“Lord, make me a means of your peace.”

A statement from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Paul, regarding the Orlando shooting:

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Paul Province, express deep sadness at the news of the killings of so many individuals during the tragic shooting in the Orlando nightclub.

We join Pope Francis, President Obama and church and civil leaders worldwide in expressing “the deepest feelings of horror and condemnation, of pain and turmoil before this new manifestation of homicidal folly and senseless hatred.” (Vatican Spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi)

We extend prayers and heartfelt sorrow to the families of all those who were killed and injured as well as to all involved first responders and medical personnel and to the people of Orlando.

We weep with you and mourn with you and join the network of those praying with and for you around our country and world. We realize ever more deeply the need to acknowledge the need for stricter gun control and the need to confront bigotry in any form among the people of God.

May the God of love, mercy and grace comfort all who mourn and grieve. May our faith strengthen us and our hope give us new resolve to work untiringly to bring the justice, peace, freedom, equality and non-violence for which our Redeemer died.

“Lord, make me a means of your peace.”

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet
St. Paul Province

Knowing that Jesus Welcomed Everyone to the Table – from June 2015

“We can make something good out of this:” A call to Resurrection

Tragedy provokes us. It lifts us from the places where we no longer can sit within complacency; it forces us to reassess our direction in life. We have heard, a million times, that tragedy brings people together. From my writing research, trying to resolve conflicts between characters, I have learned this togetherness often comes with the recognition of a common enemy, one which is greater than previous divisions. Now, in the light of the violence this past Holy week, I would like to ask: who is the ‘common enemy,’ and how should we respond to them?

Christians are called to live out these instructions in Heb. 13:1-3:

Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you are also in the body.

There are no stipulations on this reading. Paul does not say “remember those who are imprisoned unjustly,” or “only show hospitality to those strangers who look and act like you and cause you no discomfort.” This is a difficult reading in theory, and it is even more difficult in practice. How can we truly love our enemies? On a global scale, is it possible to despise the systems that encourage radicalization without despising radical groups and individuals? More simply put, can we hate terrorism without hating terrorists? How can we love God and the dear neighbor without distinction when others seem determined to do the distinguishing for us?

I have to admit that I raise these questions without having a single answer to them – except, maybe, to have faith. By this I do not mean to prescribe inaction, or the assumption that God will take care of things so that we do not have to. On the contrary, it is only through us that God can work. One of the beautiful things about God is that God is the ultimate spin doctor. I think we can pretty well agree that not everything that happens in this world is good. And it is pretty well established in theological studies that God does not simply cause bad things to happen as a part of some ineffable plan to punish the wicked and save the righteous (Job, anyone?)  Not everything happens for a reason. But we can trust that God will create reason for everything that happens.

A small scale example: A few years ago I lost my job. Now, I absolutely do not believe that God caused me to lose my job, or that losing my job was part of some divine plan to put me on a different track. Similarly, I do not believe that God causes death and destruction in order to bring about some greater glory. But after the fact, God can be found in the midst of the mess, tools in hand, saying “we can make something good out of this.” God’s agency is known when we move from the point of tragedy, no matter how large or small, to trust that something good can be made from the ashes of what was.

We are an Easter people, a people of resurrection.  By the reality of our rising, all divisions between us cease. A common enemy brings us together only long enough to define who is “us” and who is “them.” God brings us together when our common factor is love, not hate. Together, we can make all things new.


Written by Elea Ingman, SJW
Program Assistant in the Justice Office

Breaking the Impasse: Meeting SDG #16

SDG #16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals were established to achieve a wide variety of targets by 2030 by providing access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

As Megan Bender, Justice Associate wrote in her December 4, 2015 blogpost, “The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals highlight the unmet needs of our time, and the steps to take in achieving them.”

The charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph calls us to be “moving always toward profound love of God and neighbor without distinction” while SDG #16 Target 7 calls us to “Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels.”

Since 1999, the Legislative Advocacy Partners Working Group of the Justice Commission, the Myser Initiative on Catholic Identity at St. Catherine University and NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby have partnered to offer BREAKING THE IMPASSE with Sister Simone Campbell.

February 23, 7:00 -9:00 p.m. we will present BREAKING THE IMPASSE VII: Call to Bridge the Divide featuring Sister Simone and Dr. Fatma Reda, a member of the executive board of the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition (JRLC). Dr. Reda speaks widely on Islam and is a third level Mureedah (female seeker) in the Naqshabandi Sufi order.

I have long held the belief that in order for us to succeed locally, nationally and globally we need to be able to deeply and respectfully listen to each other, then, recognizing that it takes all of us to find the best possible solution, work together for a more just world today.

From my perspective SDG#16 is a “call to bridge the divides.


Ginger K. Hedstrom, Justice Coordinator

Investing to Make a Difference

wim cri logo

Last night, Joänne Tromiczak-Neid, Justice Coordinator and I attended the 40th Anniversary of wim cri: Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota Coalition for Responsible Investment at the Marquette University Alumni Memorial Union in Milwaukee.  While Joänne has been working with wim-cri for over 20 years, my role the past six years has been more peripheral.  I came knowing I had a lot to learn!

