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

May 2017 NewsNotes


Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace


May, 2017


Greetings Friend!

There is lots to be concerned about the condition of our world: climate change, anti-immigrant rhetoric, terrorism, not to mention the leadership of both the U.S. and the U.K. What weighs heavily on me is the threat of more war, particularly with North Korea. Two deficient leaders, infants on the world stage, face off with weapons that could end human civilization and no sense that they, or anyone around them has the courage to say “No!” 

It is also troubling that  the news media anoints the rookie in the oval office as “presidential” when he allows the dropping of the ‘mother of all bombs’ on the Afghan mountains, or when he sends sixty cruise missiles into an already devastated Syria. Even the weapons themselves were described by news broadcaster Brian Williams as “beautiful” as they arched into the sky. 

How pitiful! 

Today is the anniversary of the founding of the Catholic Worker by Dorothy Day, Peter Maurin and the others who began selling the Catholic Worker newspaper in Union Square, New York for one cent a copy. The Catholic Worker paper and the voices behind it continue to challenge us to imagine a different world, where turning to war is not the last resort but no resort at all. We have voices too, and the world cries out for hope, for an end to endless violence, for healing and for basic human dignity for all. 

They are not alone, this month we also celebrate the birthdays of Peter Maurin, Dan Berrigan and Sophie School all of whom practiced active nonviolence.

Can we raise our voices? Can we offer alternatives? Can we pray for an end to all war and then act to see that it happens? Can we also pray with our feet as we march publicly for an end to violence in all forms? Can we cut off the funds that pay for war?

No one is helpless in this struggle. Dorothy challenges us to love one another, (and the Friends add "with no exceptions") and reminds us: "We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever-widening circle will reach around the world."

from "Love is the measure," June 1946

Change has to start somewhere.


Frank McCann
Peace through Justice Facilitator


  1. Defeat the American Health Care Act
  2. Good News, Bad News for UK Refugees
  3. Centennial Anniversary of Balfour Declaration
  4. CAAT Continues Planning for Arms Fair Actions
  5. A Sign of Hope
  6. Lobbying for a Moral Budget
  7. Calais Updates
  8. Justice and Peace Friday Mornings
  9. East Meets West in DC


Defeat the American Health Care Act



Like a persistent virus, the American Health Care act has reemerged and is again being pushed in Congress. It is noticeably worse for those who are elderly, or those who have preexisting conditions than the original proposal. An analysis of the original bill suggested 24 million would lose coverage and costs of insurance for those in their late 50s and early 60s would skyrocket. 

Last week, my inbox filled with requests from, the Catholic Health Association, The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, NETWORK, LCWR, and others. Defeating this bill Is not only important for us as individuals but because it will also have negative effects on the health care ministries in which the congregation is involved. 

A statement from Carol Keehan, DC, President of the Catholic Health Association can be found here

NETWORK writes the following: The  American Health Care Act (AHCA) is a dangerous and irresponsible plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and cut Medicaid. Even though we defeated the legislation a month ago, Congressman MacArthur (R-NJ), Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC), and Vice President Pence have been working together on an amendment that would make the AHCA even more extreme and result in even more people losing healthcare coverage.  They are trying to schedule a vote, so we need you to call your Representative today  and tell them to vote NO on the AHCA.

If that number stops working, call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121

Hi, my name is ____ and I am a constituent from [town name]. As a member of NETWORK lobby for Catholic Social Justice, I am calling to urge Representative _______ to OPPOSE the American Health Care Act. At least 24 million people will lose access to health care and my faith teaches me this is wrong. Please oppose this bill and end it once and for all.

Good News, Bad News for UK Refugees


Photo from Amnesty International Website


Regional Teams Forming in UK to Aid Refugees  

The charity organization, Help Refugees recently held its first training for those interested in assisting refugees in the UK. The regional teams are being set up to map available services, connect with local groups, fundraise and raise awareness.   Help Refugees also has the story of Senay , one of the Calais unaccompanied minors who is now missing. 

The UK has accepted approximately 8,000 Syrians since 2011, while Jordan – with a population almost 10 times smaller than the UK and 1.2% of its GDP – hosts over 656,000 Syrian refugees and more than 2 million Palestinian refugees.

Home Office to Require “Safe Return Review”  

Refugees who have been granted asylum or given humanitarian protection will now have to undergo a review after five years to determine if they can be safely returned from the country from which they fled. The rules passed without much fanfare. Charities working with refugees are outraged.   The charities that signed the letter, which include Right to Remain and Migrant Rights Network, say the policy “undermines” the promise of stability and security that should come with being granted refugee status in Britain, and that it “violates the state’s obligation to provide sanctuary and refuge to those it has granted the right to remain”.

Centennial Anniversary of Balfour Declaration


Photo from  Palestinian Campaign e-mail


This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration that began the dispossession of the Palestinian people from their homeland. Those who are so inclined are asked to petition the U.K. government to issue an apology to the Palestinian people. You can sign the petition here.

Kamel Hawwash, a member of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and vice chair of the British Palestine policy council has been denied re-entry into Palestine by Israeli officials apparently because of his support for the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) campaign of which he is part. He was separated from his wife and family at the airport on his return from holiday. In his defense, he claims the BDS movement is a peaceful, nonviolent means of opposing Israeli occupation and destruction of Palestinian lands and dispersal of its people. 

