Every month, one of our Sisters or Associates writes a reflection on a topic related to social justice. We welcome you to read and reflect on these essays, contemplating your own thoughts on these important issues of our day.
Several weeks after the Sisters of Loretto refused last July to allow the Bluegrass Pipeline Company to cross the 800 acres of land they have loved for 200 years with a huge hazardous liquids pipeline, they became aware that they did not want to spend all of their energy being AGAINST this pipeline, AGAINST fracking, AGAINST tar sands oil production and the Keystone XL pipeline. They also wanted to tell the world what they are FOR regarding energy sources for the future.
It has been two years since President Obama determined that there was not enough research completed about the Keystone XL pipeline for him to make a decision to allow the project to cross the international border between Canada and the U.S., and ordered the State Department to re-examine if the pipeline is in our national interest. This report is scheduled to be released by the end of 2013, followed by three months of public comment on the study. In the President's climate speech this past summer he said "the net effects of the pipeline's impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward."
As recent as December 23, 2013, TransCanada Corp. Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling said he is "very confident" the controversial Keystone XL pipeline will be approved by President Barack Obama.
Where did he worship? How did he pray? To which God he did cry from his prison cell on Robbins Island When he was tortured, beaten, torn in two by apartheid hate? What was the faith of Mandela?
Did he pray to Jesus? What about Buddha? Where were Moses and Mohammed... ...when this son of Africa, this sun shining in the darkness of white hate was starving, forgotten, forsaken, and left for dead?
I only know what Mandela did. He saved the soul of South Africa. He saved his people. He refused to leave jail when his brothers and sisters were rotting there, when they had been executed, tortured – like him – and thrown into the trash heap of hate. He saved me.
Sixteen sisters representing 13 religious congregations came from across the country to meet in Washington, DC, September 17-18, 2013. It was the second meeting of US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking (USCSAHT), and my first. I glanced around the room, still a little humbled by the privilege of being present. I was the only Dominican Sister at this core group that is beginning to shape the direction of a newly launched organization called forth by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and I was glad that the Dominican Sisters and Associates of Peace have a seat at this table. Our corporate stance against human trafficking continues to become a living document.
In interpersonal relationships, even with close friends, most of us at some time have felt angry, hurt or distanced from someone who has misunderstood what we have said or done, or who has failed to acknowledge our assistance. You may have experienced a defensive reaction when you attempted to talk about a hurt, which resulted in can be called I'm Sorry, The New Blame Game, presented in an article written by Sharon Strand Ellison.
There is an authentic way to apologize that is not defensive, that does not engage in blaming, does no harm, and thus is peace-promoting. With a healthy or authentic apology, we can state clearly what we did that was disrespectful or inconsiderate without:
I walk a few steps behind them, inching forward, hoping at some point to walk side by side. I cannot walk in their shoes. I haven't had anyone I love murdered. Thank God.
As a member of the Central Ohio Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children/Homicide Victims/Survivors, I recently attended the National POMC Conference held in Cincinnati, Ohio. Name badges identified the participants as parent, sibling, grandparent, and other relationships to those murdered. My badge had the designation "friend."
In this time of struggle for immigration reform, the story of Beti illustrates the challenges many undocumented immigrants face in efforts to save their lives or reunite with family.
Beti was born in 1992 in Guatemala to a very ordinary family. Their country was in the midst of a civil war in which the military, trained by School of the Americas graduates, were slaughtering or disappearing whole villages. When she was one and a half her father escaped after given the choice to fight with the gorillas or be killed. He made his way to the U.S. but did not have the money to file for political asylum.
When she was seven her mother left Beti with grandparents and came to join her husband.
"It is what it is." This tautology has become a part of present-day commonspeak, meaning, it's happened, it's the situation, there's nothing to be done. This ubiquitous expression rises from the conventional imagination, the ideas and expectations that we take for granted in our civil societies and settled worlds. "That's the way the system works, the way of the world. Get used to it. Nothing ever changes. Nobody listens. What's the use of trying? You can't fight City Hall - or Wall Street."