Peace and Justice Updates 4/28/2021

Sign for Gun Safety
New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan is co-sponsoring gun safety legislation in the Senate to ban assault weapons, expand background checks, and protect domestic violence survivors. We know that bills like this will save lives, and it’s long past time for them to become law. Unfortunately, the NRA is spending $2 million to fight President Biden’s gun safety measures and his effort to name gun safety advocate David Chipman to head the ATF.

We have to do more to end the horrific acts of gun violence in this country. You can click here to sign a petition from Senator Hasson asking the Senate to pass sensible gun safety measures.

Sinsinawa Sisters Present Anti-Trafficking Education
The Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa Against Human Trafficking Committee, Madison, WI, invites Sisters and Associates to a virtual performance of

The True Cost: Stories of Human Trafficking, Saturday, May 22, 2021, 1pm -3pm, CDT,
via Zoom. presented by Still Point Theater Collective, a Chicago non-profit

There is a 50-minute performance followed by a panel discussion open to the audience with local representatives of efforts against trafficking. Please join us for this opportunity to learn more about human trafficking that continues to happen all around us–and how you can make a difference. Click here for a flyer about the performance.

To register for this FREE event, please click here. Registration will close at 12:00pm, CDT, Wednesday, May 19, 2021.
If you have questions, please contact Reg McKillip, OP,

A few days before the performance all registrants will receive the Zoom link to join a few days before the performance.

Faithful Call to Action on Voting Rights and Climate Change with Senator Rev. Warnock
You are invited to join a powerful discussion with the new U.S. Senator from Georgia Rev. Raphael Warnock on voting rights and climate change on Thursday, April 28, 2021. The Zoom presentation will take place at 2:30 om.

Click here to register for a Faithful Call to Action on Voting Rights and Climate Change with Senator Rev. Warnock.

When: Wednesday, April 28th at 2:30pm Eastern Time
How to join: RSVP here

Senator Rev. Raphael Warnock, U.S. Senator from Georgia
Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley, Interfaith Power & Light Board Chair
Codi Norred, Georgia Interfaith Power & Light Executive Director
Rev. Brendolyn Jenkins Boseman, Pastor of Hudson Memorial CME, Georgia Interfaith Power & Light Board Member



Posted in Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Springs Learning Center Learners Make a Difference

Springs Learning Center learners Reyna Perez and Aurelia Yocupicio set up food distribution for their neighbors in need.

Part of the mission statement for the Springs Learning Statement reads:

“To make a difference in the lives of others.”

The experience of the Covid-19 pandemic has been stressful, to say the least, for the people in Fair Haven, CT.

Many of the learners at the Springs Learning Center have lost jobs and were not able to get unemployment wages or stimulus payments.  As a result, many were faced with difficult decisions, like whether to eat or pay the rent. Others have struggled to balance their lives, seeking new employment while helping their children with online learning.

Sr. Margaret Mary Kennedy Director of the Springs Learning Center, says that she has been humbled by the resiliency of many learners and their families. “So often,” she says, “People who are facing hard times are tempted to pull in and take care of their own needs. Thank God, that’s not always the case.”

Two Springs learners, Reyna Perez and Aurelia Yocupicio, are prime examples of reaching beyond their own needs to care for the needs of those around them.  Both women have been out of work since the pandemic, both have young children, one with special needs, and both have families to raise. This past week, these women were recognized by Mayor Justin Elicker for their work in organizing a food distribution for their neighbors in Fair Haven.  Reyna and Aurelia showed strong organizational skills in obtaining, packing, and distributing weekly food baskets to their neighbors. They arranged food collections from local markets, partnered with the local police substation to find a place to hand out the food, and recruited volunteers for this project.

“Throughout my life, I have learned,” said Sr. Margaret Mary, “that the poor sometimes have nothing left to lose and so are among the most generous people. I am privileged to work in their midst.  These two women are perfect examples of sharing in the midst of their own need, and we at the Springs Learning Center are proud to have two hidden heroes among us.”

Posted in News

Heartland Farm Open Farm Day

Two youngsters at the Heartland Farm Open Farm day.

Heartland Farm hosted their annual Open Farm Day after a one-year hiatus due to the Covid pandemic. In order to limit the number of guests on the Farm at any one time, Farm staff decided to make a change from the traditional come-and-go format to an individual session format for which individuals and groups were asked to register in advance.

The day was split into five, 90-minute sessions, each with a special activity or presentation. Guests could choose sessions on alpaca fiber and spinning with Sr. Mary Ellen Dater, the benefits of grass-fed beef, and the Highland cattle breed. Christi Abel, Heartland Farm’s operations coordinator and her husband brought a Highland cow and her calf. They allowed people to feed the cow range cubes, and Christi presented the sessions on beef and Highlands. The most popular scheduled options, however, were the two sessions during which visitors could walk an alpaca on a lead with the guidance of our volunteers. Alpaca walking is a new activity on Heartland Farm, one that the staff intends to make a permanent option available for visitors.

Guests had more than the scheduled sessions to pique their interests. Sr. Imelda Schmidt and Sr. Theresa Fox, moved gift shop items to tables outside, allowing Covid-appropriate, outdoor shopping. Additionally, one of the area, small-scale, sustainable meat and poultry farms manned a vendor booth. Other manned tables provided information on the local county foundation, on the upcoming farmers’ market season, and on the mission of Heartland Farm and the Dominican Sisters of Peace. Visitors could also feed alfalfa to the alpacas and walk the orchard, the main garden, and the nature trails. An educational version of the film Kiss
the Ground was available for viewing. Finally, Sr. Jane Belanger provided
her expertise to guests who had questions.