First of all the event was hosted by the Marquette University Center for Supply Chain Management.  I did some research before the event to ground me in their work.  As I read about the complexity of supply chains, I soon realized that my first exposure was in the late 1970s when the toy company I worked for sent raw materials, equipment and technical design patterns to a factory in Haiti where some of our products were being “assembled.”  Before I went on a quality control trip to this factory in Haiti, I was enthused by our work there.  Upon arrival, my perception changed immediately when I recognized that we were literally using the Haitian people (almost exclusively women) to further our needs by reducing our costs and therefore our prices, giving our products an edge in the marketplace. At that time we did not have the language of supply chain management, I only knew I did not like what we were doing!

In 1973 while the Vietnam War was being waged and a surge in the manufacture of nuclear weapons was underway, several Capuchin Friars from the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph in Milwaukee went to Washington D. C. seeking a more peaceful world.  While there they came to the realization that business and the economy were central to their quest.  The outcome of that trip was the formation of the Corporate Responsibility Action Group (CRAG), the precursor to wim-cri.   Founding members were:  Michael H. Crosby, OFM Cap, Charlita Foxhaven, SSSF and Alphonsa Puls, SSSF (School Sisters of St. Francis).  They set to the work of inviting other religious communities to join them in their quest and connected with the recently formed Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR).

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Saint Paul Province have been active leaders in wim-cri for over 20 years during which shareholder resolutions have been filed on tobacco, worker’s rights, health care, corporate transparency, affordable prescription medications and ongoing successful dialog with Xcel Energy. 

Founders Awards honoring their vision and commitment to mission were presented to Mike Crosby, OFM Cap, Clarita Foxhoven, SSSF and posthumously to Alphonsa Puls, SSSF.

Tim Dewane, Shalom – Justice, Peace, & Integrity of Creation, School Sisters of Notre Dame, Central Pacific Province moderated a panel dialog that included Terry Nadeau, Global Vice President of Procurement, Johnson Controls, Inc.; Robin Jaffin, Director of Global Supply Programs Verité; Rev. David Schilling, Project Director, ICCR and Dr. Douglas Fisher, Director, Center for Supply Chain Management, Marquette University delving into the complexities of supply chain sustainability and sourcing responsibility.

Tim concluded with this reflection:

From A Reflection on the Vocation of the Business Leader (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace)

Good business decisions are those rooted in principles at the foundational level, such as respect for human dignity and service to the common good, and a vision of a business as a community of persons. Principles on the practical level keep the business leader focused on:

  • producing goods and services that meet genuine human needs while taking responsibility for the social and environmental costs of production, of the supply chain and distribution chain (serving the common good, and watching for opportunities to serve the poor);
  • organizing productive and meaningful work recognizing the human dignity of employees and their right and duty to flourish in their work, (“work is for man” rather than “man for work”) and structuring workplaces with subsidiarity that designs, equips and trusts employees to do their best work; and
  • using resources wisely to create both profit and well-being, to produce sustainable wealth and to distribute it justly (a just wage for employees, just prices for customers and suppliers, just taxes for the community, and just returns for owners).

Posted by:  Ginger K. Hedstrom, Justice Associate


May 5 – 6, 2913

Hamline University Anderson Center, Room 111, 774 Snelling Avenue, Saint Paul

This conference featuring Chris Mato Nunpa, PhD is a direct response to the resolutions passed earlier this year by the City Councils of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

Nunpa has been a major force in promoting the need for remembrance, honoring and truth-telling.  The conference will also include a panel on the Treaty of 1805; an Elders Panel; and an Upstanders Panel discussing how non-indigenous and non-Dakota allies and supporters can help.

This Conference is yet another opportunity to be part of 2013 The Year of the Dakota:  Remembeiring, Honoring and Truth Telling.

Read article published in Indian Country Today about the passage of the resolutions.

Minnesota History Center Exhibit The U. S. Dakota War of 1862

The Nobel Peace Prize Forum is an annual event bringing together Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, civic leaders, and scholars together with students and other citizens in an effort to engage peacemaking efforts around the world. The 2012 Forum used a variety of mediums and topics, ranging from “The Ethics of Hip Hop” to an address by Nobel Laureate F.W. de Klerk.
I attended the “Business Day” of the forum at the beginning of this month and was pleasantly surprised by the continual emphasis on the need for the private sector to be involved if peace can prevail on earth. The day was filled with a variety of interests from the private sector epresenting the large field it is– renewable energy, microenterprise and entrepreneurs, agriculture and food industry, chambers of commerce, economics, etc.
I greatly appreciated all the presentations I attended throughout the day, but the final keynote speaker was astonishing. Saki Macozoma served time on Robben Island during Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment and was a business leader throughout the ending of apartheid. He spoke of the South African private sector’s collective involvement that kept the debating factions at the table during the ending of apartheid, and the business community’s involvement presently to help decrease unemployment. The key to his presentation was that the South African business community recognizes the benefits from social reform and high quality of life. This is a revolutionary concept. If the worldwide business community supported and understood this we could have a radically different world–one where corporate power could be a term of social change, not greed and corruption.
May peacemaking prevail on earth, and may all of us play a role,
Elizabeth Fairbairn, St. Joseph Worker & Justice Office Intern
For a schedule of the Business Day click here.
Please click here for the video archive of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize Forum.