Peace & Justice Blog

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


Something to consider during Lent

Blog by Associate Judy Hardy

Some time ago you were sent a listing Steps you could take in support of the Laudato Si’ Acton Platform (LSAP):

  • Strive to become more aware of your connection to creation
  • Endeavor to live in communion with nature and all creatures
  • Take inventory of your consumption and consider making changes
  • Seek reusable options over disposable ones when you are able.
  • Be mindful of your use of water
  • When possible, choose transportation methods that have less of an impact on the climate
  • Recycle and repurpose what you can, and make changes to reduce the waste that you produce
  • Consider the impact of your diet
  • Remember that even the small actions that you take can make a difference and inspire others to act.

Here’s something else you might consider and pray about during Lent… making a formal commitment to join the LSAP.

Joining the LSAP is relatively simple.  Visit the Laudato Si Action Plan website here.  It is possible to enroll as a family and individual, organization and groups, etc. Perhaps you could explore the website, first and then enroll… there are many wonderful resources to discover!


Posted in Peace & Justice Blog


Prayer by Kevin Calahan, OPA
The Peace and Non-violence committee has submitted the following prayer in response to Pope Francis’ call to pray for peace in the Ukraine.

Ever and All Loving God,

As we follow news of the mad progression towards war, we pray and we plead for a logic different from the one based on geopolitical competition. We pray for a change of hearts and minds, for de-escalation, and for dialogue instead of threats.

All peoples are Your children. And Your children find themselves on both sides of the current confrontation. Should this situation descend into war, it will be both Ukrainian and Russian families that will suffer the loss of brothers, fathers, husbands, children, homes, neighborhoods, and ways of life. But You are a God of peace and love, not war and bloodshed. Though the things that make for peace may be hidden from the eyes of those driving the march to war, we pray that those eyes may be opened and that peace may yet prevail.

Let us pray together that everyone recognize that we have a common home and that more, much more, unites us than divides us.

Let us pray also that the world never look away. Pray that we always remember the situation in Ukraine is real. It kills, maims, and destroys even now and that an escalation will generate more deaths and more injured, more tears and pain, more fears and hatred. Pray that we continue to seek and to share the truth which gives authentic freedom and wisdom.

We make this desperate prayer secure in Your love, through Jesus, our Lord,



Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Human trafficking is just one facet of the social ill that is Modern Slavery.
More than 40 million people around the world are trapped in modern slavery, more than at any time in our history, despite the fact that slavery is illegal in most nations. Women and girls account for nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of all victims of modern slavery.
Modern slavery is an umbrella term and includes:

Human trafficking
Defined by the UN Trafficking in Persons Protocol as involving recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion with the intent of exploiting that person for sexual exploitation, forced labor, or slavery, among others forms.

The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation shall be considered “trafficking in persons” even if this does not involve threat, use of force or, coercion.

Debt bondage
Status or condition where one person has pledged their labor or services (or that of someone under their control), in circumstances where the fair value of that labor or service is not reasonably applied to reducing the debt or length of debt, or the length and nature of the service is not limited or defined.

Forced marriage
Any situation where persons, regardless of age, have been forced to marry without their consent.

Slavery and slavery-like practices
Defined in the 1926 Slavery Convention as the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised. In a later treaty, states agreed that there are also certain “slavery-like practices”: debt bondage, forced or servile marriage, sale or exploitation of children (including in armed conflict), and descent-based slavery.

Forced labor
All work or service that is conducted under the menace of penalty and for which the person has not offered themselves voluntarily.

Worst forms of child labor
Drawing on the 1999 Convention on Worst Forms of Child Labour, it includes situations where children are: exploited through slavery or slavery-like practices, including forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict; used, procured, or offered for prostitution; used, procured, or offered for illicit activities including production and trafficking of drugs; engaged in hazardous work which may harm their health, safety or morals.

January 26, 2022

Why does Human Trafficking Happen?

Human trafficking happens in every country in the world, in many different forms; however, the causes behind human trafficking are essentially the same for labor trafficking, sex trafficking, child trafficking, and all other types of modern-day slavery. Here are the 10 causes of human trafficking around the world.