Sr. Judith Lindell “chaperones” alpacas for those visiting the Farm.

Seventy guests attended the restructured Open Farm Day, which allowed the Farm both to see some long-standing friends and to make some new ones!

Click here to read the story in the Great Bend Tribune.







Posted in News

Measuring Integral Ecology in the spirit of Laudato Si’ – From the Eco-Justice Committee

In her Justice Blog last week, Associate Judy Hardy introduced a new program and a public commitment for various institutions to begin a 7-year journey to sustainability in the spirit of Laudato Si’.

The Dominican Sisters of Peace are preparing to commit to the seven-year journey which includes seven Laudato Si’ goals. As you look over the seven goals below, is there might be one in particular that is of interest to you and that you might want to help to address going forward?

Measuring Integral Ecology in the spirit of Laudato Si’ 



Response to the Cry of the Earth (greater use of clean renewable energy and reducing fossil fuels in order to achieve carbon neutrality, efforts to protect and promote biodiversity, guaranteeing access to clean water for all, etc.)






Response to the Cry of the Poor (defense of human life from conception to death and all forms of life on Earth, with special attention to vulnerable groups such as indigenous communities, migrants, children at risk through slavery, etc.)






Ecological Economics (sustainable production, Fair-trade, ethical consumption, ethical investments, divestment from fossil fuels and any economic activity harmful to the planet and the people, investment in renewable energy, etc.)






Adoption of Simple Lifestyles (sobriety in the use of resources and energy, avoid single-use plastic, adopt a more plant-based diet and reduce meat consumption, greater use of public transport and avoid polluting modes of transportation, etc.)






Ecological Education (re-think and re-design educational curricula and educational institution reform in the spirit of integral ecology to create ecological awareness and action, promoting the ecological vocation of young people, teachers and leaders of education etc.)






Ecological Spirituality (recover a religious vision of God’s creation, encourage greater contact with the natural world in a spirit of wonder, praise, joy and gratitude, promote creation-centered liturgical celebrations, develop ecological catechesis, prayer, retreats, formation, etc.)






Emphasis on Community involvement and participatory action to care for creation at the local, regional, national and international levels (promote advocacy and people’s campaigns, encourage rootedness in local territory and neighborhood ecosystems, etc.)




Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Going Green in Spring – Energy Use and Plant Care

These tips have been provided by members of the Dominican Sisters of Peace Eco-Justice Committee.


  1. Did you know that about 90% of the energy the washing machine uses goes towards heating the water? Washing in cold water saves energy, saves your clothes and could help save the planet. For more information, check out this website: Cold Water Saves | The American Cleaning Institute (ACI).
  2. Consider doing an energy audit of your home. A home energy audit or home energy assessment can help you see the whole picture of your homes energy use. Spring and summer are good times to fix any problems you can find. You can hire a profession or do it yourself by following the guidance on
  3. Turn off the lights when leaving a room (unless someone is there!)
  4. Planning to purchase a new appliance? Look for “ENERGY STAR” items that are rated to use less power. You might even be able to get a rebate or a tax credit. For a list of Energy Star appliances and more information, click here.
  5. Do you need lighting in your garden or walkway? Outdoor solar lighting are a great alternative. The lights recharge in the sun and can be set to automatically turn on when the sun goes down.
  6. A programmable thermostat is a great energy saving device. Set it so that when you are away from home or in bed, the temperature is adjusted and energy saved. When you are out of your home for a prolonged time – out of town or on vacation – adjust your thermostat.
  7. Now’s the time to service your air conditioner. Replacing and/or cleaning air filters can lower energy consumption by up to 15%.
  8. Open your windows and naturally cool your house. You also get the advantage of hear the spring bird songs!
  9. Use your grill! This will keep the heat out of the house.



  1. Development has eliminated so much of our natural world, we are losing species of plants and animals. We can join the “Home Grown National Park” in our own properties to increase the biodiversity that is needed to save species.
  2. Choose native trees, shrubs, forbs and ground covers for about 70% of your landscape.
  3. Reduce areas of grass as it contributes nothing to the environment.
  4. Plant in the spring or fall when conditions are cooler and rainfall is more plentiful.
  5. Avoid large areas of mulch. Instead, cover the area with more plants to conserve water. In a healthy ecosystem, we usually do not see large bare areas of earth.
  6. When using mulch, consider using home made compost.
  7. In the spring, do not remove leaves from flower beds unless they are over 3 inches in depth. Insects need leaf matter in which to over winter and lay eggs. Some butterflies overwinter in leaves. The decaying leaves then will return nutrients to the soil as plants grow up through and around them.
  8. Planting rosemary is a natural and low-tech way to block mosquitos.
  9. Direct water from rain gutters and HVAC systems toward water-loving plants in the landscape or a rain barrel. The county Soil and Water department may have free resources and educational programs to help.
  10. Water sparingly. Native plants, once established do not need much water due to their deep roots.
  11. Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs.
  12. Recognize how you can water plants with water you may otherwise throw out…dropped ice cubes, fish tank water or cooled pasta water.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog