congregation of the sisters of st joseph of peace
facebook twitter instagram twitter

December 2016 NewsNotes


       Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace 
                   December, 2016  


Dear Greetings!,

It is somewhat shocking to realize this is the last NewsNotes of 2016. Our year is rapidly drawing to a close.

This past month has been a slog. The election results in the U.S. and the loss of Kristin Funari followed closely on the destruction of the Calais refugee camp in late October. I feel like I am walking in beach sand. Every time I take a step, the sand beneath gives way and my stride is shortened and ever more energy is required to move forward. That is fine on a vacation at the beach with no "to do list." Not so helpful when there are things to accomplish.

I so look forward to the hope of Advent. But even then, on Sunday,  instead of a homily on the beautiful, hope-filled passage from Isaiah, we were treated to a parish financial report. Ugh!

Another step forward, a little more energy required to make it.

But forward it is. One foot in front of the other.  I find hope and strength to move on in our faith, admirably captured in the reflection by Daniel Berrigan that closes this edition of NewsNotes.

Here is a peak:
It is not true that violence and hatred should have the last word, and that war and destruction shall rule forever-
This is true: For unto us a child is born. And unto us a Son is given,  
and the government shall be upon his shoulder, 
And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting, the Prince of Peace.

May it be so.  And soon.          

Frank McCann

Peace through Justice Facilitator




  1. Standing with Standing Rock
  2. Calais Update
  3. 37,800 Children living with problem debt in Leicestershire 
  4. Catholic Nonviolence Initiative
  5. Stop Violence Against Women-A Progressio Campaign
  6. Pax Christi International Plan for Mideast Peace
  7. Need Hope in the Face of a Trump Victory?
  8. Advent
Standing with Standing Rock

The congregation leadership indicated a willingness to sponsor 4-6 sisters or associates to join the tribes in solidarity. However, in making contact with other sisters who have been there, we were told it is too cold now unless people are properly equipped for winter outdoor camping. The ground is snow covered and uneven. There is little opportunity for interaction because so many are hunkered down in their shelters except for the times of resistance actions. Anyone who would want to join them must be fully self-sufficient in therms of food and heating supplies (firewood). Authorities have threatened to stop new arrivals and to cut off supplies to the camp after December 5th, the government deadline for the tribes to clear the camp. The water protectors have no plans to leave.
Even more than people joining them physically, the water protectors ask that we join them in prayer to save the water and earth. Perhaps your house could plan to pray for them over the weekend and into Monday, December 5th.  

 #water is life

The Leadership Team proposes supporting the gathering with a $500.00 donation to the Oceti-Sakowin Camp Fund for whatever they determine to be their greatest needs. If anyone has other ideas as to how we can support the water protectors please contact Frank McCann.
If you want to help, consider sending funds to the Oceti Sakowin Camp fund. You can find a list of needed supplies here as well. However, if supplies do not reach the camp by Monday, there are threats to cut off all deliveries of supplies to those remaining in the camp after Dec. 5th.

If you want the deep background of the Standing Rock conflict, you can download the Standing Rock Syllabus

Read the Nov. 27 Oceti Sakowin press release: Holding to Self-Evident Truths.

Action Opportunity:
Call on President Obama to end the human rights abuses by authorities at the camp.
Calais Update
The four CSJPs who participated in the Calais camp experience have met by phone since they returned to prepare a six-page report to the congregation on the experience and what we have learned. You can access their report here. In addition, we received a letter from Brother Johannes who reflects on the closing of the camp. You can find that reflection here.
Our hearts still hurt for the refugees who have been taken to scores of relocation centers around France. It is difficult for their advocates to know who, or how many will be granted asylum in France and who will be sent back to the country where they first touched in Europe, or sent back to their countries of origin.
There is special concern for the unaccompanied youth many of whom have hopes of being allowed into the UK. Up to 1/3 of the unaccompanied minors are said to be missing. Some have reportedly been used for forced labor in fields, others report serious shortages of food. Most suffer from diagnosable mental illness due to the uncertainty they live with and the stresses they have gone through on their journeys.
If you are moved to want to help immigrants and refugees in the Seattle area, here is a link to ten organizations you can work with.

