In March 1836 the first Sisters of St. Joseph arrived in the United States from France. They migrated here in response to the needs of the time. One can only imagine what it was like for them, as for other migrants, to leave family, home, culture, all that was known and step into life in a foreign land.
177 years later, the Sisters of St. Joseph are ministering across the United States continuing to attend to the unmet needs of the times, work for systemic change on the local, national and global levels.
Our meeting opened tonight with sisters, associates and partners in mission from across the United States. The opening prayer focused us on Psalm 72 which begins: Bring justice to the peoples, O Beloved, and your mercy to all generations! May the people be known for mercy, rendering justice to the poor. Let their spirits soar as the eagle; let joy abide in every heart! May You heed the cry of the poor ! the young and the old, setting free all those in need, melting the hearts of the oppressors!
Next Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director, NETWORK, a Catholic Social Justice Lobby introduced the plan for tomorrow and Friday. She said, “rooted in your mission and vision, there will be time to pray, have conversation, listen deeply, be quiet, and integrate your contemplative selves with your active selves.”
Patty Johnson, CSJ, Executive Director, CSSJ Federation, provided her report reiterating the importance for each one of us to play a role in crafting corporate statements, discussing our work with our leadership including our interest in being on the planning team for the Federation 2016 Event in Florida. Having just concluded her second year as Executive Director, Patty noted the importance of the Federation website, the need for the Justice and Peace Personnel to be contribute content and photos for the website highlighting justice issues. The use of technology continues to expand and will soon include live streaming of events across the Federation. We can expect to hear more about this in the coming months.
Marianne Sennick and Griselda Martinez-Morelos
The evening concluded with reports from Marianne Sennick and Griselda Martinez-Morelos, who represent the Congregations of St. Joseph at the United Nations.
Marianne Sennick serves as Alternate ECOSOC (United Nations Economic and Social Counsel) Representative. She reported on: UN Commission on the Status of Women, Model United Nations, Permanent Forum on Indigenous People, and CEDAW (Convention to End All forms of Discrimination against Women). She concluded saying: RIO + 20 “in its outcome document ‘The Future We Want” states that three dimensions of sustainable development: environmental, economic, and social must be integrated into the UN system post 2015 and create sustainable development goals. The ECOSOC High level forum and the UN Development Cooperation Forum, held in July 2014 will focus on providing additional resources, public and private, domestic and international to achieve the goals of poverty eradication and the challenges of climate change and other global concerns.”
Griselda Marinez-Morelos, CSSJ Federation NGO (Non-Governmental) Representative to the United Nations concluded the evening by providing a glimpse into her global work during the past 12 months: A tremendous highlight was hosting eight young women students from Mexico for the UN Women’s Conference. She also: attended the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Conference in Bolivia, which included 21 congregations and 27 nationalities; met with the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in South America shared with them that the critical message that education as a springboard for justice globally.
Posted by: Ginger K. Hedstrom, Justice Associate