Peace and Justice Updates: August 5, 2020

Stop COVID Around the World
News reports indicate that the Senate plans to release an additional coronavirus relief package proposal in the next two weeks. Among the urgent priorities for this relief package is the provision of emergency international aid for countries struggling to manage the coronavirus. Experts in international assistance are calling for the U.S. to provide a minimum of $12 billion dollars in emergency international aid.

Tell Congress today: Provide emergency international assistance in the next relief bill to protect our vulnerable neighbors and to promote global resilience from this crisis.

Click here to sign the petition.

Stop Nuclear Destruction
August 6 marks the 75th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. This horrible event destroyed more than 80,000 lives and marked the beginning of the nuclear age.

The production and testing of nuclear weapons in the United States and internationally continues to harm the health, environment, and cultures of communities around the world. The United States is poised to spend well over a trillion dollars over the next 30 years rebuilding its entire nuclear arsenal of bombs, missiles, bombers, and submarines, all while abandoning arms control treaties and stoking tensions between nuclear-armed states.

Make your voice heard for the elimination of nuclear weapons. Sign the Hibakusha Appeal here. 

Stop Gun Violence
This week marks one year since more than 30 people were gunned down in El Paso and Dayton, OH. Since that time, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to allow a vote on the bipartisan universal background check legislation that passed the House of Representatives last year. And in the year since El Paso, the Senate has not passed other major gun safety legislation either — even as coronavirus quarantines put many abuse victims in lockdown with their abusers and domestic abuse advocates urged immediate action.

For tips on how you can work for safer gun laws, visit the Newtown Action Alliance by clicking here. 

Posted in Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

A Perfect Storm

Blog by Justice Promoter Sister Judy Morris, OP

The next time I meet Mitch McConnell in the fresh vegetable aisle at my local Kroger store, I will say I am glad we both like healthy food, but I really want to talk about the health of the nation. We are starving for leadership. We are starving for leaders who put the common good before partisan “victories.

On your desk, Senator is a bill from House leadership sent two months ago. This bill will continue to provide $600 a week for those unemployed until January.  Without this money, you will not find them shopping at Kroger. This bill will also help those facing eviction. States and cities running out of financial resources would receive much-needed help.

As we move forward in the “perfect storm” — a monster pandemic, the effects of systemic racism, and economic collapse, we need to face our quicksand reality and “speak up” and “stand up,” using John Lewis’ model.

In this bleak scene, there are 21 million unemployed in the United States, or an estimated 47.2% according to CNBC.  Millions face eviction, and over 155,000 have died from COVID 19.

In response to this crisis, the Republican party leadership has proposed the following bill:

  • No money for food assistance
  • $8 billion in funding for weapons, including $686 million for F-35 fighter jets.
  • No hazard pay or safety standards for workers
  • A sweeping corporate immunity proposal that threatens the lives of workers
  • No extension of the federal moratorium on evictions.
  • Significant reduction of enhanced unemployment benefits
  • No meaningful relief for state and local government.
  • Under-investments in COVID-19 testing and health care— even while there is a push to reopen schools and businesses.
  • Renovations of the West Wing and a new FBI building

According to the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project, between 19 million and 23 million families across the country that pay rent are at risk of losing their homes by September 30.

As more “essential workers” continue to serve a country in crisis, we  need to be “essential citizens” who call or write our senators to urge passage of a bill that leaves no one behind, a bill that focuses on the most vulnerable, a bill that is truly “pro-life.”

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Sale of Rosaryville Spirit Life Center Completed; New Owner Shares Our Ecological Values

Ponchatoula, LA, August 4, 2020 – The Dominican Sisters of Peace have completed the sale of the Rosaryville Spirit Life Center, a retreat and conference center on approximately 1700 acres in Ponchatoula, LA.

“We give thanks to God for all of the graces associated with Rosaryville over these many years. Many adults and children have deepened their relationship with God through their participation in Rosaryville’s many ministries, and we are so happy to have played a part in sharing Christ’s Gospel with others,” said Sr. Pat Twohill, Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Peace.