Israeli officials have ordered the demolition of yet another Bedouin village called Umm Al Hiran. To join with those who want the demolitions in Umm Al Hiran to be stopped click here.

CAAT Continues Planning for Arms Fair Actions


Photo from, from a previous year's protest at the DSEI Arms Fair Sr. Katrina on the right.


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

There is a special urgency this year because weapons sold buy the UK to Saudi Arabia are being used to kill thousands of innocent Yemenis.

The Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) is holding meetings this month through the summer to plan their resistance to the event. Registration to take part in the event can be found here.

A Sign of Hope



The U.S. Congress appears to be irreparably divided on most issues as party–line votes demonstrate. However, as sign of hope appears in a recently organized caucus within the house of representatives called the Climate Solutions Caucus.

The Climate Solutions Caucus is a bipartisan group in the U.S. House of Representatives which will explore policy options that address the impacts, causes, and challenges of our changing climate. The caucus was founded in February of 2016 by two south-Florida representatives Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) who will serve as co-chairs of the caucus.                                                                                                                     Citizen’s Climate Lobby website  

The Caucus is also known as the Noah’s Ark caucus because members of congress have to enter ‘two-by-two’ meaning each member who wants to join has to find someone from the other party to join. On a conference call with the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), they were urging citizens to call their representatives and ask them to join. With even a slightly larger group, they can both be a force for progress in the House on climate issues, but would hopefully forge relationships that make cooperative work on other issues possible.  

To find your representative’s phone number use this link.  

Click here for more information on the FCNL legislative ask.

Lobbying for a Moral Budget



Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington DC is four-day event each year that brings together justice advocates from many Christian traditions to pray, study, celebrate and to lobby congress. This year’s event went from Friday April 20 through Monday April 24th, Monday was the “Lobby Day.” 

The focus this year was on lobbying for a moral budget, not like the one proposed by President Trump that would cut social programs, fund a border wall with Mexico, add personnel to the immigration detention forces and the border patrol and add 10% to an already bloated military budget. 

The lobby day included gathering in a prayer circle in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building, an act of civil disobedience.

Calais Updates


Mahmoud (far Left) and Brother Johannes (2nd from the right) and friends


Brother Johannes who welcomed the CSJP Sister and Associates at St. Maria Skobtsova House in Calais wants to visit the U.S. to speak and raise money to keep the house open. Our Congregation has agreed to provide the funds necessary for him to come to the U.S. and Associates will provide housing as he visits the East and West. We look forward to welcoming Brother Johannes in September. 

The house in Calais is still operational with about 15 refugees living in the house, many of whom are unaccompanied youth. Calais is very opposed to the presence of any refugees in the city. The house is not full all week but the refugees “come home for the weekends.” Brother Johannes is also assisted by Mahmoud Nagm, an Egyptian who was battling lancer in his leg and was one of the first patients we visiting in the Calais Hospital on our arrival in August of last year.

Justice and Peace Friday Mornings



Every other Friday or so, Peace through Justice Facilitator Frank McCann engages with the sisters and staff in the St. Michael’s infirmary/residence to keep them up to date on the issues of justice and peace that are in the news, or that involve the work of the congregation. Each event includes an action that the sisters can take. Most recently, the sisters approved drafting a letter to Cardinal Tobin asking him to teach more on the Pope’s peace message during three anniversaries this month connected to nonviolence: The May 3rd anniversary of the U.S. Bishop’s Peace Pastoral Letter (1983), the birthdays of Danial Berrigan, Peter Maurin and Sophie Scholl (May 9) and the feast day of Franz Jagerstatter on May 20th. The letter was drafted, approved and was signed during the Jubilee celebrations on April 29. The letter also asked Cardinal Tobin if he would be open to a ceremony where those committed to nonviolence in New Jersey could take a vow of nonviolence with him. 

Earlier in April, the sisters participated in a Bread for the World offering of letters. Twenty-seven letters were generated for each of the two senators and the congressman who represents the Englewood Cliffs community. (see photo above)

East Meets West in DC



CSJP Associates Denny Duffell and Frank McCann met in Washington, DC on April 21 for a morning meeting with Sr. Patty Chappell, president of Pax Christi, USA. Membership numbers are down at Pax Christi, USA and in this time of war and rumors of more war, we need to support our voices for peace. If you are not a member of Pax Christi, USA or have let your membership lapse, please consider joining or rejoining by clicking here.  

An afternoon meeting with staff of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) was also helpful. They have a wide array of lobby positions that closely align with our own and they have a staff of over 40 in DC to do the lobby work. If you are interested in receiving their weekly email updates on issues, click here to be kept up-to-date with one action suggested on an issue each week.  

Denny was accompanied for the day's visits  by his son, John, who lives in nearby Maryland. Frank also has a son in DC, however, Tim was otherwise occupied as his wife, Kelly, began early labor with their first child. Patrick William McCann joined our human family on Saturday afternoon, April 22.

"We must be signs of hope and healing in the midst of the cultural reality in which we find ourselves."

Ann Rutan, CSJP