Reconciling with Earth During Lent

Blog by Sr. Roberta Miller

Stop the World, I Want to Get Off!

Some will remember this 1961 musical, but is this you today? Certainly, we are besieged with calamities, deprivations, and violence. Do we scream “Enough! Let me escape from all this pressure!” Or is it “How long God will this go on?”

Perhaps we are in the midst of creating a new and sacred story this Lenten season. We are being immersed in a time of change/evolution—personally as well as collectively. Relationship is one of the key elements—with God, with self, with those around and far away. Creation is mine, says God. Do we/I really own that Truth in life/daily living? Do we/I see the beauties outside our windows or in the persons met? In my reflections do I connect my life choices/activities with their impact upon creation and the lives of the poor and vulnerable?

A Syrian living in a tent camp this winter within that ravaged county gives us a direction for our Lenten renewal: “In Syria we lose sometimes the taste of food and life but we can’t lose the taste of giving that sweetens our life.”

Over these Lenten weeks, as winter turns into Spring, in conjunction with Laudato Si and urging of “Making Peace with Nature” report by the UN Environment Program, the Eco-justice Committee offers you its “Going Green in Winter” series. Each section (Food, Home, Energy, Water, Earth) calls us to reflection and action for the sake of sustaining God’s Creation.

To prepare you for this series, we share this special video. Regina Loayza, a member of Proyecto Mariposa and Rising Youth under our Common Spirit grant, has created a TED talk in which she begins with her personal experiences of climate change, heat, and pollution in family visits to Peru. Using the metaphor of a sewing needle, she ‘sews’ for us the fabric for climate change legislation through which everyone has access to healthy air, water, and land, well-being, and economic security. Click here to view her talk.

 

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Stand Against “Stand Your Ground”

“Stand Your Ground.”

Blog by Justice Promoter Sister Judy Morris, OP

Sounds like self-defense, but is it?

Apparently, legislators in 34 states think so, when they passed “Stand Your Ground” legislation. Click here to learn more about Stand Your Ground laws from Giffords.org.

Florida is one of the 34 states with a Stand Your Ground law, with a notable murder in 2012 when George Zimmerman killed Treyvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager.  Zimmerman pursued Treyvon, under the stereotypical assumption that Treyvon was in a white neighborhood to rob one of the houses.  He shot and killed Treyvon, who was holding candy, not a gun.  The ending of the trial was predictable, with Zimmerman being acquitted under the Stand Your Ground law.  This murder was the genesis of the modern Black Lives Matter movement.

Why should opposing the Stand Your Ground law matter?  According to Everytown for Gun Safety, there are several compelling reasons to oppose such legislation:

  • Research has shown that these laws are associated with increases in firearm homicides.
  • Often individuals who invoke Stand Your Ground have violent criminal histories.
  • Stand Your Ground cases have often been skewed unfairly against people of color.
  • Stand Your Ground laws change the nature of gun violence in a state by encouraging the escalation of violence, and, according to research, do nothing to deter violent crime.

Click here to read a recent study from Everytown For Gun Safety.

What can citizens do to address this “license to kill,”  masquerading as self-defense?  If you live in a state that has not has not passed a Stand Your Ground law or is considering passing such a law, it is critical to call, write or meet with your state representative or senator and urge opposition to the bill.  A letter to the editor on the issue is also helpful, and may encourage others to do the same.

Resources on gun safety include:  Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

As we continue to address systemic racism, the issue of gun violence against African Americans needs to be an important issue for discussion. Stand your Ground Laws are often used to justify gun violence against people of color, as detailed in this report from the Giffords.org and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In addition, Stand Expert Laws often do not extend to people of color protecting themselves from attacks by white perpetrators. According to FBI data in over 2,600 homicide cases,  In Stand Your Ground states, homicides were ruled justified in 45% of cases involving a white shooter and Black victim, but just 11% of cases involving a Black shooter and white victim.

Stand Your Ground laws signal a state’s unmistakable support for armed public confrontations, not a way to encourage safety or peace. As people of peace, we need to speak up for repeal and to prevent these dangerous laws from spreading across our nation.

 

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Change is Coming – I Hope!

First published April 20, 2020

What will our lives look like when we emerge on the other side of this pandemic?

That question keeps resurfacing in my mind, particularly when I hear people say things like we will return to “normal” – whatever that means. I think “normal” is different for different people.

But I digress.

Then-Associate Colette Parker preaching in 2013.

My hope is that we will emerge better than before. My hope is that we will have more compassion for each other.

My hope is that we will lose the superiority complex that causes us to judge people based on job titles or earnings. My hope is that we will have the wisdom to embrace one humanity and recognize our interdependence on each other.

My hope is that we will have discovered reservoirs of power and resilience to address critical global challenges, including economic injustices, disparities in access to quality healthcare, peace and nonviolence, and the climate crisis.

It has been reported that in China (where pollution is believed to cause as many as 1.6 million premature deaths annually) the reduction in pollution caused by the COVID-19 lockdown may have saved 50,000 lives.

Could it be that our concept of commuting and polluting needs to change, at least in part? Could it be that we need to re-evaluate our travel patterns and the effectiveness of things like working remotely, online education, limiting air travel, carpooling, public transportation, smart energy, and alternative fuels?

Could it be that we can create a peaceful environment, free of violence and war?

Could it be that we can implement a plan that provides quality healthcare for everyone?

Could it be that we can stop treating “essential” workers as if they are expendable and provide a living wage to all workers that will eliminate poverty?

