Peace & Justice Blog

Stay up to date on peace and justice issues, both locally and internationally, and learn how you can take action.


Living Laudato Si’ On Campus: The Gift of Community

Blog By Sr. Shingai Chigwedere

I recently realized I have fallen into the trap of focusing too much on how we are falling short of addressing climate change. It was becoming a distraction and an unconscious excuse to not explore the simple everyday actions I could take. God used my ministry experience during my year of candidacy to remind me that simple actions can have a great impact. For the 2022-2023 school year, I was a member of Albertus Magnus College’s Laudato Si’ Action Platform Committee. Membership consisted of students, faculty, and staff from various departments. I mistakenly thought that this first year would yield nominal tangible results. After all, we only met four times. I am grateful that God showed me the smallness of my thinking and the gift of communal discernment and action. “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)

God showed me that we do not need to come up with the PERFECT plan. Nor do we need to have endless discussions. We can keep things simple. At Albertus, we were already doing some things that we could build upon, revamp, or celebrate. We had contact-free water refilling stations around campus so during Lent, we hosted a campaign to create a culture of bringing reusable coffee mugs/water bottles to meetings/campus to reduce the use of disposable cups. We had fantastic community partners who helped us implement new things like launching a bike share on campus. We launched Earth Fest, which centered around Earth Day and began with Service Day when we had 110+ students, faculty, and staff perform community service in the local New Haven area for 14 organizations.

We had students who care deeply about the environment and who led some of our efforts to review our recycling infrastructure and made recommendations that led to clearer signage and recycling bins in the residence hall. Our Dominican Mission office prints flyers in smaller sizes or only in black and white to minimize toner and paper usage while leveraging technology more (emails/social media) where appropriate. Simple changes can make a difference.

Our Mother Earth needs us to take immediate action to stop the destruction and heal and restore our common home. I know this audience is steeped heavily in sustainable living, thank you for all you do. Perhaps this is just a reminder for you as well to stop a few times and acknowledge the good results and progress you are seeing. Then let that positive energy feed you when you are overwhelmed with the task at hand and remember you have a community for collaboration. Doing nothing is not an option and we have to start somewhere. After all a waterfall begins with only one drop of water.


Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Who Are We, Really 

Blog by
Sr. Roberta Miller

Who Are We, Really 

We are all kin from floating microbes to walking beings. That is the way God created us. Sir.42:24-5 We think we are good stewards, but we are not.  We ignore God’s weavings, the interplay of all the parts. The ecosystem is the interdependence of innumerable pieces—when in balance.  

 Yet, we construct worlds of opposites in our world—cement or grasses, water or chemicals, fish or plastics; anything perceived dangerous or not useful to us, exterminate—mosquitos, ticks, wolves, buffalo, possums, skunks. Yes, insects can carry harmful diseases but are also food for larger creatures such as birds, bats, lizards, and fish who in turn may be food for others. Others like beavers maintain thriving waters and wolves enable trees to grow while bison loosen up and fertilize the Plains for wild grasses and flowers for the bees so necessary for our fruits and vegetables.  

God has endowed humans with abilities to analyze and change our understandings if we listen, hear, and act.  It is a challenge to cleanse our waters and soils from the PFAS [forever chemicals] since these don’t break down as organics; these are the dangers to the health of us and all of Nature. Recycling reduces some of the huge quantity we produce [9-14 million tons annually into our oceans] but humans and creatures do consume plastics in our water and fish for what disintegrates becomes like pieces of pepper flakes. Chemicals of course are consumed in our food and present in our personal environment—stain-resistant clothing or furniture, food packaging, soil, and drinking water—all of which may upset our metabolic system to cause health issues.  

Currently, no easy answers exist. We know bacteria may be an ally in purifying our polluted environment but the need to stop plastic use is now. As urged by South African bishops in 1999, “Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God’s Creation.”  And from Meister Eckhart, “God is creating the whole world now in this instant.” 

What can each of us discover, praise, and do today? 

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Community Supported Agriculture: A New Normal for the Post-COVID Food System?

Blog by Julie Laudick Dougherty, owner/operator of Oxbow Farm in Maryland, and member of the Eco-Justice Committee for the Dominican Sisters of Peace

When grocery stores had shortages at the start of the pandemic and the stay-at-home orders took effect, people had more time and reason than ever to start asking questions about where their food is coming from and how to get it locally. Many expanded their gardens or started one for the first time.

Next to shopping at farmers’ markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares are one of the most popular ways to get fresh produce directly from local farms. While there are many different variations on the concept, the most basic CSA model involves the customer paying upfront at the beginning of the year for a weekly subscription to a box of in-season vegetables. Some CSA farms will allow you to personalize your CSA box by opting in and out of certain items, and some memberships involve volunteer opportunities at the farm.