Poverty is one of the largest contributors to human trafficking. It can drive people to become traffickers; it can drive parents to sell children or other family members into slavery. People in poverty are targeted by traffickers, who offer them a way to earn money when, in fact, they will actually earn nothing and be treated as a slave. Poverty also plays a large piece in many of the other root causes of trafficking, driving people to migrate, making education and legitimate work difficult to obtain, making recovery and safety from war and disaster impossible, and more.

Lack of education

A lack of education can lead to decreased opportunities for work at a living wage, and it can also lead to a decreased knowledge of one’s rights. Both outcomes can cause people to be at a greater vulnerability for human trafficking. Education can also empower children to make changes in their community as they grow older that will prevent situations and vulnerabilities of which traffickers take advantage.

Demand for cheap labor/demand for sex

Basic economics tells us that for a market to form, supply and demand need to exist. The demands for cheap labor and for commercialized sex lead to opportunities for traffickers to exploit people. Traffickers can make a large profit by producing goods and services through cheap or free labor and selling the products or services at a higher price. Commercialized sex is a lucrative market that allows traffickers and pimps to become the only profiter from their victims through an endless cycle of buyers and high prices.

Lack of human rights for vulnerable groups

In many countries, marginalized persons lack institutionalized human rights, which can make them more vulnerable to trafficking. Traffickers can prey on these marginalized groups because they lack protection from law enforcement, their families, and even the society they live in. When countries lack fundamental laws regarding human rights, traffickers feel as though they can get away with what they are doing more easily. Worse, in some countries, including our own, these laws can also end in punishment for victims.

Lack of legitimate economic opportunities

When people lack legitimate economic opportunities, it can lead to increased vulnerability to human trafficking. Groups that are especially vulnerable in this area are migrants without work permits, those who lack education, those who live in rural areas where there are fewer jobs available, and women and certain ethnic groups who may not be able to get jobs due to discrimination. Traffickers offer seemingly legitimate jobs to people who cannot get them otherwise, only to lure them into forced labor, sex trafficking, bonded labor, and more.

Social factors and cultural practices

In many countries, cultural practices and social factors are a major cause of human trafficking. In some places, bonded labor is seen as an acceptable way to pay off debt. In other places, selling children to traffickers is the norm, especially for poorer families in rural areas. Some countries, such as Mauritania, still practice antiquated slavery, where families are held for generations by slave-masters. There are also instances, like in Uzbekistan, where forced labor is institutionalized. During the cotton harvest, all adults and children are expected to work in the cotton fields until the crops are harvested. Cultural and social factors can also prevent victims from seeking help.

Conflict and natural disaster

Conflict and natural disasters can lead to economic instability and lack of human rights, giving traffickers an advantage and making people more vulnerable to human trafficking situations. In conflict zones and wars, some rebel or military groups will use child soldiers and keep sex slaves. Additionally, both conflict and natural disaster can lead people to migrate out of their hometowns and home countries, making them more vulnerable to traffickers, especially if they are looking for work or paying smugglers to get where they want to go. And with increased economic instability, traffickers have opportunities to offer false job offers to people, leading them into trafficking situations.

Trafficking generates a large profit

One major cause of human trafficking is the large profit that traffickers gain. This is an incentive for them to continue trafficking people in both forced labor and sex trafficking. For traffickers using forced laborers and bonded laborers, they get cheap labor and can sell their product or service at a much higher cost. For those using sex trafficking, they can easily take all of the profit, forcing women to make a certain amount each night, and keeping them in the situation through drugs, violent force, threats, and more.

Lack of safe migration options

People looking to migrate out of their home countries due to safety concerns or economic opportunities are especially vulnerable to traffickers. Traffickers can use illegal smuggling as a way to trick people into forced labor or sex trafficking. For migrants looking for jobs in other countries, traffickers typically offer them job opportunities that seem legitimate, only to force them into a trafficking situation. For instance, when Russia was preparing for the Sochi Olympics, several men from Serbia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and other nearby countries were promised construction jobs, only to be paid very little and be treated poorly. And many women from countries like Nigeria, Ukraine, and other Eastern European and African countries are offered nannying or restaurant jobs in Western Europe, only to be trapped in sex trafficking.


Beyond cultural practices, the profit, vulnerabilities of certain people groups, lack of human rights, economic instability, and more, traffickers are the ones who choose to exploit people for their own gain. While many of these factors may play into the reasons why traffickers get into the business, they still make a willful decision to enslave people against their will — either because of the profit, because they believe that certain people are worth less, because of the abuse that they themselves experienced.