Through our response to the threat posed by this pandemic, we have demonstrated that it is possible to rapidly and drastically transform our systems and societies.

It is possible to carry our “new awareness” beyond this current emergency.

We can change our behavior —why not change it for the better, for the common good?

What will our lives look like when we emerge on the other side of this pandemic?

That question keeps resurfacing in my mind, particularly when I hear people say things like we will return to “normal” – whatever that means. I think “normal” is different for different people.

But I digress.

My hope is that we will emerge better than before. My hope is that we will have more compassion for each other.

My hope is that we will lose the superiority complex that causes us to judge people based on job titles or earnings. My hope is that we will have the wisdom to embrace one humanity and recognize our interdependence on each other.

My hope is that we will have discovered reservoirs of power and resilience to address critical global challenges, including economic injustices, disparities in access to quality healthcare, peace and nonviolence, and the climate crisis.

It has been reported that in China (where pollution is believed to cause as many as 1.6 million premature deaths annually) the reduction in pollution caused by the COVID-19 lockdown may have saved 50,000 lives.

Could it be that our concept of commuting and polluting needs to change, at least in part? Could it be that we need to re-evaluate our travel patterns and the effectiveness of things like working remotely, online education, limiting air travel, carpooling, public transportation, smart energy, and alternative fuels?

Could it be that we can create a peaceful environment, free of violence and war?

Could it be that we can implement a plan that provides quality healthcare for everyone?

Could it be that we can stop treating “essential” workers as if they are expendable and provide a living wage to all workers that will eliminate poverty?

Through our response to the threat posed by this pandemic, we have demonstrated that it is possible to rapidly and drastically transform our systems and societies.

It is possible to carry our “new awareness” beyond this current emergency.

We can change our behavior —why not change it for the better, for the common good

Posted in Thought of the Day

What Gives You Hope?

Pat Dual
Blog by Sr. Pat Dual, OP

As the year 2021 continues to unfold, in both challenge and hope, I know that I am not alone in the effort to focus on hope during these unprecedented times.  I find that hope comes in different ways and often quite unexpectedly.  We can never really predict how or when the Spirit will break into our reality to inspire us and renew our hope.  One such moment for me was during the inauguration of President Joe Biden. Young poet, Amanda Gorman, and her recitation of her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” inspired me, along with millions of others, to see the light of hope after darkness. It was a remarkable moment that made me feel great hope for the future.

My ministry of journeying with women in formation also fills me with great hope for the future.  I journey closely with those seeking to answer the call to religious life.  I witness the God-given gifts they bring to this life—gifts of openness to mission and service, openness to diversity, inclusion, and justice.  They are open to living in inter-generational and inter-cultural communities and are signs of great hope during a time of divisiveness and inequity in our society.  It is inspiring and hopeful to witness God at work in their lives and hearts, even amid the challenges of our times and the isolation of a pandemic.

For me, the last stanza of Amanda Gorman’s poem fully embodies the virtue of hope.  However, the most significant part of this stanza are the last three lines which speak of a hope that we all need. These words also express the great hope that I see in religious life and all who choose to embrace this call, both now and in the future:

“When day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid.
The new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

Knowing that God continues to call women to consider religious life is one thing that gives me hope. What is one thing that gives you hope?

If you are open to being a light for hope—join us!  Contact us to get started.

Posted in God Calling?

Dominican Sister of Peace Jeanne Brown

 

Dominican Sister of Peace                      Jeanne Brown, OP

Dominican Sister of Peace, Sister Jeanne (Sr. Mary Jarrett) Brown died at Mohun Health Care Center, Columbus, OH on Saturday, December 26, 2020.

She was born in 1934 in Astoria, NY, to Ruth Cunningham and Harold Brown. She attended both Dominican Academy in New York and Ohio Dominican University. Her Dominican education must have affected her deeply, because she entered the Congregation after completing her studies at Ohio Dominican in 1956. Sr. Jeanne made first profession in 1958 and took her final vows in 1963, living a life of service to God and the Church for 62 years.

Sr. Jeanne earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Ohio Dominican University, a master’s degree in Elementary Education from Ohio University and a Certificate in Clinical Pastoral Education from the University of Virginia.

She ministered as a primary school teacher and principal in Connecticut, Michigan, and Ohio for more than 20 years. In 1986, she joined the administrative staff at Ohio Dominican focusing on faculty education and academic affairs.

After completing her study in Clinical Pastoral Education, Sr. Jeanne ministered as a counselor, as a campus and parish minister, and as a hospice volunteer in Columbus, OH.

Sister Jeanne’s talents were also put to the service of her Congregation, as she served as Vocation Director, Director of Temporary Professed Sisters, Chairperson of the Justice Committee and Director of Ministry.

Sr. Jeanne was an active volunteer at the Columbus Motherhouse from 2009 until she moved into her final ministry of prayer and presence at the Mohun Health Care Center in 2014. Even while at Mohun, she continued her close friendships with Sisters and those she met while serving the Congregation.

Sr. Jeanne Brown was preceded in death by her parents, Dr. Harold Brown and Ruth Cunningham Brown, her brothers, Dr. Thomas and James, and her sisters, Ruthmary Carey, and Margaret Ann Geissler. She is survived by a niece and nephews.

Sr. Jeanne was buried in a private service at St. Joseph Cemetery, Columbus, OH, on December 30, 2020.  A Memorial Service will be held at a later date.

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

To view and download a PDF of Sr. Jeanne’s memorial, please click here.

 

Posted in Obituaries