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Current Issues of Social Justice

Current Issues

 

Catholic Sisters for a Healthy Earth

The Sisters of Charity, BVM have joined the Catholic Sisters for a Healthy Earth in preparing a reflection booklet on the various rooms of a house, placing each room and its activities into the broader context of our Earth-home. Click here for "Earth as Our Home" brochure.

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BVM Hunger Fund Contributions

The Sisters of Charity, BVM commits funds each year to organizations abroad that work toward systemic change to alleviate hunger.  The BVM Hunger Fund Committee reviews applications throughout the year and determines the grants to be awarded. 

In September 2017, the following three organizations received BVM Hunger Funds:

Sacred Heart Sisters Kaseses, Uganda for assistance with the purchase of water tanks to provide secure clean water sources for the communities most challenged by the extreme floods during July and August. 

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in South Sudan to assist with the purchase of Maize flour and beans.  Many in the area have lost the means to feed their families in this war-torn country.

Urusline Sisters of the District of Gumla, India to assist with the feeding of students at the Ursuline Primary School in Jampani and the digging of a deep bore well for the students at the Ursuline English Medium School in Noatoli.

In August 2017, the following four organizations received BVM Hunger Funds:

Marian Sisters Carmel in Kyangez Village in Kitynda-Mityana, Uganda to provide financial assistace with digging tw0 boreholes to secure clean water for the Congregation, nearby schools and the community at large.

The Little Sisters of St. Francis in Mityana, Uganda for financial assistance with urgently need repairs of the roof at Naama Convent which is a residence for the sisters and dormitory for the students. 

Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph in Jinga, Uganda for the purchase of four 10,000 liters water tanks to secure clean water reserves for the children at St. Catherine Orphanage school, as well as for the families in the parish.

Franciscan Elizabethan Sisters in South Sudan to provide food for the children and families displaced from their homes in this war-torn land.

In July 2017, the following ten organizations received BVM Hunger Funds:.

Little Sisters of the Immaculate Heart for the feeding of the students at St. Mary's Orphanage and Primary School in Gulu, Uganda. 

Brothers of St. Charles Lwanga to assist with the food program at St Kizito Orphanage Primary School in Uganda.  The funds will be used to cultivate the land for food security, as well as, for the medicines and medical services the children need. 

Brothers of the Sacred Heart to assist with the food program at the Kuya Center for Street Children in the Philippines.  Hundreds of children are served through the Center's street and community based programs.

Bernardine Franciscan Sisters to provide life-saving food, vitamins, minerals, and nutritional supplements for severely malnourished and critically ill children who seek help at their Nutrition-Health Center in Nipepe, Moxambique. 

Sisters of the Holy Cross to assist with the feeding of 35 children with disabilities at the Asha Griha Center in Farmgate, Tejgaon Dahka Bangladesh. 

Food for the Poor, Inc. for Dr. Olga Sanchez to purchase 10,000 pounds of beans and rice to feed severely malnourished children and families in Nicaragua.

Missionary Sisters of the Eucharist to help support their missions in Guatamala.

Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur two months assistance with the Bakery and Daily Feeding Programs in LaSavane, Haiti.

Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to support the food and friendship lunch program for malnourished children and elderly in Las Delicias, El Salvador.

Ursulines Sisters of Tildonk to purchase the firewood, sorgo, maize, and soja needs to make the MASOSO drink for children in Goma in the DRCongo.

In May 2017, the following two organizations received BVM Hunger Funds:

Uganda Martyrs Senior Secondary School in Namugongo Parish for purchasing water tanks to replace an aging water system. 

Mercy Beyond Borders for feeding the girls at St. Bakhita Girls Primary School in South Sudan.

In January 2017, following five organizations received BVM Hunger Funds:

Sisters of Charity of Nazareth to provide a balanced diet of fresh vegetables, daal, and rice, along with wheat and sugar for 170 girls between the ages of 5-13 who are in the Naviyoti Hostel in Shapur, India.

School Sisters of St. Francis in Milwaukee to feed the children at Guadalupe Homes Orphanage in Santa Apolonia, Guatemala. These funds will purchase the milk, infant and toddler formula, cream, and cheese needed for six months.

The Archdiocese of Tororo in Uganda to assist with the feeding of the 700 students at St. Kizito Primary School. 

St. Francis Assisi Church in Derwood, Maryland to help feed the children at Bon Pasteur School in Leon, Haiti. 