Trafficking ultimately exists because people are willing to exploit others.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

How Can YOU help Combat Trafficking?

You can use your voice to speak up for victims and to work for prevention. Here are some ways you can take action.

Trafficking Victim Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2021

Please urge your Representative to co-sponsor the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victim Prevention
and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2021 (TVPRA) HR 5150 bill. Programs that are currently being
funded by the previous TVPA are set to expire soon. It is critical that this legislation is brought to
Congress before survivors lose access to these much-needed services.
The bill will reauthorize vital programs across a wide coalition of U.S. government departments that
address human trafficking at an estimated cost of 1.6 billion dollars. Click here to send
a letter to your Representative.

The Violence Against Women Act 
The Act provided $1.6 billion toward investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women, imposed automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allowed civil redress when prosecutors chose to not prosecute cases. The Act also established the Office on Violence Against Women within the Department of Justice. This bill was allowed to expire under the previous administration. It passed the House in March, 2021 and has been stalled in the Senate since then. 

Reach out to your local and national legislators to let them know you care about ending human
trafficking and supporting survivors! You can use our helpful intro packet that explains the
connections between human trafficking and other justice issues like gender equality, economics,
racism, climate change, and immigration. Click here for resources from US Sisters Against Human Trafficking.

You can also reach out to your legislators to let them know about your support for the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, which was released by the White House as part of the commemoration of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Click here to review the plan.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Watch. Listen. Save a life.

You may come in contact with victims of human trafficking in your daily life. The best way to help save a trafficking victim is to pay attention to people you actually know or interact with – your students, your tenants, your children, your patients, your co-workers.

It is all about two magic words: Context and proximity.

Hotels & Motels
Hotels and motels are common venues for both prostitution and sex trafficking, and it can be difficult to distinguish between the two, which is why it is important that concerns about potential trafficking be reported to the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline rather than directly to law enforcement, which could lead to arrests. Labor trafficking also takes place, where contract workers such as housekeepers may be exploited. They are also common venues for traveling sales crews to house trafficked workers. Below are some potential indicators of sex and/or labor trafficking that may also be indicators of prostitution.

  • Presence of a third party (pimp/trafficker) appearing to be monitoring a hallway or door
  • Guest is overly concerned with surveillance cameras or entrance policies
  • Someone is dropped off and visits for 30 minutes – 1 hour only – or someone waits for that person on property or in the parking lot
  • Abandoned or locked out young adults on property
  • Sales flyers left behind that detail suspicious magazine sales tactics
  • Research shows that the majority of human trafficking survivors had some contact with the health care system during the time they were being exploited. That means health care providers are often in the position to recognize that something is wrong and take steps to provide support. Potential red flags specific to a health care setting may include:

Research shows that the majority of human trafficking survivors had some contact with the health care system during the time they were being exploited. Health care providers are often in the position to recognize that something is wrong and take steps to provide support. Potential red flags specific to a health care setting may include:

  • A patient with reproductive or sexual health concerns and or potential signs of sexual violence and reporting an unusually high number of partners
  • A patient with work-related injuries reporting that health and safety gear were not provided or conditions were otherwise unsafe
  • A patient is unwilling or hesitant to answer questions about the injury or illness
  • A patient Is accompanied by an individual who does not let the patient speak for themselves, refuses to let the patient have privacy, or who interprets for them

Nannies, House Cleaners, Home Health Aides
Nannies, house cleaners, and home health aides labor in isolated conditions that put them at risk for trafficking. The vulnerability can be compounded by the fact that many domestic workers are immigrants who may not know their rights in this country. Indicators of potential concern include:

  • A live-in domestic worker who sleeps on a floor, in a garage, closet, laundry room or another place not intended for sleeping
  • An immigrant worker whose employer is holding her or his passport or other legal documentation
  • A worker who is rarely or never allowed to leave the home, or only allowed out/seen in the company of the employer
  • An employer who sets up and controls a domestic workers’ bank account

Familial Trafficking
Educators and social services professionals may be in a good position to learn about trafficking situations and help connect victims to services. At least one international study found that almost half of identified child trafficking cases globally began with the involvement of a family member. Victims are sold for sex or forced to work in family businesses. Familial trafficking often goes undetected. While familial trafficking can and does happen in families that appear entirely “functional” or “normal” to an outsider, there may well also be signs of other kinds of child abuse or neglect – which may, in fact, include trafficking. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers information about recognizing child abuse more generally.

