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

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

Food Justice at St. Catherine University

In September, the Justice Commission agreed to co-sponsor the first St. Kate’s Food Week. This quickly planned collaboration resulted in over 30 events in one week all focusing on the injustices that surround food. That week spurred into a Food Justice movement on campus and has now been formalized into the Food Justice Coalition.

Two student organizers have led the charge at St. Catherine University in hopes of creating a greater sense of community on campus, engaging community members in action for justice, and producing a more socially just campus.  Cirien Saadeh and Liesl Wolf have poured time and energy into this effort, along with being busy students as well! On May 8th they had the chance to celebrate the progress of this year and publicly announce the Food Justice Coalition.

The Food Justice Coalition will serve as an organizing force of the Food Justice Movement. Individuals and groups will work in committees focused on key issues (currently they are Awareness & Outreach, Dining Services: Relations & Contract and a Community Garden). A Leadership Board will hold the big picture of the movement and coordinate the efforts of the task groups. The Food Justice Coalition is opened to “anyone and everyone committed to food justice at St. Catherine University.” I am impressed with the commitment to fostering student leadership within the Food Justice Coalition and the commitment to the values of St. Kate’s and the CSJ community. I am very excited to see how this will move forward.

If you are interested in learning more about the Food Justice Coalition at St. Catherine University, please contact Liesl Wolf at lwolf@stkate.edu or me at emfairbairn@gmail.com.

-Elizabeth Fairbairn, St. Joseph Worker & Justice Office Program Assistant

Bread & Roses

Last Thursday marked the 100th anniversary of the Bread & Roses Strike (also known at the 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike) in Lawrence, MA. The story is a reminder of both the power of the collective and women leadership.
On January 12, 1912, Polish women weavers at Everett Cotton Mills realized their pay had been cut after the state decreased the work week for women. 10,000 women left the mill and went on strike. The number of protesters involved grew to 25,000 within a week — involving almost every mill in the area.
The two-month long strike was ground-breaking as it was comprised of immigrant, largely female and ethnically divided workers — defying American Federation of Labor’s assumption that such a group could not be organized. The diverse group proved their strength and innovation in the creation of the first moving picket line to circumvent loitering laws.
After two months of persistence, the strike was settled on terms generally favorable to the workers. They won pay increases, time-and-a-quarter for overtime, and a promise of no discrimination against strikers.
Since the early 1970s, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates have had a justice concerned group “Bread & Roses” inspired by the women of this protest. As with many protests of this time period, think suffrage movement, the persistence and courage of those fighting for justice is humbling and inspiring. Workers’ rights and fair wage issues are still prevalent in our world 100 years later. May this anniversary re-light our passion for such justice.
The below poem was later connected to the 1912 protest, giving it the title “Bread & Roses”
As we come marching, marching, in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill-lofts gray
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing, “Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses”
As we come marching, marching, we battle, too, for men–
For they are women’s children and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes–
Hearts starve as well as bodies: Give us Bread, but give us Roses!
As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient song of Bread;
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew–
Yes, bread we fight for–but we fight for Roses, too.
As we come marching, marching, we bring the Greater Days–
The rising of the women means the rising of the race–
No more the drudge and idler–ten that toil where one reposes–
But sharing of life’s glories: Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses!
-James Oppenheim, 1911 American Magazine
-Elizabeth Fairbairn, St. Joseph Worker & Justice Office Intern