Reflection by Sr. Theresa Fox, OP

The people of Jesus’ hometown didn’t believe that Jesus was anyone special. After all they had held him as a baby. They watched him grow up. They had seen him skin his knees and cry when he was hurt. They observed his clumsy attempts to imitate Joseph in his carpenter shop. He was one of them. They were all from the same village – what others called the hick town of Nazareth. They didn’t think of themselves as special. How could Jesus be special?

So they took offense at him. As a result he wasn’t able to perform miracles. The mighty deeds he did in other places did not happen in his hometown. Jesus, himself, was amazed that they didn’t believe in him.

There’s an ancient story about a group of monks. The monastery was not doing well. The buildings were in disrepair. There were few monks left. Each monk worried about what would happen to him. They were so concerned about their own future that there was a lot of friction in the group.

One monk concerned about what was going on in the monastery went to see the spiritual master. The monk told the spiritual master, we are in serious trouble. Our buildings are in disrepair. We are growing old. We are disgruntled. Few monks are joining us. What are we to do? The master told the monk, “One among you is God’s special messenger”, and sent him home.

The monk went back to the monastery and looked around. “One among us is God’s special messenger.” Who? Which one of us is God’s special messenger? He wondered. Is the abbot God’s special messenger? Is it the cook? What about the gardener? No one looked any different. But one of them was God’s special messenger. The spiritual master always told the truth.

The monk began thinking about this wonderful news and he told the others what the spiritual master said. “One among you is God’s special messenger.”

Each monk thought to himself, I need to be careful not to offend God’s special messenger. Now I don’t always want to do what the Abbot says. But what if the Abbot is God’s special messenger. So he tried to be more willing to obey the abbot – just in case that the Abbot was God’s special messenger. Then he looked around and saw the cook. He didn’t always like how the cook prepared the meals and would complain. But what if the cook is God’s special messenger? He started to find ways to compliment the cook.

The monks began to look at each other expectantly. Maybe this one is God’s special messenger. I need to treat that one well – just in case he is God’s special messenger. A reverence grew among them. They began to treat each monk well – just in case that monk was God’s special messenger. People began to come to the monastery because of the spirit they saw among the monks. They helped repair the monastery buildings. Others saw what was happening and wanted to be a part of the group. The monastery grew and flourished. Each day each monk would begin the day by remembering the words of the Master. One among you is God’s special messenger.

Jesus was the one among the people of Nazareth who was God’s special messenger. At the same time each person is God’s special messenger. What about us? Do you, do I, treat each person I meet at God’s special messenger? What would the world be like if we did?

Posted in Weekly Word

Peace and Justice Updates 6.30.2021

Act Now to save the  “For the People Act”
With more than 20 state laws already enacted this year making it harder to vote, it’s urgent that the Senate follows the House’s lead and passes the For the People Act (S.1) immediately. Inaction is not an option. Without the For the People Act, the future of our democracy itself is on the line.

If you haven’t done so already, please take a few minutes to sign NETWORK’s Sister Letter (see below) in support of the For the People Act. Catholic Sisters are powerful moral voices. As people of faith and as Sister who promote justice for all people, we must call on the Senate to Bypass the Filibuster and Pass S.1

Once you have done so, please share it with others in your congregation and encourage them to sign.

Click here to sign the letter.

Driving Clean will Help Save Earth
The transportation sector is the biggest source of global warming pollution in the United States. That means we’ve got to reduce pollution from cars and trucks to solve the climate crisis. Vehicle pollution also disproportionately affects low-income communities and people of color who are more likely to live near heavy transportation corridors. By cleaning up our vehicles now we can save lives, protect the health of the most vulnerable, and cut climate pollution.

Let’s get back on track to protect clean air in our communities and curb climate pollution. Tell the Biden administration that we need stronger safeguards that truly consider those in frontline communities. And that cleaning up our transportation system is critical for reaching both our domestic and international climate goals – there is no time to waste.

We need cleaner cars to ensure cleaner air and water, and a liveable future for our children and grandchildren. Each message from us can help strengthen the Biden administration’s resolve to support stronger state and federal clean car safeguards. Add your voice today!


The Interfaith Power & Light Film
Interfaith Power & Light will be sharing Other Side of the Hill, a hopeful, inspiring look at local leaders in rural America who are leading climate action in their communities.

This 30-minute film will be available for free online viewing July 10 – 25. Registration opens July 1.

You can watch the trailer and sign up to get a registration reminder here.

A screening kit from Interfaith Power and Light will be available on July 1.

Posted in Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Serving at the Border, May 29-June 11, 2021

Blog by Sister Rose Marie Cummins, OP

Sister Appoline Simard and I were invited by Annunciation House to come and work with migrants on the border in late May.  You will be able to get a more detailed “picture” of our time there when you click here to view a visual presentation about our trip. Click here to view or print the presentation.

The purpose of this blog is to relate a little about our experience there and to share with you some of our questions and learnings.

Ap and I arrived on the morning of May 29.  We learned we would be working at Annunciation House’s largest shelter, Casa del Refugiado, an old metal warehouse about the size of a Costco building (125,000 square feet).  This building had a capacity for serving 500 people.  We attended a day-long orientation with Ruben Garcia, founder, and director of Annunciation House since 1978; with volunteers from the different sections (intake, dormitory, dining area, clothing shop, office, and dispensary) color-coded to help migrants and volunteers alike make their way around such a large building.

Our specific assignment was to work in the Clothing shop, helping to make sure every member of every family had a change of clothing (shoes, underwear, socks, shirts or blouses or tees, pants, dresses) for their journeys by bus or plane.  Migrants were at Casa del Refugiado for only one to three days before moving on to the next part of their transition to America.