Franciscan Elizabethan Sisters in the Juba Archdiocese of South Sudan for the purchase of Sorghum, beans and maize flour that will be distributed to refugees, especially children and women at Mundary in Tali Mission.

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Congress and the Budget

As congress considers tax reform and ways to reduce the deficit, there is fear that budget cuts will affect the vulnerable among U.S. citizens. Reductions in funding for "safety net" programs and entitlement programs like Medicare will harm those most affected by the recession-- those who have lost homes, those facing food insecurity and the unemployed. Such reductions will not serve the common good. By the same token, increasing the defense budget  and raising taxes on middle income people will affect the common good as well.

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Immigration/Worker Rights

In the face of mounting antipathy to immigrants, especially those of Hispanic origin, the congregation bases its position on the gospel values of love and justice. While we recognize the right of countries to control their borders, we also recognize the needs of people to migrate in search of work that will sustain life and hold families together. We support dialogue toward comprehensive immigration reform in the United States. 

The National Farmworker Ministry, www.nfwm.org, celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2011. In 1976 BVMs became members of the NFWM, with one BVM representative appointed to the Board of Directors. Membership has given the congregation a way to be involved in this justice issue on a continuing, sustaining basis. Current board member is Mary Martens, who keeps the congregation apprised of national movements to support farm workers in their organizing efforts.

NFWM works closely with United Farm Workers, www.ufw.org, in support of efforts to secure worker justice, especially for those who labor in the fields to harvest the food we eat.

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Human Rights/Women and Children

BVMs are supportive of decent, affordable housing as a human right, and we especially focus on the needs of women and children for safe shelter. Maria House and Teresa Shelter in Dubuque, Iowa are among the ministries the congregation helped to found and has continued to support.

In 2011, the BVMs entered a partnership with Loretto at the UN. "The Loretto Community at the United Nations advocates on the international level for the issues and values of concern to the community, including disarmament and peace issues, the rights of women & girls, the rights of indigenous peoples, the rights of migrants and victims of trafficking, and social & ecological development. Having an office at the UN allows the Loretto Community to advocate for and empower those whose voices are often neglected in the world system."

 

Opposition to Death Penalty

We believe that all life is sacred. We stand in opposition to the devaluation of human life by capital punishment and the use of violence to exact retribution from the perpetrators of violent acts.

We oppose the state-sanctioned executions of our brothers and sisters done in our name and reject the argument that the death penalty is a deterrent to violence. We assert that violence only continues the cycle of violence and that only through love and nonviolence can we end violence. BVMs are committed to the work of abolishing the death penalty in the United States.

Each date of a scheduled execution, the bell from the Old Motherhouse at St. Joseph Prairie is tolled. This is in solidarity with a national initiative, For Whom the Bells Toll, among religious organizations. The community email distribution list carries the name(s) and state(s) of the condemned.

Visit the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

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Peace & Nonviolence

Following the gospel value of nonviolence to which Jesus gave witness, we oppose war as a means of dealing with conflict and execution as a means of punishment. We promote justice through dialogue and peaceful protest, upholding the human dignity of all involved. We belong to and support organizations which further the development of humankind. 

The BVMs have long been involved with the School of the Americas Watch movement, which began in 1989 when 4 Churchwomen were martyred in El Salvador at the hands of those who had been trained at the U.S. Army School of the Americas at Fort Benning, GA. Each year, thousands gather at the gates of Fort Benning to call for a close to the School and to remember the lives of those lost at the hands of its graduates.

For 37 years, the BVMs have been members of 8th Day Center for Justice, a grassrootes faith-based coalition of religious congregations. The Center, rooted in the values of nonviolence, mutuality, and cooperation, works as a critical alternative voice to oppressive systems. Visit 8th Day Center for Justice to find out more about current issues of peace and nonviolence.

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Bottled Water

Manufacturing bottled water has a significant impact on our wallets, our lives, and our environment. This compelling video delves deeper into the issue and breaks down the facts so we can measure the impact. Click here to watch!

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Justice Alerts

Action alerts from several sources often request adding the signature of organizations or individuals to a letter or a petition going to the President or Congress. NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby in Washington and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) regularly send updates on current issues. These requests are posted via emails to BVMs and associates.

Whether responses come from the BVM Leadership, the BVM Congregation, or from individuals, they are specific ways of taking action on political issues that affect the lives and wellbeing of many people on local, national and international levels. 

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