An American House

On Wednesday, April 13th from 6:30-8pm we are blessed to be hosting a collaboration with St. Catherine University (SCU)’s Multicultural and International Programs and Services Office and Campus Ministry to bring the film An American House to Minnesota. The event will be held in Jeanne D’Arc Auditorium in Whitby Hall at SCU. Filmmaker, Chris Trani will also be journeying from Chicago to offer a unique commentary as one of the originators of the project, alongside our very own Immigration Task Group member, Amanda Steepleton. Amanda is featured in the film and eloquently speaks to her work at Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas. Their wisdom is not to be missed.

The film documents the work of Annunciation House and its guests. In the life-giving spirit of solidarity, Annunciation House  accompanies the migrant, homeless, and economically vulnerable peoples of the border region through hospitality, advocacy and education. In the trailer, the Director of Annunciation House, Ruben Garcia urges that:

“How we resolve the immigration issue is going to define us as a people and as a country.”

Through the raw materials of the lives we live, we are reminded that the metaphorical and even quite physical shelters we build to welcome the dear neighbor are an act of compassion that transcends borders. Please join us in community to learn more about the work of Annunciation House, and from justice-makers on how we can continue to work for just and human immigration reform.


This post was written by Megan Bender, Justice Associate

Joint Religioius Legislative Coalition (JRLC) Day on the Hill 2014

Once again the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates are among the four Lead Sponsors for the JRLC Day on the Hill.  JRLC and the Sisters of St. Joseph have long collaborated on a variety of issues that affect the marginalized among us. Once again the Justice Office is hosting the Sisters of St. Joseph display table with information available representing a variety of departments, including a our Justice Commission 2014 Upcoming Events and websites bookmark which remains the number one take-away from our table.

Many also come to hear about how a sister is now doing, ask if we know a sister, and so on.  So here are a few of the JRLC Pearls so far this morning:

~~ I just wanted to stop by and congratulate the sisters on National Catholic Sisters Week

~~ How do you say that any way, is it Carondelet (let) or Carondelet (lay).  Will I ever remember it is Carondelet (let)?

~~ Will Sister Gina be here today?

~~I hope Sister John Christine will be here. ~~ I just had to stop and say that Sister Mary Heinen was from my district.  I can hardly believe she has passed.  She was such a knowledgeable and inspiring woman.  I especially miss her here today!

~~ Do you offer social justice retreats?

~~ Do you happen to now where Anika Walz is now?

~~ I don’t suppose you know Sister Althea? I know her from retreats and workshops we have shared.

~~ Did you ever know Sister Carmella who started the school patrol?  I am her nephew.

~~ Wisdom Ways is fabulous.  I have been attending their offerings for years.  Their retreats, events and offerings are always fabulous.

~~ I feel so hopeful after hearing about what you are doing on so many fronts.  I could go home right now and the day would be a success.

All this by the time I started writing this blog at 9:30!
As the morning continues…
~~ A woman just dashed up … grabbed the bookmark and enthusiastically said, “I JUST LOVE THE SISTERS!!”
~~I mentioned to a Rochester Franciscan how thrilled I am that they are hosting Rev. Daniel G. Groody, C.S.C. Director of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame in April. She said she was not signed up and asked if she should be. I suggested it would be very worth her while and important for the passage of immigration reform. She said “I will when I get back today!”
~~ “How is Sister Char Madigan? We traveled the state educating people on the reality of domestic violence. She was the Catholic and I was the Lutheran! Will you please greet her for me?”


Posted by Ginger K. Hedstrom, Justice Associate

Lead Sponsors: JRLC Day on the Hill

“Change Begins With Us!”

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates are again “Lead Sponsors” of the JRLC (Joint Religious Legislative Coalition) Day on the Hill.  It is a powerful and potent day of  “interfaith advocacy for social justice” that again includes over 800 representatives of all 67 Minnesota Legislative Districts.

Dr. Sayyid Syeed, National Director, Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances, Islamic Society of North America is presenting the keynote speech after which we will hear from Patrice Critchley-Menor, Diocese of Duluth regarding “Building our Coalitions.”

The issue briefings this year are: 

Family Economic Security Act          Human Trafficking

Budget Priorities and Taxes              Homes for All       Impartial Judiciary

At 11:45 the 2013 Lawrence D. Gibson Interfaith Social Justice Award will be presented to Governor Albert H. Quie and the 2013 Interfaith Social Justice Organization Award will be presented to Downtown Congregations to End Homelessness, Minneapolis

This afternoon affords participants the opportunity to meet with their legislators to bring the 2013 issues of the JRLC to their attention, encourage their support and leadership.

Part of being at the JRLC Day on the Hill is the opportunity to network with others, to connect with colleagues, hear from powerful leaders and get energized to continue to work of “collecting the power for mission (CSJ Acts of Chapter 2001).”

