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July 2017 NewsNotes



Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace

July 2017



Greetings Friend!

On this eve of the 4th of July, I am left with many mixed feelings. This nation has been a source of blessings to many but is also a threat to the very existence of the planet. Whether slowly with global warming or more quickly with nukes, we have to power to end life as we know it.

I feel somewhat helpless in the face of that reality but I am confident that all God asks is that I keep my space sacred. So as I get ready to leave the office this day I look forward to going home to three of our grandchildren who are visiting and our Cameroonian guest who works so many hours every week, that Sunday Mass is about the most time we have together. But he is off tomorrow too.

Tomorrow is my turn to pray and fast for the talks to ban nuclear weapons at the UN. I will be holding all of us in prayer all day.

There is not likely to be a NewsNotes in August. The first of the month falls in the middle of our family vacation and I am told we all need a break. If anything is urgent, I will send a message along.

For those concerned about my health, I appreciate the prayers and support. I have completed two of the five radiation treatments that are scheduled with absolutely no side effects. The last one is a week from today.

Peace and all good,


Frank McCann
Peace through Justice Facilitator




  1. CSJPs on Disarmament and the UN Ban on Nuclear Weapons
  2. Priorities for Healthcare Reform
  3. Act to Save Earth
  4. UK National Peace and Justice Conference July 21-23
  5. Water is Life! Ca-a-Van Heading to St. Michael's
  6. CAAT Continues Planning for Arms Fair Actions
  7. Slave Trading in Libya



Engraving of Isaiah's words on wall opposite the UN in Ralph Bunche Park


CSJPs on Disarmament and the UN Ban on Nuclear Weapons


Thirty-five years ago the CSJPs issued their congregational statement on nuclear disarmament. On July 7th the United Nations hopes to vote to create a legally binding treaty to ban the use, manufacture, transport, financing and threats of nuclear weapons.

In December of 1981, the CSJP congregation met for the first time in numbers beyond the typical delegates to a chapter to consider many justice issues. Among them disarmament was a priority. A draft statement was prepared by Joan Steans, CSJP, Dorothy Vidulich, CSJP, Josie Reichlin, CSJP and Deidre Duffy. The Executive Council passed the resolution in December and all members of the congregation were asked to express their support or opposition to the statement. Votes were due by March 1st, 1982, at which time it was accepted as an official congregational stance. The statement read as follows:

We, the congregation of St. Joseph of Peace, an International community, publicly declare our resistance to the production and deployment of all nuclear and other instruments of mass destruction.

We are committed to encouraging and assisting in the urgent work of educating ourselves and others to the immorality of a continued proliferation of nuclear and other mass destruction arms.

After the statement was issued, a poverty group of CSJP Sisters participated in a demonstration at the Pentagon wearing copies of the statement on placards.  CSJP Sisters Margaret Jane Kling, Andrea Netzel and Miriam Spencer were arrested as part of that action. The Congregation President at that time, Patricia Lynch,CSJP was there in support.

No final draft or votes are taken yet at the UN, the conference continues until July 7. The delegates have been meeting since June 15 after participating in a shorter session in March.

The goal is to create a treaty that would bar nations from: developing, producing, manufacturing, otherwise acquiring, possessing, stockpiling nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. Likewise, the treaty will hopefully bar the transport of those weapons over or through the air, land or waters of participating states. Financing of such weapons would also be banned.

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) has been somewhat effective in limiting the spread of nuclear weapons, it has been less effective especially in reducing the numbers of weapons held by nuclear armed states. The existence of nuclear armed states and non-nuclear states is unjust at its core.

The negotiators at the UN are hopeful. Since they have been able to ban biological, and chemical weapons as well as land mines and cluster bombs, why not nuclear weapons?

The absence of the nuclear states has had a beneficial effect in that the often-unheard voices of the global south, and of women are being heard more consistently at the negotiations. Women suffer more from the effects of nuclear radiation as has been noted in the aftermath of the bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and in the many nuclear tests conducted among the Marshall Islands.

For more information on the day to day negotiations you can download daily editions of the Nuclear Ban Daily: Reaching Critical Will.

Thanks to all the Sisters, Associates as well as some staff of St. Michael's who are praying and fasting that the negotiations at the UN will be successful.



Photo by United Workers, Creative Commons 


Priorities for Health Care Reform


An immediate disaster was avoided when the Republican caucus in the Senate was unable to reach agreement to get 50 votes to pass their proposed health care legislation aimed at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) before the July 4th recess.   As I write, there is some hope now, that perhaps both Republicans and Democrats will work together to fix what is wrong with the current health care legislation, rather than starting with a new less generous program.   The Catholic Health Care association has produce a one page handout suggesting what priorities for good health care should be.  

