Justice Updates 4-29-2020

President Suspends Entry of Immigrants

On Wednesday, April 22, President Trump signed a new executive order banning many immigrants from entering the United States and prolonging family separation for at least the next 60 days. This seems to many immigrant advocates to be a blatant attempt to use the current public health and economic crises to accomplish this administration’s anti-immigrant agenda.

The president’s Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the US. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak will prevent individuals seeking to obtain a green card from entering the United States under the rationale that the U.S economy is in dire straits and the only way to protect it is to prevent new immigrants from arriving.  In fact, the Proclamation targets family-based immigration and constitutes a new form of family separation. The order bans nearly all parents and adult children of U.S. Citizens and spouses and children of green card holders from being reunited with their families while doing nothing to protect public health or U.S. jobs. It will simply cause the unnecessary of suffering of families who have been waiting for years to be reunited with their loved ones.

Please contact your Members of Congress and ask them to do all they can to reverse the harm to families and to our national values.

Sample Text: As your constituent from [CITY/TOWN], and as a Catholic sister, I urge you to reject President Trump’s anti-family and anti-immigrant executive order of April 22. My faith and our national values call us to protect families and welcome immigrants. This Proclamation threatens both.

Now more than ever, our values must guide our actions. The COVID-19 pandemic calls for unity to save lives and to save families. We need to protect one another, support one another, and love one another. This is the moral challenge of these times.

Millions of our immigrant neighbors are on the front lines confronting this pandemic as hospital workers, harvesting our food, delivering our groceries, and caring for our loved ones. They are risking their lives for us. We need to stand with them.

Have Faith in our Democracy

Join Faithful Democracy on Wednesday April 29th at 12pm ET to hear how the faith community is mobilizing to ensure that the 2020 primary and general elections are safe and fair in the context of COVID 19.  Crucial issues of voting rights, public health and election security are emerging as key to any Get Out the Vote efforts.  Planning and preparations are needed now at the federal, state and local levels to protect our democracy during this pandemic.

  • Rev. Traci Blackmon of the United Church of Christ will share what’s at stake for voting rights and communities of color.
  • Hear the cautionary tale of Wisconsin’s recent primary election from Rabbi Bonnie Margulis, Executive Director of Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice.
  • Learn what leadership and funding is needed from the federal government to keep our democracy fair, safe and resilient in the face of the coronavirus.
  • Find out what YOU can do as a person of faith and an advocate.

Register in advance for this webinar: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_H1zcwZL6RgaJp0uFmT7p4g

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Catholics For a Just and Sustainable Recovery

The Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team and some of our partners have drafted a letter to members of Congress calling for a just and environmentally sustainable response to the coronavirus pandemic.

This letter has been written in light of Catholic social teaching, to alert members of Congress that our faith calls us to meet hurting communities’ immediate needs and also to shape a recovery that addresses the impacts of environmental degradation and climate change.

The Dominican Sisters of Peace have signed on to this letter, which you can read here.

Posted in Peace & Justice Weekly Updates


Preaching by Sr. Theresa Fox, OP

St. Catherine of Siena was born in Siena, in 1347, shortly after the Black Death began to ravage Europe. Over the next 5 years it killed more than 20 million people in Europe – almost 1/3 of the continent’s population. Apparently, Catherine and her family were not directly affected by this plague, but it must have affected them indirectly.

Today we are battling a similar crisis. Covid-19 is affecting millions of people all over the world and killing thousands just in our own country.

It was after the Black Death had subsided, when Catherine was still a teen, that she spent 3 years cloistered in a room. She went out only to go to daily Mass. She didn’t choose to live in a cloistered room because of some plague. It was because from the age of about five Catherine had a deep relationship with God. She had vowed to give her whole life to God. She stayed in this cloistered room to deepen that relationship with God. It was only after three years living a cloistered life that God then called her to step out to minister to people in need.

Today we are told to “stay in place”. We sometimes complain about having to stay in place. We are told that it is for our physical safety and the safety of others.  Maybe we are looking at this quarantine time wrongly. Can this be a time to deepen our relationship with God? That is what Catherine did. Maybe this is the time God is calling us to move into a more contemplative mode. Only then will we really be ready to give to step out to minister to people in need – to offer the fruits of our contemplation.

Prayer from Evening Prayer of Dominican Praise; Feast of St. Catherine of Siena

O Eternal Trinity, Wisdom of the saints,
Catherine was in her time a holy model,
a courageous woman, a wise and faithful counselor.
Help us in our time to discover our mission to church and world,
and enable us to speak with conviction and clarity
the truth we have encounter in Jesus, Gentle First Truth,
now and forever.