The term “Community Supported Agriculture” was first popularized among farmers in the Northeast US in the late 1980s, but the same concept was used by black farmers in the south many years earlier. Dr. Booker T. Washington, a black farmer and professor from Tuskegee University in Alabama promoted “Clientele Membership Clubs” where members would pay an annual fee to pick their own fruits and vegetables at a discounted price throughout the season. This model was particularly helpful for farmers who lacked access to capital in the spring to cover seed, input, and labor costs. The annual upfront membership fee solves this cash flow problem and provides a steady sales outlet.

Despite the benefits of the CSA model and its importance in the local food movement, CSA membership numbers for many farms had been dwindling across the country in recent years before the pandemic. Fewer people had the knowledge or time to cook the variety of fresh produce that comes in a CSA box, and there are more convenient meal kit and grocery delivery options to choose from now than ever before. When the pandemic started revealing weaknesses in our industrial food system, the membership numbers for many CSA farms doubled or even tripled, which provided much needed hope for sustainable and organic farmers who had been finding it harder and harder to make ends meet.

Growing your own food or buying from your local farmer isn’t just about your personal health or food security, it is an act of participation in a more just food system, and a way of re-connecting to our original vocation from God: to till the earth and to keep it. Hopefully this trend of people growing more of their own food, buying it locally, and spending more time at home making quality meals will continue as our society returns to a “new normal.” As the pace of life picks up and schedules start getting busy again, take time to consider what you really want to invite back into your life and which things or activities you can do without. If you are interested in supporting a local farm, visit your neighborhood farmer’s market, or look online at Local Harvest to find small organic farms near you:

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

Novena Against Gun Violence

“Loving God, You created for us a world of beauty, order, and endless possibilities. But today ours is a world often in chaos: war, famine, drought, so many “isms”, lack of respect for life and for one another. In this our very own beloved country we face these issues day after day. One of these is uppermost in our minds these days—the horror of gun violence which continues to ravage our nation, our society, our people, even the youngest of our children. 

“Spirit God, we give you all names: Holy, Sanctifier, Paraclete, Advocate. Yet you are so much more: Challenger, Nudger, whirling Wind and engulfing Fire, Mover, Enabler, Lover, Breath of Life. Be that for us, we pray. Instill in us your gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, reverence, and awe. Pentecost us. Enable us to be as daring as the newly inspired Apostles—to be bold in our defense of the right of all persons to feel safe wherever we are, unafraid of being forever silenced by those who are armed with weapons and anger and sometimes even hatred.

“Give us the courage to speak the Word. Give us the audacity to take the actions needed to end this needless violence against innocent victims.

In the name of our Creator God, in the name of the Word of Life and in the name of the Fire of Love. Amen.”                                                                                                                   

— Prayer by Sister Michele Bisaillon, DHS  

Click here to download a copy of the novena.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

Women Religious Communities Offer Joint Statement on April 10 Mass Shooting in Louisville

We, the vowed, co-members, associates and partners of our women religious communities, are devastated by the loss of five more lives in Monday’s mass shooting in Louisville. This marked the 146th mass shooting of 2023, with 209 people dead and more than 550 injured. We draw strength and solace from our prayer for an end to this senseless violence, but we demand more.

The congregations call on all branches of government, from the White House to the smallest city council, to take immediate and decisive action to reduce gun violence by enforcing existing gun regulations and passing sensible gun regulations such as safe storage and “red flag laws” to prevent firearms from falling into the wrong hands.

We also encourage states like Kentucky, which have opted out of federal gun laws, to work with ALL branches of government to help ensure the safety of their citizens. Gov. Andy Beshear allowed House Bill 153, which bans Kentucky’s state and local law enforcement from assisting in any federal bans on guns, ammunition or firearms accessories, to become law without his signature. We call on ALL elected representatives to put the safety of their citizens above the safety of their jobs, and act to protect lives despite political consequences.

We call upon ALL Kentucky citizens to reach out to their legislators every day via the Legislative Message Line (1-800-372-7181) until they take action.

At the same time, we ask our representatives to more fully fund efforts that will prevent such tragedies at the source — including mental health services, school counseling, neighborhood improvements, community outreach and mediation — in the 2024 federal budget and beyond. A multi-pronged approach that manages the destructive potential of guns AND offers alternatives to violence is our best hope of saving the nearly 50,000 Americans who die from gun violence every year.

Let each of us lift those affected by Monday’s tragedy and countless other tragedies in love and prayer. At the same time, let each of us reach out to our elected representatives, demanding that they put aside party and power to protect those under their care.

Dominican Sisters of Peace

Sisters of Loretto/Loretto Community

The Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team

The Leadership Team of the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog