Yesterday we celebrated the feast of Catherine of Siena, a great Dominican and promoter of justice extraordinaire. As I reflect upon Catherine during this time of great divide in our world, I am especially mindful of her quote “Speak the truth in a million voices. It is silence that kills.” How do we as Dominican sisters and associates of Peace live out this wisdom? How do we “speak with a million voices” today? We can follow Catherine’s example and write letters and emails, tweet tweets, and make calls.
What do we need to write about? We can write against war and violence. Catherine once wrote to Nicolo Soderini, a leader in Florence plotting against the pope that “It doesn’t seem to me that war is so lovely a thing that we should go running after it when we can prevent it. But is there anything lovelier than peace?” With so many conflicts in the world and violence in our communities, don’t we all long for the loveliness of peace?
We can hold our lawmakers – local, state and national – accountable. She scolded King Charles V of France, “Make peace, make peace! Make peace! God will hold you and the others responsible for this at the moment of your death, because of all the foolish apathy of which you have been and are guilty every day.” Shouldn’t we also scold our Senators for failing to move forward legislation passed in the House?
We can hold our church leaders responsible to be good shepherds. In a letter to Pope Gregory XI during a time of great scandal in the Church, she writes “I say that this is the very worst cruelty which can be shown. If a wound when necessary is not cauterized or cut out with steel, but simply covered with ointment, not only does it fail to heal, but it infects everything, and many a time death follows from it.” The current scandal of leadership must be cured.
Catherine is a model for us in so many ways. Let us follow her lead and make our voices heard so that injustice does not grow because of our silence.