“When we began the effort to find a buyer for the property, we wanted to be able to conserve the wetlands for future generations, and to preserve access to and perpetual care of the cemeteries of the Sisters and Friars,” said Sr. Therese Leckert, of the Dominican Sisters of Peace Leadership Team. “I am happy to say that we have met these goals, and that the spirit and mission of Rosaryville – to provide a nurturing environment for spiritual growth and connection to the natural world – will live on.”

The property has been in the hands of consecrated religious since 1890, when it was purchased by the Benedictine Fathers. The Spanish Dominican Friars took over the property in 1911, christening it “Rosaryville,” as suggested by a Dominican Sister in the New Orleans Motherhouse. In 1939 Rosaryville became the novitiate and retirement home of the Dominican Sisters, Congregation of St. Mary (now the Dominican Sisters of Peace).

In keeping with Dominican tradition, Rosaryville’s mission has evolved with the needs of the time and the community. In 1946, because of the rapid growth of vocations in America, Rosaryville included a residential high school, called The Aspiranture, for those girls interested in becoming Dominican Sisters.

In 1969, Camp Kateri, a youth camp, was opened to allow urban children an opportunity to enjoy and learn about the beauty of God’s creation.

Rosaryville Spirit Life Center was established in 1981. This retreat and conference center hosted adults and young people from around the nation, offering spiritual teaching, life coaching, and a welcoming place to grow spiritually, and to come to know God through the greatness and grace of the creatures God has created.

In 2014, Rosaryville became the home for Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Chapel, a historic church built in the 1940s that was relocated to the grounds from Manchac, LA.

The property is also home to two historic cemeteries: the Dominican Friars’ Cemetery and the Dominican Sisters’ Cemetery, as well as a public cemetery established in 2017

Other Sisters serve in New Orleans and Hammond in pastoral, spiritual direction, nursing, educational, and death penalty mitigation ministries.

Posted in News

We Have the Power to Redeem the Soul of America

Blog by Associate Colette Parker

COVID-19 has laid bare the systemic oppression that is at the root of inequality in America.

Civil unrest has highlighted what Black and brown people have known (since forever): that we have been historically denied constitutionally guaranteed rights, on the basis of the racial construct.

If you’re anything like me, you may have found yourself trying to figure out how you can move the needle toward (what seems to be the ever elusive “thing” called) racial justice. Some are still searching for a way to make a positive difference. Some are still wondering if they CAN make a difference.

I say to you: Yes. You CAN!  As a source of motivation, I offer these words from the late Congressman John Lewis (written shortly before his death and published in The New York Times on the day of his funeral, July 30, 2020):

“Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble.”

The question now is: Are we willing to do the work?

Are we willing to admit that the declaration of our country as a beacon of freedom (a nation where there is equal justice for all) is a lie?

Are we willing to admit that the forced removal of indigenous peoples and the institution of slavery marked the beginnings of a system of racial injustice from which our country has yet to break free?

Are we willing to admit that deep-seated systemic inequities that disadvantage people of color are still woven into the fabric of our institutions?

Acknowledging these truths are necessary, IF we are serious about dismantling systemic racism and working to repair centuries of harm inflicted on an oppressed people.

As more Americans are awakening to how systemic racism has cheated generations of Black and brown children and as our nation experiences this racial justice reckoning, it is up to us – ordinary people with extraordinary vision —  to create the “more perfect union” that ALL Americans deserve. It is up to us to create a future of harmony where everyone can benefit.

We can start by heeding Lewis’ instructions: vote and participate in the democratic process; study and learn the lessons of history and accept that the truth does not change; continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe; put aside hatred; stand up, speak up  and speak out, when you see something that is not right.

Together, we “can redeem the soul of America by getting in … good trouble, necessary trouble.”

Posted in Associate Blog