Glocal = Global + Local

It’s been two weeks since our gathering at the 2014 JPIC US Federation Meeting. I must say that the stillness that comes after a huge event like that is quite refreshing. However, sentiments of sadness also spring forth as memories of the new friendships formed, laughter shared, and stories exchanged also resurface. I am so blessed with all of this and look forward to sharing this with all of you bloggers!

So what does “GLOCAL” have to do with it?

All of us who attended the JPIC meeting have adopted this oddly intriguing word from Carol Zinn who adopted it from the United Nations.

GLOCAL= Global + Local

This mathematical  function of addition  is used to concretely explain how “glocal”  is the sum of two separate words, “global” and “local”. The concept of addition is one that is not foreign to any of us. We have been taught since grade school to understand how two separate numbers, even those of vast difference, have the ability to be combined– directly affecting one another, and resulting in a sum that represents the combination of the original numbers. After no longer standing as separate integers, one cannot recognize solely from the new sum the distinct differences of the original two numbers.

Say for example if someone simply said to you, “the sum of two numbers is 10.” You would have no idea what those two numbers were because they could be a combination of many [two] numbers. i.e. 5+5, 9+1, 4+6….etc.

I was chemistry major and a mathematics lover so bear with me.

Why do I bring the logic of addition-based math into this? As simple as we know basic addition to be, we [as a society] have difficulty sometimes applying this theory and practice to our own lives, to our own worldviews, to our own practices….How so?

It seems that today we are obsessed with the idea of “what is mine is mine” and “what is yours is yours”. It seems that we are more interested in what makes “you and me” “different”, instead of what makes “you and me” the “same”. It seems that today our headlines are focused on “borders and barriers” and “us vs. them”. It seems that more and more we are only concerned with what is happening “locally” because it is here and “globally”, well that is “over there”. It seems that since the fall of the Berlin Wall, we still continue to build barriers that exclude everyone…everyone but ourselves.

We are more disconnected. More dis-concerned. And more unable and unwilling to see that like the simple logic of the addition of two numbers, WE [all] directly affect one another. Locally and globally. Here and there. Both us AND them. We, like combined integers [even those of vast difference], directly affect one another. We depend on the other to create a sum [a world] that when standing alone [or in our case when looked at as a whole], cannot tell what two numbers [or persons/things] create it.

I guess what I’m getting at and what Carol reflected on for those few days at the meeting, is that there is no “global” and “local” as two separate entities. There is no “us vs. them”. There is no “here” and “over there”. There are no “borders and barriers” that make us separate, different, or less or more than the other.

There isn’t ANY of this; because at the end of the day, we are one in the same. We are all human beings who attain the natural beauty of diversity. But what is not natural to us is the ugliness created by division. Yet, we move toward this…

We yearn for a more peaceful world. Yet, we are resistant to feeling anything for those who suffer in Syria, West Africa, and Ukraine among many other desolated countries. We are so quick to look at issues of poverty, hunger, gender inequality, racism, and disease as “global” issues affecting “other” nations. However, the reality is that these issues are present in our own lives and we play a role locally–contributing to these problems by our actions and through our silence.

Carol reminded all of us that what we do or do not do locally affects [all] globally. She reminded us that there is no separation between the two. She reminded us that we are all connected to one another, to the earth, and to the universe. Although it takes much time for all these dots to connect, for all the “simple” math-based logic to make sense, we have the ability to create this GLOCAL world. We have the ability to create the kind of world we all want– one with equality for all, one with justice for all, and one with peace.

Thanks for sticking with me until the end of the blog!

In Peace,
Jackie, SJW Justice Office Program Assistant

More pictures from the JPIC Meeting! Enjoy!

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Kick off to the 2014 JPIC Federation Meeting Blog Series!

“The Ministry of Justice”

My years in college were collectively the root of all new experiences. The best way I can describe my life prior to these years is a life lived in a comfortable and safe bubble. I was never blind to the presence of disparities in our world. I was never ignorant to the injustice that people experienced. I was never unaware that some people had more and others had less. However, until college, I did not understand the depth of it all. I did not understand that even in my small and comfortable bubble I thought was so safe, I was involved. I did not understand that I affected and in turn, was affected by acts of injustice that I once felt so disconnected from.

So how did college bring this new reality to light?