Agriculture, Forestry, and Construction
The majority of labor trafficking cases learned about on the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline involve immigrants, many of whom are in the United States on legal temporary work visas, some of which require that employers provide housing. In general, housing and similar living/working conditions may be the best indications available that something is not right in the workplace. Examples might include:

  • Workers living in too-close quarters such as too many people in a single bedroom apartment who all work in a particular restaurant or store
  • Workers living in/sleeping at construction sites
  • Workers living in unsanitary conditions such as on a school bus with no running water in a farm labor situation


Excerpted from the Polaris Project Website 

Wednesday, 1/5/2022

In 2014, Pope Francis stated during his Declaration on the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery:

“Modern slavery, in terms of human trafficking, forced labor and prostitution, and organ trafficking, is a crime against humanity. Its victims are from all walks of life but are most frequently among the poorest and most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters.”

As we observe this National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, the Dominican Sisters of Peace will share resources to help educate, advocate, and take action against trafficking wherever we may see it.

  • The Ending Human Trafficking podcast was founded by  The Global Center for Women and Justice podcast in April 2011. The podcast’s mantra is Study the Issues. Be a voice. Make a difference. The National Family and Youth Services Clearinghouse promoted EHT as “a good way to get up to speed on human trafficking.” Click here to listen.
  • The Polaris Project offers a wide-ranging study of the problem on their Human Trafficking Myths and Facts page. Please click here to read.
  • Our own Sister Nadine Buchanan ministers to trafficked women and men here in Columbus. Click here to read her “Everyday Heroes” story in the Columbus Dispatch


Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

“Another Me” – Rising to the Challenge of Justice and Peace in the 2020

Dr. Hugo Slim serves at Blackfriars, Oxford University

It is such a pleasure and an honour to be with you today. This is my first time speaking to Dominicans since I started my new role at Blackfriars in Oxford.

And I must thank Father Aniedi for plunging me straight in at the deep end. It will be for you to decide if I sink or swim in Dominican waters! If I do sink, I know the presentations which follow this one will teach me how to swim.

Champions of Justice and Peace

Each of you has much greater everyday experience of working with people for justice and peace than I do. My career started working face-to-face with suffering people but I then became swept up in teaching, writing and policymaking.

Most of my career has been spent imagining the suffering of others rather than seeing, hearing, smelling and feeling it first hand.

So I see you as the practical people in our discussion today. I sense that you are people like St James who believe deeply that we must “be doers of the word”.

As people of action, you also share the Psalmist’s faith that we “will see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.” The kingdom of God starts here.

Before joining Blackfriars, I finally got round to reading some of St Catherine of Sienna’s great Dialogue.

One of the great joys in life is when a phrase jumps off the page straight into one’s heart, and stands there as a guide to life.

This happened to me reading Catherine’s Prologue. When she asks God what Christians become in His love, God answers that they are “another me”.

As you struggle for justice and peace in so many different places around the world, you fulfill God’s desire to become “another me”.

This is wonderful. Christ’s life showed us how living out God’s love involves great joy with others and inaugurates positive change and significant social progress. But it can also involve the suffering of the cross on the way to a risen life.

So, the life of a champion of justice and peace is inevitably glad and sad; joyful and painful. It is a real life.

Aniedi asked me to paint a big picture of some of the challenges facing the world today – the world in which we are called to be “another me”.

So, I will try to do two things:

  • First, I will set out three big trends today that demand justice and peace
  • Secondly, I will think about how Dominicans can work positively in today’s world.

Some Big Trends

This is an extraordinarily exciting time to be alive because the world is full of more people than ever before and is changing fast.

There is a genuine “make or break” feel to our times.

For billions of people, there are so many good things about being alive today: more comfortable lives with better shelter, health, education and income than many before them.

But human society is still a very unequal society.

Geography, gender, identity and social class still determine that billions of people live relatively easily and well, while billions of others suffer hard lives of unfairness and discrimination. And these deep differences of living conditions and opportunity are very close to us wherever we are in the world.

I want to focus on three big trends which I think will be important in shaping your challenges as champions of justice and peace: climate crisis; risks to peace, and the expansion of our virtual lives.

