The Leadership Conference of Women Religious condemns racism in all its harmful forms whether the violent acts of the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, and White Supremacist groups or the daily acts of hate and discrimination that diminish us all.
We grieve with the citizens of Charlottesville and all people of goodwill. We mourn with all who have lost loved ones, with all who live in fear, with all whose dignity is threatened by hate and violence. We lament the racism that continues to afflict our communities and threaten the values that we hold dear.
We acknowledge our own complicity in institutional racism. We commit ourselves to cleanse our hearts and rid our land of this evil. We promise to pray for our country and to continue to use our voice and our energy to build God’s beloved community where all are one in Christ Jesus.
LCWR is an association of leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States. The conference has nearly 1300 members, who represent more than 38,800 women religious in the United States. Founded in 1956, LCWR assists its members to collaboratively carry out their service of leadership to further the mission of the Gospel in today’s world.
The Franciscan Federation of the Sisters and Brothers of the Third Order Regular of the U.S., and their associates resolved “to stand in solidarity with Native American People in care of their land and of our Sister, Mother Earth” in a resolution affirmed by some 240 attendees representing 61 member congregations at their annual meeting.
The Resolution is rooted in the words of Pope Francis in the encyclical, Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home, #146: “It is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions. They are not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed. For them, land is not a commodity but rather a gift of God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact and maintain their identity and values. When they remain on their land, they themselves care for it best.”
It goes on to say, “As Franciscans, being in solidarity with our Indigenous Brothers and Sisters, in particular Native Americans, we act on the words of Pope Francis in the encyclical: #217: “Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork, it is essential to the life of virtue; it is not an option or a secondary aspect of our Christian life.” #218: “In calling to mind the figure of St. Francis of Assisi, we come to realize that a healthy relationship with creation is one dimension of overall personal conversion.”
This resolution calls for a pledge to learn about the enduring effects of the Doctrine of Discovery, including its application in US law as the justification for claiming that Native Americans do not have title to discovered lands, that they are mere tenants on their ancestral lands. This Doctrine of Discovery is the result of three Papal bulls that provided the moral and legal rationale for Christian explorers to confiscate all land and possessions of the inhabitants of “barbarous nations.”
Members of the Franciscan Federation are encouraged to “learn from Indigenous Peoples about their history and cultures and to value their worldview that respects the interconnectedness of all life, including that of Mother Earth” and, “in the spirit of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi” to seek pardon for the sufferings imposed upon Indigenous Peoples and to petition Pope Francis to revoke the Doctrine of Discovery.
As Catholic women committed to equality and social justice, we support this statement by the Archdiocese of St. Louis on Refugees and Migrants and Refugees.
The recent executive order to turn away refugees and to narrow or close our nation’s doors to our migrant sisters and brothers who are fleeing hunger, hardships, violence and persecution does not represent the best of our Catholic and American values and ideals. As Catholics, we appreciate the sensitivity shown to Christians who are fleeing persecution, but we are disheartened and alarmed by actions that target and profile others because of the color of their skin, the language they speak, the religion they profess and the land they call home.
We join Catholic Sisters and Religious Priests and Brothers across the country in sending a Letter to President Trump reminding him of the gift and responsibility of leadership.
We renew our own commitment to actively advocating against the privilege of some over the needs of others.
We urge President Trump to accept Pope Francis’ challenge to build up society and communities and to promote the common good.
Click HERE to read the letter sent on behalf of the Presidents of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) representing more than 55,000 Catholic religious sisters, brothers, and priests.
The Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help recently received a $2,500 grant from the Enterprise Holdings Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Enterprise Holdings, which, through its regional subsidiaries, operates the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands.
Among other ministries, the Kirkwood-based Sisters promote a “Franciscans for Earth” approach to the environment, noting that “all is sacred, good, and interconnected.” The grant funds will be directed toward that program, which features regular public viewings of eco-friendly movies, as well as their “Franciscan Farm,” a retreat center in rural DeSoto that specializes in helping all people re-connect with nature.
“As Catholic Sisters who follow the rule and life of St. Francis of Assisi, we believe creation is God’s continuing revelation and mystery unfolding in our world,” said Sister Renita Brummer, the Order’s Minister General. “And as Pope Francis has stated, living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue.”
According to Sister Renita, funding from philanthropic organizations like the Enterprise Holdings Foundation, as well as from individual donors, is essential for the operation of the wide range of ministries that her congregation offers.
“Throughout our history we have been known for serving with others with humility, for being prayerful and hopeful women,” she said. “We do not focus on one place, one ministry, or one institution for our identity. We believe the world is our cloister and go forth enabling and empowering people to live the Gospel with hope and joy.”
For more information on the ministries of the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, or how you can join them in re-connecting with God’s creation, go to their website at www.franciscansisters-olph.org, or stop by their facility at 335 S. Kirkwood Road in St. Louis.
About the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Since 1901, the common mission of the Sisters is to be a transforming presence in society. They dedicate their lives to witness the Gospel compassionately and joyfully. They enable and empower others to live with hope and joy. The Sisters have a special commitment to care for creation, the first book written by God.
Franciscan Sisters and The Pujols Family Foundation
On the program this morning, we learned about a neat partnership that will allow young people with Down Syndrome to watch the growing cycle of food, got Harry’s take on a new guy flick and celebrated some holidays and birthdays. The Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help have teamed up with the Pujols Family Foundation to have children with Down Syndrome plant a watermelon patch at the Sisters’ farm near DeSoto and care for and harvest the melons! The Sisters’ Mission Relationship Director, Randy Raley, tells us all about it here. For more information click here or call Randy at 314-965-3700.