Posted in Weekly Word

Dominican Sister of Peace Betty Baltrinic

Dominican Sister of Peace Betty Baltrinic, OP

Dominican Sister of Peace Betty (Mary Thaddeus) Baltrinic, died on March 5, 2020, at the Regina Care Center in Richfield, OH.

Sr. Betty was born to Mary Pozderac and Michael Baltrinic of Empire, OH, in 1929. She was one of eleven children born into the Baltrinic family, and a childhood of sharing created a woman who wanted to “make a difference” in the lives of children and those suffering from poverty, abuse, and injustice. She joined the Dominican Sisters of Peace in 1952, and served God’s people in education, social justice, pastoral ministry, and community service for 58 years.

Sr. Betty earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from St. John College and her Master of Science in Education from the University of Akron. She ministered as a primary school educator for forty years in Ohio, twenty-five of which were at Our Lady of the Elms in Akron, OH.

In 1995, Sr. Betty became the Pastoral Minister at Our Lady of the Elms. Serving as teacher, Pastoral Minister, and Justice Coordinator, she was able to exercise her passion for social justice issues and to share her passion for justice with other teachers and students alike.

After visiting with her sister, Sr. Bernadine Baltrinic, who was missioned in El Salvador, she developed a special love for the children of Central America, She became an active member of the Central American Solidarity Association of Akron, and combined her love of education and of social justice by serving as the local coordinator of the Clean Our Desk project, which collected school supplies left at the end of the school year to aid children in Nicaragua. Closer to home, Sr. Betty volunteered with a shelter for battered women.

Sr. Betty was also a faithful servant to her Congregation. She served on the Board of Elections, the Community and Spirit Life Commission, in the Formation program and as the Candidate Directress.

She served as a Community Volunteer in Akron until 2013, when she retired to the Regina Health Center.

In 1990, she received the organization’s Woman of the Year Award sponsored by the Women’s History Project of Akron. In the same year, her colleagues voted for her to receive the Excellence in Education Award. Sister Betty was the recipient in 2001 of the Catherine of Siena Award given by the Sisters of St. Dominic to a woman who promoted and empowered others in peace and justice.

Sister Betty is survived by her brother, Robert; sisters, Sister Bernadine Baltrinic, OP and Dolores Mae Kennedy; many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.

Sisters and friends gathered to share their memories of Sr. Betty Baltrinic on March 10. The Mass of Christian Burial was conducted on March 11. Both services were held at the Akron Motherhouse Chapel. Sr. Betty was interred at Holy Cross Cemetery, Akron, OH,

Memorial gifts in Sr. Betty Baltrinic’s memory may be sent to Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr., Columbus, OH 43219-2098. To make a secure online donation or to view a full obituary, please visit www.oppeace.org.

To donate in Sr. Betty’s memory, please click here.

To view or to print a PDF copy of Sr. Betty Baltrinic’s memorial, please click here. 

Posted in Obituaries

Who Are the Heroes?

Blog by Sister Judy Morris, OP

Archie Anglin works 12-hour days as a bus driver in Columbus, OH. With the coronavirus everything has changed for him. He wears a mask covering his usual smile, he greets people on his new mission — he’s doing all he can to protect his passengers. He takes people worried about getting the virus to the hospital and offers his support, takes essential workers to their jobs, and takes many to the grocery. He does not express concern about his own safety, but about the safety of his passengers.

One of his passengers comments, “A smile can go a long way. Without people like Archie, this city would shut down.” He is one of the “unsung heroes.”

Yolanda Fishe, a 48-year-old cafeteria worker at T.W. Brown Middle School in Dallas, TX, is another hero that does not make the news. She says, “I’m still going to work because we’re still feeding kids that attend my school as well as any child in Dallas that needs a meal. I’m loving it because I miss the kids’ faces. We are feeding our community and I love that. I am nervous about getting the virus because I have two grandchildren at home. My daughter wants me to stay home, but I say no. Jesus was a worker. That’s my purpose.”

We see “frontline heroes” on the news every day—doctors, nurses, EMT workers, firefighters.  However, many behind the scene frontline workers like Archie and Yolinda are also putting their lives on the line.

They deserve financial protection and health care protection. Millions of workers have lost their jobs and experience long waits for unemployment checks, and frequent long food lines for the first time in their lives. Who is protecting them?

We need frontline heroes in the Senate, the House and in the Oval Office. Much attention has been paid to rescuing the airline industry and big business. We need the same energy supporting bus drivers, grocery workers, and farmers.

We as citizens are called to be heroes as advocates, calling on our leaders to make just decisions on behalf of those without a microphone. We need action, not more photo ops.



Posted in Peace & Justice Blog