Well you see, I met a bunch of women. I met these women who introduced to more women like them. They were compassionate, and loving, and concerned, and generous, and forgiving, and kind, and compassionate, and loving, and….well you get the picture. The were [are] amazing. They founded Regis College [my college], in 1927 to meet “the urgent need of a Catholic college for women, offering the facilities and advantages of higher education to both resident and nonresident students.”

These women are the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston who trace their early foundations to 1650 Le Puy, France. In 1650, six sisters were brought together by Fr.Jean-Pierre Médaille, forming the first religious community that truly lived among the people. The sisters tended to their needs and to the needs of war-torn France in the 17th Century. They responded to the needs of the time, yes. But what set them apart in 1650 and what continues to set them apart [today] in 2014, is the charism that defines who they are, what they do, and how they do it. This charism speaks to reconciling and unifying where there is brokenness, striving for excellence, tempered by gentleness, being in right relationship with all of creation, serving the dear neighbor without distinction, promoting peace and joy, and living a life filled with justice. This is what I experienced when I met my very first Sister of St. Joseph years ago–a woman with a global heart. And after that, everything else I experienced in college was experienced through a new lens and in greater depth. It now made sense, and slowly I began to feel the connection I once could not feel to people, places, and all things that were ‘outside’ of my bubble. I knew then why I felt a stirring inside of me, a call, to travel to Jonestown, MS for two separate mission trips. I knew then why I instantly felt like I was at home and that I belonged to the people, city, and country of Villa El Salvador, Peru. I knew then why I felt an instant connection to the people and places that were foreign to me as I visited and traveled to Le puy and Lyon, France. I knew then why I wanted to be more involved on campus and throughout the greater community. I knew then why I chose to do a year of service as a St. Joseph Worker instead of immediately pursuing graduate school. I knew…I know…And it’s only the beginning.

This past week I was blessed to have this experience all over again. This time, truly being able to witness the charism that is intrinsic to all human beings, come alive in a room filled with 30 Sisters of St. Joseph and partners in mission who are directly involved in the ministry of Justice. The St. Paul Province hosted the 2014 Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) US Federation Meeting this past week themed: A Global Heart for the 21st Century. We had Sisters of St. Joseph and partners in mission from all over the country gather to share, reflect, and contemplate about what our charism is calling us to do in our work for Justice. Two individuals that were key to guiding us in this week-long conversation were Carol Zinn, SSJ and Sr. Justine Senapathi, CSJ UN NGO Representative.

How do we further our ministry of Justice?

This was a guiding question in many of our discussions. There was so much “stuff” that was discussed that couldn’t possibly fit into one blog. However, if there were a couple of words that could sum up the heart of our [almost] week-long meeting it would be: our charism. It is in our charism that the answer to this question lies. It is in our charism where we will find how not only to further our ministry of Justice but how to share it and sustain it even twenty or thirty years from now. It is in the charism from which we are called to act not for Justice but with Justice.

The Charism.

This is what drove the sisters to minister on the streets of war-torn France. This is what drove the sisters to open schools and hospitals all throughout the country and throughout the world. This is what drives even non-vowed religious members to work in Sisters of St. Joseph sponsored ministries. This is what allowed my world to connect, finally making sense, four years ago.

Carol Zinn, outgoing president of LCWR and former CSJ UN NGO representative, spoke so effortlessly, acknowledging the call–seeing the work of Justice as a complement to the call that the charism sends forth in all of us. She spoke of the value of “how” instead of “what”–that it is not ‘what’ work of Justice we are doing that is important, rather it is ‘how’ we are going about the work that holds the value. Carol hit every note on key as she reminded all in the room that the ministry of Justice is not done through direct advocacy, systemic change, or direct service. Instead, it is done by living the gospel message, through the lens of the mission and charism in which the sisters were founded.

If none of this makes sense right now, do not fear because that’s really how I felt when all of this was first being consumed. However, after days of reflection, contemplation, more reflection, and more contemplation, it has come full circle. And my world feels a little bit more connected. My world makes a little more sense. So this is the start of our blog series on the 2014 JPIC US Federation experience. Follow us on this journey as we continue to reflect on the Global Heart and what we are being called to do as pioneers of Justice

In Peace,
Jackie Salas, SJW Justice Office Program Assistant

Enjoy a couple of pictures from the meeting!

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