Dear Sisters and Associates,
During the February/March Executive Committee meeting, the Provinces and the Mission in Botswana were asked to share ways that they have brought life to our General Assembly 2013 Vision and Directives. Our hearts were filled with wonder and gratitude as we reflected on the energy, creativity and fidelity we saw in the reports.
Over the next four weeks we will share those reports. We invite you to take them to prayer, thanking our God for all that has been accomplished, imagining all our Sisters and Associates around the world who have given of themselves, and asking the Spirit to guide us to new places for the sake of the SCN Mission and the Gospel.
If you want to share any of your reflections about what you read over these four weeks, please email them to Brenda Gonzales, SCN (firstname.lastname@example.org) or mail them to her at P.O. Box 172, Nazareth, Ky 40048. On the fifth week, we will share those reflections with you as well.
At the General Assembly we sang over and over again, “You are the heart. You are the hands. You are the voice of Spirit on earth. And who you are and all you do is a blessing to the world.” Let us rejoice in the ways we have lived those words.
(For Sangeeta, Brenda, Adeline, Ann, Basanti, Kay, Philo, Sheela and Tonya)
- The Central Leadership Team attended the Energy Independence Myth workshop at Bellarmine University as part of the Festival of Faiths and Sustainable Religious Lands Committee. S. Susan was part of the team presenting the conference and led the prayer.
- Communicating/alerting Provinces and Missions about conferences, workshops, collaborative possibilities – Vatican II workshop in Bangalore.
- Attended the release of “An Energy Vision for the Heart of Kentucky’s Holy Land” statement developed by the SCNs, SLs, and OPs. S. Susan led the service. This was in conjunction with opposing the Bluegrass Pipeline.
- Reading and developing consciousness of the larger Church and world.
- S. Brenda hosted a gathering of several LCWR members to create a draft resolution (Transition to Renewable Energy Sources) for a national conference.
- Vincentian Family Gathering follow-up meeting – the Central Leadership Team met with others who attended to see how to connect with members of the Vincentian Family in the area.
- Investigating the companies from whom we are getting money from coal leases that have come to us as part of Sisters’ estates to determine if there is anything we need to do to challenge their business practices.
- Workshops were held throughout the Province to educate the Sisters on the Principles of Systemic Change by SCNs Sheela Palamoottil and Manisha Ashakathu.
- In our Social Action Centers in Delhi, Musunuru, Kerala, Gurgaon and Dharuhera, the Sisters are consciously using the principles learned to bring about systemic change wherever they are.
- All three Ministry Committees have provided education on systemic change to the Sisters to ensure they have a basic understanding on the subject. Fr. Chritudas was the resource person for the Health Ministry meeting and gave input on systemic change. Sr. Marianne gave input sessions for Sisters in Education Ministry and the Social Action Ministry Committee also had sessions for the Sisters in Social Ministry.
- To ensure “Systemic Change” is a cross-cutting theme for all our ministries, a module has been prepared by the Systemic Change Education Committee for the education of the membership in the Province, which will be conducted through workshops in five areas by this Committee during this year.
- Sr. Rosita’s work in Surkhet is a good example of systemic change with different groups of people.
- Our Sisters in social work are making efforts to follow the methods of systemic change for greater effectiveness in their work.
- Arunodaya, Patna and Deepanjali, Gumla are providing skills training programs and assisting vulnerable groups of women/girls in obtaining employment to stop the trafficking/migrating to metropolitan cities.
- Sr. Roselyn has completed the preliminary work to begin a skills training program (Community College) in Munal Path Dharan by April, 2014. The program will include Computer Applications, Spoken English, a Beautician Course and House Management. This is an effort to prevent trafficking of girls from Nepal.
- Sisters Sheeli and Agnita have helped the women’s group to begin a milk dairy (income generation in the locality) in Tendrabong in October, 2013.
- Awareness education is being created on trafficking, care of the environment, violence against women and corruption, through our schools, social and health centers through street plays, songs, speeches, placards and rallies.
- People are being educated on the “Right To Food” (RTF) and “Right To Information” (RTI) by some of our social workers to make the people confident in demanding their rights so as to bring change in the society.
- The Vincentian Family in the United States focused on “fostering collaboration for systemic change in ministry for and with persons living in poverty.” This gathering was attended not only by our Vincentian Family Coordinator, Carol Rogers, SCN, but also by representatives of the Justice Committee and subcommittees, our Vocation Director, who took some young adults with her, and our Director of Congregational Ministries, Michelle Grgurich, SCN.