Our first concern must be with climate justice.

Climate change has arrived in every country. In the Arctic, a new habitable continent is emerging from ice, while large parts of other continents are becoming unlivable because extremes of heat, fire, flood and drought, like parts of the Sahel and Afghanistan.

This poses two questions for justice.

First is the immediate challenge of working out an urgent form of climate humanitarianism.

Climate crisis is pushing hundreds of millions of people into disaster now. Changing conditions are reducing their livelihoods, making families much poorer, and increasing rural-urban migration and family separation as a coping mechanism of last resort.

Justice demands that we agree basic life-saving measures for all who experience climate disaster.

How much should we invest in anticipating heatwaves and floods, and so protect and support people in advance? How shall we best support national institutions to deliver regular climate aid as extreme weather hazards become chronic in people’s lives? How shall we legally recognize and support people as they move?

The second question for justice is about climate transition over the longer term.

Human society has to adapt to climate change by reorganizing our land-use, our living space and our economies.

These transitions will have enormous implications for justice and peace because people will compete over mitigation and adaptation measures, and new definitions of “basic needs” and “quality of life” need to be worked out in new human environments dominated by heat, flood, wind, drought and changing patterns of infectious diseases.

We need to work out what justice and injustice looks like in parts of the world with changed environments and newly migrated populations.

Do we have a right to move repeatedly? Do we have a right to be cool? Do we have a right to be dry? How shall we share new land? When is a damn or drainage system a just climate mitigation measure, and when is it unjust and aggressive? What is a just adaptation technology that cools us down, keeps us dry or extracts more drinking water? What is unjust adaptation? How can we stop migration becoming trafficking and exploitation?

And these are just human rights. What about non-human rights? How shall we value non-human life and biodiversity at a time when our own human lives are pressed up against environmental limits?

How should we divide transition budgets between saving human lives now and planting trees for tomorrow?

How can we move beyond an anthropocentric worldview and respect God’s balance of human and non-human value in creation if many of us are fighting for our human lives?

One of our biggest challenges in the next ten years is to work out just, peaceful and practical answers to these questions.

The economic transition of climate crisis will challenge justice and peace dramatically.

Climate change will cause a massive relocation and revaluation of the global economy, which will bring new winners and losers.

Agriculture and industry will die in some places and be born anew in others, as economic activity is physically relocated away from areas at risk of flooding and heat. Factories will move. Jobs will move. People will move. Money will move.

As the economy is relocated and transitions, geography will be revalued.

Oil spaces in the Middle East, Texas and Russia will be greatly reduced in their economic value. Parts of the world that are drying up, like North Africa and the Mediterranean, will stop producing food and be dramatically devalued. Cold places that are warming up will become the bread baskets of tomorrow and increase enormously in value.

This revaluation of the world economy will pose enormous questions for justice, as billions of people fall into poverty and want to move, while billions more boom and profit with new wealth.

Just and peaceful adaptation to a new economic geography will be a huge challenge.

Dominicans need to be with people at the frontline of climate change and its economic transitions, and the inevitable conflict and disputes they will create.

Dominicans will need to help redefine human rights and human duties in environments of extreme heat, flood and continuous human movement, and in new transition economies.

You have already seen this challenge well in advance and have rightly been campaigning for a new approach to the human rights of climate change at the Human Rights Council.

My second trend is other risks to peace from rising authoritarianism, political conflict and the risk of big war.

There is a lot of peace in the world for which to give thanks. Billions of people live in largely peaceful societies. This is a great blessing but not a given.

Our times are politically exciting because the world is experiencing a major shift in global power.

The power of Western states and Russia is now profoundly challenged by the rise of other major powers, like China and India, and important “middle powers” across Asia, Africa and Latin America.

There is justice in this shift. Many countries who had previously been colonized, exploited or humiliated by Western empires are taking their rightful place in international society again. The world is now “polycentric” or “multipolar” and is no longer controlled largely by one power.

But this return to an age of “great powers” carries serious risks for world peace.

Great power competition is intense today. After a period exploring cooperation, China and the USA are now “decoupling” economically, digitally and politically. They are becoming political and military enemies even as they still trade together and engage on global challenges like climate and health.

The risk of “big war” that sees major powers like the US, China, Russia, India and Europe deploying the full forces of their enormous weaponry is real again. This would be catastrophic with levels of death and destruction we have not seen since the 20th century.