Volunteers did many other jobs: mopped floors, served migrants in the dining room, cleaned bathrooms, did intake, made sure migrants had towels, sheets, blankets, and cots to sleep on, dispensed needed medications, contacted migrants’ sponsors, prepared sandwiches for migrants traveling to their sponsors, did laundry and took migrants to the airport.

“No human is illegal”

Ap and I lived at Casa del Refugiado, and we learned so much while we were there.  Contrary to what we had believed before arriving, our job was not to form relationships with migrants, not to exchange names and addresses, not to be asking migrants about their stories, but to help them take the next step in moving on to the next phase of their lives.  We felt both insignificant and significant—a spoke in the wheel of this large effort.

We learned other things as well:  that migrants were coming from Haiti, Guatemala, El Salvador, Venezuela, Turkey, Honduras, Cuba, and other countries; that all were seeking political asylum in this country; that their trips were arduous; that the migrants were courageous, tenacious, hopeful. Above all, every person was grateful to be where there was enough food, where there was no more trekking through a merciless desert, and out of detention.

These are some of the questions we came away with:

  • Artwork in the shelters are meant to help newcomers feel welcome.

    Would the majority of these families and individuals get settled here, then, eventually, be denied asylum and returned to the terror and poverty that has been part of their entire lives?

  • Are there enough asylum judges to hear their cases?
  • Why, after peace accords were signed in the 90s, are Guatemalans and Salvadorans still fleeing their countries in record numbers?
  • What part does US foreign policy that includes support of dictators and governments with money and arms, play in the continued violence in these countries?
  • Do we understand how our carbon footprint, our belief that we are entitled to the world’s resources affect how other people are forced to live?

These are questions of justice that we must keep asking.

Upon arriving home, Ap and I decided that we were both happy to have been part of this wonderful effort to help migrants reunite with families and friends.  We were sustained by the migrants’ beauty and the beauty in the desert around us.


Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Laudato Si’ Action Platform: a 7-year global Catholic Addressing the Climate Crisis

Blog by Sr. Jane Belanger

Sr. Jane Belanger  of the Eco-Justice Committee looks at Goal 5 and provides some suggestions about how to address this goal

Goal 5: 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.)

Suggestions for addressing this goal:

While our specific educational institutions need to be accountable to this goal within their own academic settings, as a Congregation we have many opportunities to educate in non-academic settings.

Communications/Media:  In both our internal and external Congregational communications include and develop ongoing integral ecological education of Sisters and Associates as well as the general public.

  • Publish recommended media resources
  •  Sponsor and/or partner with local groups promoting ecological education and change
  •  Make ecological education part of the formation process of Sisters and Associates.

Our Ecology Centers:  Continue to foster and support the ecological programming and modeling efforts of our Eco-Centers/Farm. Through:

  • Support the hiring of qualified personnel and the means to promote their missions
  • Engage Centers in sharing their expertise especially with youth and young  people through mentoring, internships, and volunteer  opportunities
  • Continue to offer our Ecology Centers to support ecological education for local parishes, schools, 4-H, community centers, etc.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog


The following suggestions can be adjusted to your particular circumstances and needs. You probably have many other practices that you already do. Discuss with your local living group/family other ideas that you could do to raise awareness. Make changes in a step-at-a-time fashion—adding a new focus or practice each month. Be patient and persevering—the Planet is worth it. We are all in it for the long haul.


  1. In daily personal prayer spend contemplative time outdoors or looking out a window praying with and for the EARTH.
  2. Allow current issues, like climate change, the scarcity of fresh drinking water in some parts of the world, the destruction of our forests due to fire or unchecked lumbering practices, and the pollution of our oceans be a focus of your prayer.
  3. Pray that all humanity remembers and responds to its responsibility to care for the Earth.
  4. The EARTH needs our prayers more than we know. It needs us to acknowledge its sacred nature and to remind ourselves and others of this truth.
  5. Whenever possible use the outdoors as a setting for group prayer.
  6. In your ministry–within parish, school, family or volunteer activities raise up EARTH concerns when you are gathered for prayer.


  1. Buy no bottled water. Instead buy a metal or glass water bottle, fill it from the tap and keep it in the refrigerator to use for outings.
  2. Instead of running water from the tap until it is cold enough to drink, keep a jug of water in your refrigerator
  3. Combine trips to town/store/doctor, etc. for yourself and/or carpool.
  4. If your destination is a mile and a half or less, walk instead of driving
  5. Take public transportation or bike for local trips whenever you can.
  6. When traveling for vacation, consider going by car or train rather than plane to cut down on carbon emissions.
  7. While staying in a hotel or even at home, consider reusing your towels
  8. Look for eco-friendly products like clothing, swimsuits, sandals, towels, and skin care
  9. Mend clothing when you can, or ask a seamstress friend to help.
  10. Dry your clothes on a clothesline
  11. Limit the use of all plastics to emergencies.
  12. Use reusable bags at the grocery store or choose paper over plastic
  13. Go shopping in mid-afternoon, the hottest part of the day, and enjoy the air-conditioned stores.
  14. Shop at garage sales and thrift stores
  15. Spend the summer outdoors when you can: gardening, walking/hiking, reading, etc.
  16. Avoid overexposure to the sun by wearing hats and using eco-friendly skin protection products
  17. Take your car to a car wash that recycles its wash water. If washing your car at home, use a bucket of water and sponge. Rinse quickly at the end. Never allow the hose to run continuously.
  18. Avoid recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water.
  19. Maintain tools and equipment for safety and efficiency.
  20. When watering inside plants do not use tap water that runs through a water softener as it will destroy the plants.  Use water from outside water tap.
  21. Saving plastic pill containers after use, removing labels, washing them and dropping them off to a local church to be sent to third world countries so medication can be placed in them for safe distribution.
Posted in Peace & Justice Weekly Updates