- The Office of Congregational Ministries (OCM) is planning a “Partners in Mission” Conference November 3-5, 2014. The focus for the Conference will be systemic change with the theme “Breaking the Cycle of Poverty and Violence.” Directors and Chairpersons of Shared Governance and Endorsed Ministries are being invited along with those from Separately Incorporated Ministries and SCN Inc. Ministries.
- The Nazareth Retreat Center held a retreat for the Hispanic community at St. Rita Parish in Louisville, which gave participants an opportunity to share and reflect upon their stories.
- Camp Maria is offering retreat programs for people with addictions and their families so that they might be able to break their cycle of addiction and bring about a change in their lives and that of their families.
- Doors to HOPE is helping immigrants learn to speak, read and write English and is providing GED classes so that these immigrants might be able to obtain better jobs to support their families.
- Sisters Place, an Endorsed Congregational Ministry, provides housing and programing support for single-parent families who had been homeless so that they can break out of the cycle of poverty and violence. We have membership on their Board and Members Board and many of our Sisters and Associates in the Pittsburgh area support the ministry’s fundraising activities.
- Vincentian Academy is reaching out to the inner-city and low income families to provide the support they need to be able to attend this excellent college prep institution and hopefully break the cycle of poverty and violence.
- The listening stance of the Justice Committee had led it to decide to focus on two Justice areas – immigration and the earth. The Committee will focus on how to bring about systemic change in these areas.
- “Breaking the Cycle of Poverty and Violence” Committee (BCPV) is providing basic information about systemic change and how this approach impacts our ministry focus and planning so that our ministries can be effective. The goal and actions of the Committee were focused on planning the March Convocation around such topics as: poverty, violence, immigration, and supporting women in society. We will share our experiences, and move these social justice issues and ministries forward.
- The Human Trafficking Task Force of Nelson County (HTTF) – Mary Boyce, Province personnel, is providing leadership to the effort to educate people about human trafficking. Some Sisters are also very involved in this group. Over 90 Sisters attended the HTTF session immediately prior to the BCPV Convocation.
- One of our Associates is setting up and teaching people how to build a water filtration system for rural area homes in Haiti. Another Associate is involved in collaborative efforts working with patients and families, to make positive changes in the community through an Advocate Board. In Chattanooga, our Associates are helping to facilitate the “Faith and Finances” program that provides economic development strategies that holistically impact people living in poverty.
- The PATH Group, a sub-committee of the Catholic Sisters Leadership Council in Pittsburgh, sponsored a Prayer Service on Human Trafficking that was attended by some of our Sisters in the area.
- The Belize City Local Community will be exploring with other stakeholders a 12-session program entitled, ENGAGE, which is a study program for learning, practicing, and experimenting with the power of creative nonviolence to transform our own lives and our world. If this pilot project goes well, it will be a collaborative way in which SCNs provide a tool for systemic change around the escalating violence in Belize in the future, besides transforming our own selves in regards to violence we may participate in. This program goes well with our SCN vision of promoting the dignity and equality of women and oppressed people in Church and in society.
- SCNs and Associates in the Chattanooga Faith Group were trained as facilitators of the “Faith and Finances” Program, which provides economic development strategies that holistically impact people living in poverty.
- Motherhouse and other Sisters participate in contacting their Congress members regarding legislation that affect people’s lives.
- Sisters at Nazareth and in Boston are also active in teaching immigrants and helping them to pass their citizenship test.
- Barbara Spencer, SCN works with troubled youth, trying to help bring about a change in their future.
- Eleanor Martin, SCN works on immigrants’ legal issues to assist them in obtaining citizenship and changing their future.
- Promoted education of the poorest of the poor through scholarships from United States benefactors (Ntlhantlhae).
- Educated orphans and children who are affected and infected with HIV, in order to bring them to the mainstream of society (ongoing).
- Used community and individual resources to educate women and girl children.
- Made efforts to reach out to youth for their spiritual and moral development.
- Treated the patients at the Hospice with love and respect regardless of religion, nationality and economic and social status (on-going).
- Employed people who were formerly discriminated against because of their HIV status.
- SCNs, along with the SCNAs and others, reached out to the poor through St. Vincent de Paul.
- Rescued women who are oppressed and abused, who are victims of gender-based violence.
- Counseled and provided legal assistance to women who are victims of domestic violence.
- Assisted two persons in job oriented training.
- Counseled families with conflicts.
- Stood up for justice in the Church, even if it meant challenging the leaders in the Church.
- Spoke up on justice issues in the Church.
- We continue to promote the use of inclusive language.