January 25, 2017
President Donald J. Trump
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20006
Dear President Trump:
We are writing to you as the elected leaders of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, a community of Roman Catholic Sisters with U.S. regional centers in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey and Bellevue, Washington and in the United Kingdom.
First of all, please be assured that the concerns and issues of our country and our elected leaders are daily in the prayers of our sisters and lay associates. In fact, on inauguration day our community joined in praying a special prayer for the day: “God, bless all newly elected and newly appointed officials. Guide them to consider the sacred inalienable rights of every person as they deliberate and decide on policies and programs that will touch so many lives in these states, which so need to be united again in common purpose.”
We are also writing to express our deep concern about some of your actions during this first week of your term of office, in particular plans you ordered today to construct a Mexican border wall, slash our country’s program of compassionate refugee settlement for families fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries, and blocking refugees all together from countries experiencing extreme terror and violence and therefore most in need of safe harbor.
Our founder Mother Francis Clare Cusack, herself an immigrant, was moved by the Gospel message to welcome the stranger. At our founding in 1884, we were a Congregation of immigrants, serving immigrants, knowing their pain and suffering.
We are enclosing a copy of our Congregational Statement: Welcome Immigrants and Refugees. This statement is a product of five months of prayer and reflection by our sisters and associates. We invite you to read and reflect on this statement.
We also urge you to use your position, power, and responsibility as President to end all rhetoric that instills fear, creates division, or incites violence. We also ask that you enact refugee policies which follow international law and expeditiously provide safe haven for refugees and asylum seekers with all rights guaranteed in the U.N. Convention and Protocol on Refugees.
Blessings of Peace,
Sister Sheila Lemieux, CSJP
Sister Susan Francois, CSJP
Assistant Congregation Leader
Sister Margaret Shannon, CSJP
Congregation Council Member
Sister Melinda McDonald, CSJP
Congregation Council Member
Archbishop Peter Sartain, Archdiocese of Seattle
Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Archdiocese of Newark
Mr. Bill Canny, USCCB Office of Migration
Representative Bill Pascrell, D-NJ
Representative Adam Smith, D-WA
Senator Corey Booker, D-NJ
Senator Maria Cantwell, D-WA
Senator Robert Menedez, D-NJ
Senator Patty Murray, D-WA
"The important thing is that we remain open to God as he reveals himself to us in the circumstances of life and do everything possible to bring the body of his Son to completion."
Catherine O'Connor, CSJP