Our CSJ Table provided people with a bookmark highlighting our March events, including Breaking the Impasse IV with Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director, NETWORK, A Catholic Social Justice Lobby and Nan Madden, Director, Minnesota Budget Project; 11th Day Prayer for Peace, March 11 “International Women’s Day” which is being planned with St. Catherine University Multi-Cultural and International Programs, Campus Ministry and the Women’s Center; and a list of CSJ ministries with websites.  In addition, CSJ offered gifts of “Hooked by the Spirit,” the life story of Rita Steinhagen, CSJ and “In Search of the Divine: Immigration” (ISD) to visitors our table.

Having immigration as the topic of the newest ISD providing voice to three people who migrated to the United States and are now citizens, is powerful with Immigration Reform having more support than anytime since 1986.  The DVDs are now in the hands of high school students, high school teachers, parish leaders, the Minnesota Council of Churches and United Theological Seminary to name but a few. 

JRLC Day on the Hill is another example of the great non-partisan work that is critical to a healthy democracy.

Posted by:  Ginger K. Hedstrom, Justice Associate

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Imagining a Just Economy

Last Wednesday night, the Eliminating Poverty Task Group hosted “Imagining a Just Economy” facilitated by Carol Gariano, CSJ Consociate and Terin Mayer from TakeAction Minnesota.

The event was a success! It was a wonderful collaboration between two organizations, and an exploration into the possibilities of our world. The two hour agenda was full of engaging activities, I found two to be most valuable.

We were given a timeline of past economic policies and recognized different policies that have impacted us. As Terin reminded us several times, the economy is not like the weather–we, as a society, shape and affect our economic future.

The second activity was the actual imagining of a new economy–a just economy. We first discussed our envisioned purpose of the economy: to foster success, for all to recieve bread and roses, to emphasize economic & societal relationships, to name a few.

Next we discussed what needs to change for the proposed economy to exist. We walked through different aspects of society – government, work, banks…we could have gone all night through the different areas. We had both tangible ideas (ending corporate personhood; adjusting current political campaign system; creating a liveable wage; etc) and ideas that truly rock the boat (ending individualism; changing the definition of success; etc).

I left feeling hopeful while skeptical of how immense some of our ideas were. I also felt liberated in the ability to have this conversation and the recognition of our knowledge and power in the situation.

I was pleasantly surprised while reading the newspaper this past Sunday. A few of our proposed changes are already being tried and tested by individuals. There is hope for our society, and a great need for continued imagining.

Star Tribune articles regarding just economic strategies:

“Serving those with Smaller Nest Eggs”

Interested in continued work on creating a just economy and world? Check out the current events from the Justice Office of the Sisters of St. Joseph

-Elizabeth Fairbairn, St. Joseph Worker & Justice Office Intern

Homeless Memorial March

Last Thursday, the 27th Annual Minnesota Homeless Memorial March was held by Simpson Housing Services. We gathered at the Hennepin County Government Center and each picked up a sign with the name of a person who has died in the past year while experiencing homelessness, experienced homelessness in recent years, or was an advocate for the homeless. I marched for Jessie M. No other information was provided on the sign I chose–no knowledge of Jessie’s age, birth place, societal roles, passions, dreams–only a name.
Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater’s “Luna” was the leader of the silent march down Nicollette Avenue to 28th Street stretching several blocks long. After over an hour of quiet walking and reflecting down a busy street, we entered Simpson United Methodist Church for a Service of Remembrance.
The signs we carried were laid at the foot of the altar while beautiful music set the tone. The program began with a welcome from the pastor of Simpson Church, then was followed by an address from Sen. Jeff Hayden of District 61. The names of the remembered individuals were read and a candle lit for each person. When Jamie M’s name was read and candle lit, my heart fluttered. My only relationship with this person was holding out a name to be remembered, but that was enough of a relationship to feel the loss of life connected to an unjust system.
The most moving part of the service was an open microphone to share a memory. I was struck by the families who mourned the loss of brothers, parents and children. The deep relationships formed between social service workers and the people experiencing homelessness was clear–we are lucky to have such people supporting our community.
For many of the people remembered in the service, this was the only memorial service they would receive. This is not a perfect solution and the need for this type of service points to a deep injustice, but the silent march and Service of Remembrance filled a hole. It provided dignity and honor to a group so often left out.
As one of the organizers stated at the very beginning of the march–tonight is for remembering and reflection, tomorrow is for action. To learn about Simpson Housing’s legislative agenda for 2012 and what steps they’re taking towards action please click here.
If you’re interested in attending in the future, the march occurs on the nearest Thursday before the Winter Solstice.
-Elizabeth Fairbairn, St. Joseph Worker & Justice Office Intern