Big war is even bigger now. It has expanded from three traditional “domains” of land, sea and air combat into three new domains: outer space, cyber space and information space.

Each of these new “domains” sees great powers competing over new global commons in outer space and digital space. Justice urgently needs to decide how best these spaces are shared for the common good.

We can expect outer space – religiously envisaged as the heavens – to become a major place of war. It is already because terrestrial warfare is controlled from satellites in outer space and weapons are fired at earth through outer space. In the next ten years, weapons will also be fired from earth at satellites, and in outer space between space ships.

Warfare is changing from the age of industrial warfare to a new era of computerized warfare, driven by artificial intelligence, autonomous weapons and the internet.

AI poses big new questions for justice. “Warbots” are no longer simple weapons in the hands of individual humans, but are increasingly non-human combatants making decisions for themselves.

Cyberwarfare would see devastating attacks against digital systems that control a nation’s energy, banking, health and logistics services, so “crashing” whole societies. Here too, new rules of justice are urgently needed. These attacks may see less bodies and buildings blown apart but will cause chaos, impoverishment, hunger and sickness.

Great powers are preparing for big war – largely in the newly labelled “Indo-Pacific” – but avoiding it so far, preferring instead “sub-threshold warfare” in which they undermine each other with disinformation and cyberattacks.

Alongside the uncertain risk of big war, there are three certain threats to peace: extreme authoritarianism, extreme capitalism and political violence.

Authoritarian government and capitalist competition is rising around the world, and the new great power contest is being shaped as a contest of values between authoritarianism and democracy, with China and Russia leading for authoritarianism and the US and Europe for democracy.

Authoritarian government can create social order which is sometimes better for people to live in than the violent anarchy that can follow it, as many people have discovered in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

But extreme authoritarianism is intolerable, and every authoritarian regime inflicts extreme suffering on certain groups.

There is a long Christian tradition of resisting tyranny, and resistance to authoritarian governments will continue to be a necessary and courageous part of working for justice and peace in many countries in the next ten years, as it was in the dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s.

Extreme capitalism must also be resisted. Many of you have been bravely engaged in resistance to destructive capitalist greed for years. Unregulated greed will increase wherever governments and companies pursue unjust adaptation in climate transition, which protects them but gravely damages other people and the planet.

Dominicans need to continue to challenge unjust capitalism.

War is not the most common or most deadly form of organized violence today. Political violence kills more people than war and it is growing all around the world.

Where governments are weak and corrupt, the gun is used to assert commercial and political control by gangs and mafias. Millions of people in countries like Honduras and Nigeria are dominated by political violence, which dictates power and authority around them.

Living in the middle of political violence, and finding ways to resist it, is extremely difficult but Dominicans must stay close to those who endure this.

A third big trend is the huge expansion of virtual lives. Billions of people today live simultaneously in physical space and virtual space. We are doing so now!

We have digital bodies and data doubles.

Much that is humanly important happens digitally today in our virtual lives. We meet each other virtually and show our love for one another digitally. We work and socialize virtually. This human contact is real and meaningful, just as letters, phone calls and printed photographs were also real.

We are also increasingly governed virtually through our data double – a digital avatar that shows who we are in a virtual trail of data on location, health, education, income, preferences and contacts.

Our digital body can encounter everything that is human, including: love, compassion, help and liberation; but also hatred, deceit and oppression.

The pandemic has shown how living in this second world can improve our lives in myriad ways. But, if we are poor, we can be excluded from this virtual world. And, for all of us, it is also a world of danger. We can be robbed, hated, attacked and cancelled in virtual space.

This means that justice and peace must be championed in virtual space too. We cannot avoid this second world because so much of human importance is happening there.

Dominican work and values must be alive and recognizable in virtual space. God wants “another me” wherever people are living digitally today.

How should we work?

I do not know enough about Dominicans in action to say much about this. I have not yet seen how you “do the word” in different places around the world. So, I will just share some thoughts.

It seems to me that the Dominicans have two great advantages as a movement for justice and peace today.

First, you are not specifically western or eastern, southern or northern. You are multipolar like today’s political world.

You are everywhere and work with the hearts and hands of people from all civilizations. In Dominicans, God finds “another me” in every culture, language and political system of the world.

