHM -- LCWR Director of Communications
Leadership Conference of Women Religious

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

At the World Congress Against the Death Penalty on February 27, 2021, Pope Francis declared the death penalty to be a “grave violation of human right to life and never justified.” He stated that the right to life is “the source of all gifts and of all other rights” that must be protected.

The Pontiff further stated, “The dignity of the person is not lost even when he or she has committed the worst of crimes.” To that end, Pope Francis ordered a revision of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which says that “the church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that ‘the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,’ and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.”

The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ of the American Province affirm this teaching and stand in support of the aforementioned statements made by Pope Francis. With Dignity and Respect for All as a central core value, we believe life is sacred throughout all stages of existence from conception to natural death. We invite all our partners in the work of the Spirit to defend the right to life of every individual.

In 2019, Justice William Barr reinstated the death penalty. Therefore, this Poor Handmaid stance is especially crucial at this time.

We continue to pray with and for those sentenced to death, that they may know the loving mercy of God.

Approved by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ American Province.

Signed by Provincial Leadership of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ.

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