Health care should be:

  • Available and accessible to everyone paying special attention to the poor and vulnerable
  • Health and prevention oriented with the goal of enhancing the health status of communities
  • Sufficiently and fairly financed
  • Transparent and consensus driven in allocation of resources, and organized for cost effective care and administration
  • Patient centered and designed to address health needs at all stages of life from conception to natural death
  • Safe, effective and designed to deliver the greatest possible quality

You can access the one-page CHA flyer here.

A more colorful 24-page statement of their vision can be found here.



Call your Senators at 1-888-738-3058 NOW to oppose the GOP health plan and protect Medicaid. Call twice to reach both Senators.

These calls matter whether your Senators are Republicans or Democrats! Here are a few ways you can make noise in your community over the next few weeks:

    1. Keep making phone calls, and encourage anyone you know in Alaska, Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, or West Virginia to make their calls as well.
    2. Read the news and write Letters to the Editor. These short messages should clearly state your opposition to Medicaid cuts and the Senate health proposals, and mention your Senator(s) by name. See our tips for getting your LTE published on NETWORK's website, and send us published pieces at
    3. Meet with your Senator at their office, town hall, 4th of July event, or elsewhere. Congress is home from July 1-9. Visit NETWORK's website for printouts, graphics, and more that you can bring with you to their events. 
    4. Post on social media! It sounds silly, but Senators and reporters alike are watching what's being said online. Find your Senator on Facebook and Twitter, and let them know your thoughts using #Faith4Medicaid#SaveMedicaid, and #ProtectOurCare.

Act to Save Earth  


CAFOD is promoting Speak Up Week

1-9 July is a time to speak to your MPs about climate issues and care for Earth. Many actions already planned can be found here.   A briefing paper to use when speaking with MPs can be found here.  


Nineteen against One

Avaaz has a petition asking Angela Merkel to align Germany and the other 18 G-20 nations against Donald Trump, the climate change denier.  

Use this link to sign up to encourage Merkel to take the lead in supporting the Paris agreement.


UK National Peace and Justice Conference July 21-23


The National Peace and Justice Network will have its annual conference with the theme: “A Sabbath for the Earth and the Poor: The Challenge of Pope Francis” from July 21-23 at The Hayes Conference Center, Stanwick, Derbyshire.     

We live in a world where people and nature are more often valued according to their economic capacity or usefulness to humans, rather than their intrinsic value as God’s creation.    In order to be liberated from this commodification, consumerism and utilitarianism, the Sabbath reminds us to rediscover a sense of awe and wonder, to see the beauty in creation and also in relationships, especially with the poor and marginalised. The conference will seek to: help us understand current realities; find ways to live out and advocate a different value system; and provide a space for creativity, celebration and contemplation.  

Speakers include Dr. Ruth Valerio, Global Advocacy and Influencing Director for Tearfund; Fr. Peter Hughes, a lifetime missionary to Brazil, and Kathy Galloway and ordained minister of the Church of Scotland and leader of the Iona Community from 20012-2009.  

Find the booking form here.  


The Hudson River from St. Michael's


WATER IS LIFE!  Car-A-Van Heading to St. Michael's


Several environmental groups are coordinating a demonstration in support of the Ramapough People in their opposition to the Pilgrim Pipeline which threatens to cross over their tribal lands.  

The  car-a-van will pass along the railroad route that transports Baaken crude oil over the reservoirs of northern New Jersey, and will end with a prayer service and ceremony at “the point” at St. Peter's College adjacent to St. Michael's.

Sr. Shelia Lemieux, CSJP will welcome the travelers and lead an opening prayer. Sr. Suzanne Golas, CSJP will speak as a leader of Water Spirit.

Join us 3-4 PM on Sunday July 9!

CAAT Continues Planning for Arms Fair Actions



London will play host to The Defense & Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair in East London in September.  It is one of the world's largest arms fairs in the world.

Participation in the resistance planning is encouraged the weekend of July 22,23 at the Human Rights action Center, 25 New Inn Yard, London. Events are planned from 10 AM Saturday until 5:30 PM Sunday. Registration is free.

Register here.

Slave Trading in Libya


From Freedom United  

Known as the ‘Gateway to Europe’, Libya has become a transit point for thousands of migrants and refugees desperate to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in search of a better life. But many don’t make it that far. Instead, smugglers offering to take them to the coast are selling them to the highest bidder.  

“The men on the pick-up were brought to a square, or parking lot, where a kind of slave trade was happening. There were locals – he described them as Arabs – buying sub-Saharan migrants.” Livia Manante, IOM Officer.

Right now as you read this, traffickers are selling migrant men and women in make-shift ‘slave markets’ in Libya. Unbelievably, these modern-day slave markets are thriving as much of the world remains oblivious to the shocking reality. However, stories from those that escape are beginning to emerge.

Can you add your name to strengthen our voice calling for meaningful action to close the Libyan slave markets?

"The Spirit sounds herself in so many voices: sometimes Her whisper is persuasive and easy to follow; sometimes Her cry is fiery and threatening. But She must be listened to."

Dorothy Vidulich, CSJP