37,800 children living in families with problem debt in Leicestershire
A message from Anastasia French of the Children's Society...
With Christmas fast approaching, this time of year can be very challenging for families trapped in debt. With an estimated 37,800 children living in families with problem debt in Leicestershire, our Breathing Space campaign has never been more necessary. 
To be successful, we must build support for the campaign in every corner of the country, from the corridors of Parliament to the smallest parish. Will you help us spread the word about the campaign by writing to your local paper?
Catholic Nonviolence Initiative

As reported earlier, a conference held at the Vatican in April of this year produced "An Appeal to the Catholic Church to re-commit to the centrality of Gospel nonviolence" which sets several goals for the blossoming of nonviolence in the life and ministry of the church. This year's Peace Day message, entitled "Nonviolence: A style of politics for peace." is a first step.
The Union of Superiors General, Peace and Justice Commission in Rome and Pax Christi International assisted in providing the pontiff with an outline and some suggested points for his consideration.
This initiative is clearly in line with our congregation's charism. The congregation has signed onto the Initiative (see #1 below) and sent a letter to the Vatican indicating our support for the Initiative. We now look at some ways we can join in and encourage the efforts being made to mainstream nonviolence in the church.
1)    Sign onto the Initiative as individuals here-there are relatively few CSJPs signed on.
2)    Urge your parishes or justice and peace ministries to sign on as groups here.
3)    Be prepared to read and circulate the Pope's Peace day message as soon as it appears. This could include writing op-eds or letters to the editor on the subject when you see stories about it.
4)    Consider watching any of the four one-hour webinars presented on the conference and its hopes.
5)    Read some of the background papers and reflections written in preparation for the conference by those invited to attend.
To personally grow in nonviolence during Advent, the following resources are recommended:
Maryknoll's Advent Reflection Guide 2016: A Season to Embrace Gospel Nonviolence
 Advent Calendar 2016: Journey to Gospel Nonviolence from the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth,

Stop Violence Against Women-A Progressio Campaign
Violence against women and girls is deeply rooted in social and cultural norms and unequal power relations. One in three women around the world experiences violence at some point in their lifetime. In some countries where Progressio works, such as Somaliland, violence against women and girls is on the rise as new forms of violence, such as rape and gang rape, have become more common.Today we are launching Progressio's last ever campaign to galvanise your support and ensure the Department for International Development (DFID) continues to make progress on this issue. Building on the success of our campaign last year, we've developed a new policy briefing for MPs outlining the global context and the opportunity to accelerate progress towards eliminating violence against women and girls.The briefing asks MPs to do four things, which all involve writing to DFID and asking them how they are improving and implementing their work on violence against women and girls, with some suggestions of how this work could be even stronger.
Take action for the elimination of violence against women.
Send the briefings to your MP so they can write to the DFID.

Pax Christi International Plan for Mideast Peace
While Pax Christi International acknowledges the legitimate grievances of both Israelis and Palestinians and the responsibility of participants on both sides to stop any violence perpetrated against the other, we cannot ignore the gross imbalance of power and resources in favour of Israel. We therefore emphasise the following:
  • that a sustainable peace and reconciliation will only be achieved if Israelis and Palestinians engage in the peace process as equals;
  • that it is essential that the legitimacy and rights of both are respected and protected, which has not been the case to this point, as the rights of Palestinians have been systematically denied;
  • nonviolent struggles should be supported and the strategy set forth by the BDS-movement is one of the possible nonviolent approaches to apply international pressure on Israel until the changes necessary to create an environment for a renewed peace process have been achieved, but we do not call for a boycott of the state of Israel as a whole.
- See more at:
Former President Jimmy Carter offers a thoughtful op-ed on actions President Obama should take before leaving office to move the peace process forward. Read the Op-ed here.
Need Hope in the Face of a Trump Victory?
Is there a chance of saving our planet in light of the surprising election results? Nick Englefried, a writer with Waging Nonviolence finds hope for real change in the mostly spontaneous demonstrations that occurred the day of and after Trump's election. Read his story here.

By Daniel Berrigan, S.J.
It is not true that creation and the human family are doomed to destruction and loss-
This is true: For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son,
That whoever believes in him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and discrimination, hunger and poverty, death and destruction-
This is true: I have come that they may have life and that abundantly.
It is not true that violence and hatred should have the last word, and that war and destruction shall rule forever-
This is true: For unto us a child is born. And unto us a Son is given,
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting, the Prince of Peace.
It is not true that we are simply victims of the powers of evil who seek to rule the world-
This is true: To me is given authority in heaven and on earth, and lo, I am with you even until the end of the world.
It is not true that we have to wait for those who are specially gifted, who are the prophets of the church, before we can be peacemakers.
This is true: I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young shall see visions,
and your old shall have dreams.
It is not true that our hopes for the liberation of humankind, of justice, of human dignity, of peace
are not meant for this earth and for this history-
This is true: the hour comes and it is now, that true worshipers
shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth.
So let us enter Advent in hope, even against hope.
Let us see visions of love and peace and justice.
Let us affirm with humility, with joy, with faith, with courage:
Jesus Christ-the Life of the world.

 Berrigan, Daniel, S.J., Testimony: The Word Made Fresh Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY, 2004, p 211-212

"Life and prayer are intertwined, because the natural thing to do is to talk to God, to pray. Nothing is compartmentalized. "

Margaret Dove, CSJP