This is incredibly precious.

Secondly, you are “another me” in explicitly female and male forms as sisters, friars and lay people. This seems so important because it embodies the truth that both women and men are seeking justice and peace.

This commitment to both sexes preaches powerfully to the patriarchy that still dominates and distorts so much of the world.

I was also struck by St Catherine’s emphasis that “infinite sorrow” should be our primary reaction to sin and injustice.

This contrasts dramatically with today’s championing of “outrage” and its subsequent division, censure and cancelling that leaves no space for a change of heart, forgiveness and reconciliation.

When Dominicans express sorrow in the face of the injustice, they recognize our common failings and encourage positive change and mutual cooperation in the building of justice and peace.

Like Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the weeds, we are unwise to try to rip out and destroy everything bad within us and around us because ripping and cancelling will damage what is good in others, in ourselves, and in systems we need to change.

Growing good things, sharing God’s love and encouraging forgiveness is better than weeding and destroying when we are championing justice and peace.

I also think that Dominicans must be ready to work openly and in secret, just as Jesus did.

Working for justice and peace can often be done publicly, but sometimes resistance and creative peacemaking are best done in secret.

Finally, I think it is important for Dominicans to be propositional in justice and peace. You must preach the truth of injustice – how it works and who it hurts – and also preach suggestions for what can be done practically now and over time.

As you encourage others to be “doers of the word”, you need to suggest things they should do.

This, of course, is the hard part, which I now leave for you all to solve in the rest of your week together!

To view this talk on YouTube, please click here.



Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

United Nations Climate Conference of the Parties

Blog by Associate Judy Hardy

The 26th United Nations Climate Conference of the Parties (COPS) is being held in Glasgow, Scotland from October 31st through November 12th.

At this meeting, we pray that our world leaders will have the wisdom and courage to address climate change, that those in power make courageous changes to laws and policies to lessen the damage to the earth and that they will do everything in their power to protect the environment as serving as stewards of the earth is a moral duty.



Our Prayer for COP26

Lord, our planetary home is hurting
due to global warming and climate change.

Lord, grant us the wisdom to care for the earth.
Help us to act now for the good of future generations
and all your creatures.

Help us to become instruments of a new creation,
founded on the covenant of your love.



Please join the Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates as we pray throughout the 13 days of COP26:

  • October 31st – We pray that many persons will read and share the messages of Laudato Si’
  • November 1st – We pray that all people recognize that each of us has a responsibility to do our part to reverse climate change.
  • November 2nd – We pray for a greater use of renewable energy.
  • November 3rd – We pray for legislators to enact laws that ensure clean water and air especially the release of methane gas
  • November 4th – We pray for the protection of the Amazon Rain Forest and the African forests and the reduction/cessation of logging in these and other woodlands
  • November 5th – We pray that the lands and customs of indigenous peoples be respected and protected
  • November 6th –  We pray that the works of eco-martyrs Sr. Dorothy Stang, SND, Jairo Mora Sandoval and others has not been in vain and that others may be inspired/motivated by their efforts.
  • November 7th – We pray for the reduction and removal of plastics in our oceans, lakes and rivers that threaten aquatic life.
  • November 8th – We pray for safe environments for birds, butterflies, moths, bees and other pollinators necessary for crop production
  • November 9th – We pray for people who live in poverty who most often must live in areas that are subjected to contaminated air, water or land.
  • November 10th – We pray for those experimenting with ways to reduce our carbon footprint
  • November 11th – We pray all God’s creatures and especially for those species of plants and animals that are threatened with extinction
  • November 12th – We pray that the U.S. Catholic bishops to write a public letter to the faithful supporting the urgency for action to fight man-made climate change.


Here are some additional petitions for this period of contemplation and negotiation for world leaders.

  • We pray that we can accept the challenges of cleaning up our rivers, lakes, and oceans.
  • We pray for the many people living on land that will be lost due to rising waters.
  • We pray that the areas of our country suffering from drought will receive the rain they need.
  • We pray that the generous harvests many are experiencing will be shared with those in need.
  • We pray that abandoned oil and gas wells that leak methane and contaminate groundwater, exacerbating climate change and causing health issues, be cleaned. We welcome the 120,000 jobs this effort would create.
  • We pray that companies will find ways to reduce the use of plastics in their products.

Click here to download a PDF of these special prayers.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog