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March 2018 NewsNotes


Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace

March 2018


Greetings Friend!


"Si Se Puede!"

The phrase, coined by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta as the rally cry of the United Farm Workers movement in the 1970s literally means, "Yes, it can be done!" Chavez struggled against overwhelming odds to organize the union, but he believed and acted so that the vision would actually happen. He was a man of faith and of hope. The struggle took decades but the Union was formed and the rights of farm workers were protected. As we celebrate his birthday at the end of the month, perhaps we can draw from his example the faith, hope and persistence we need to solve some of today's problems.

We also have a new source of the "Si Se Puede" spirit. The many young people who endured the massacre of their classmates at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida have stepped up becoming outspoken and inspirational advocates for gun control. Even those in the UK surely shake their heads over the repeated mass killings that take place in the U.S. met by "thoughts and prayers" from legislators resigned to uphold a kind of unlimited second amendment right to bear arms. (The Supreme Court has ruled in the past that the right to bear arms is not unlimited.) The young people make it clear that they will not accept "thoughts and prayers" as a solution. They want real change: expanded background checks, increased age limit to be able purchase guns, and a ban on assault style weapons.

The woman after whom their high school was named was no shrinking wallflower herself. Born in 1890, Marjory Stoneman Douglas graduated college in 1912 where she was involved in the early suffragette fights. She went to Europe during WW1 as a volunteer with the Red Cross. On returning she renewed the campaign to get the women's right to vote, became an environmentalist and vocal advocate for the Everglades, penning her book: Everglades: River of Grass. She was a charter member of the first ACLU in Florida, was an active civil rights worker. At the age of 103, she was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor available. 'Coincidentally,' the day Ms. Stoneman Douglas received that Medal, she was invited by President Bill Clinton to attend the signing of the Brady Bill, the only gun control legislation ever passed in congress that banned assault style weapons beginning in 1994. Unfortunately, the ban had to be renewed 10 years later, but congress refused to do so.

Given that this may indeed be a Kairos moment for gun control, I am not going to eliminate "thoughts and prayers," especially during Lent. But I will support and encourage all I know to rally, march and reach out to our legislators to get guns under control.

"Si Se Puede!"


Peace and all good,


Frank McCann
Peace through Justice Facilitator





  1. Gun Violence, Investments and Pubic Health
  2. “It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence…it’s nonviolence or nonexistence.”
  3. Annual Justice and Peace Conference in London
  4. Archbishop Lori of Baltimore issues Reflection on MLK Principles of Nonviolence
  5. Arms Fair Protesters Winning Acquittal!
  6. CSJPs to Co-Sponsor John Dear Book Signing
  7. International Women's Day
  8. UN Sustainable Development Goal #5: Gender Equality
  9. International Women's Day U.K. Peace Event to Thank Pope Francis
  10. UN Women: Life in Exile | Rebuilding Lives in Iraq
  11. Still No Resolution for DREAMers
  12. Women's World Day of Prayer
  13. Cesar Chavez
  14. Mark Your Calendar




Photo by Frank McCann

Gun Violence, Investments and Pubic Health


Sadly, we had another mass shooting of children and teachers in Florida. As we have experienced over the past two weeks the issue of guns in our society is being addressed by financial institutions, corporations, legislatures, religious leaders and led by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

I wanted all of you to know that in addition to our prayers, legislative advocacy and public demonstrations, our religious communities are using their power as shareholders to find a solution to gun violence, which impacts the well-being of our communities and our children.

The statement of the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) about negotiations with two firearms manufacturers is as follows:


Faith based investors file resolutions at American Outdoor Brands (Smith & Wesson) and Sturm Ruger

NEW YORK, NY, Friday, February 23, 2017 – Shareholders in gun manufacturers American Outdoor Brands (Smith & Wesson) and Sturm Ruger announced that they have filed resolutions requesting reports detailing the companies’ efforts to make their products safer.

The proponents represent several faith-based organizations that have deep concerns over escalating gun violence in the U.S. and are seeking engagements with gun makers to find ways to mitigate the harm associated with gun products."

While most religious organization have investment guidelines that screen out weapons manufacturers, the groups have purchased stock in both companies for the expressed purpose of opening a dialogue with management around these concerns. Read more...



“It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence…it’s nonviolence or nonexistence.”

by Tony Magliano


“To call the world’s nuclear situation dire is to understate the danger and its immediacy,” warned Rachel Bronson, Ph.D., president of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Famous for their symbolic Doomsday Clock, the Bulletin’s highly respected scientists and 15 Nobel Laureate consultants recently moved the clock to two minutes before midnight – warning that a nuclear war catastrophe is very possible!

The only other time in its seven decade history the minute hand has been set this close to midnight – that is, the devastation of the planet, and virtually everything and everyone on it – was in 1953 after the U.S. and the Soviet Union tested thermonuclear weapons for the first time (see:




Annual Justice and Peace Conference in London


The U.K. National Justice & Peace Network will hold it annual conference in London 20-22 July, 2018. The theme is "In the Shelter of Each Other the People Live". Confirmed speakers and booking forms can be found here.




Archbishop Lori of Baltimore issues Reflection on MLK Principles of Nonviolence


Archbishop Lori issued a pastoral reflection as the nation prepares to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4th. While not focused on racism, the letter acknowledges it as a social sin always present. There are photos of the Archbishop's predecessors and notes about their responses to the racial divide and tensions in the city of Baltimore.

The pastoral letter focuses on Dr. King's principles of nonviolence. For each of those principles, Lori names it, adds applicable Catholic social teaching and makes a practical application. His call to nonviolent direct action is perhaps the most stunning line in his reflection.

“For, if in God’s grace we are to create the just, peaceful and compassionate society that Dr. King envisioned, we must undergo a lasting conversion of heart and mind and make a firm commitment to teach, learn and practice nonviolent direct action for social change.” - Archbishop Lori

You can download and read the reflection here.



Sr. Katrina Alton, CSJP and Rev. Martin Newell Photo by Faith and Resistance Network.

Arms Fair Protesters Winning Acquittal!


Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) takes place every two years in London. It is one of the world’s largest arms fairs. The last one took place in September 2017, and over 100 people were arrested trying to prevent it from happening. of the 49 cases taken to trial, ten people were acquitted and 27 had their cases dropped – mostly on the basis of the previous acquittals. 12 cases remain outstanding.

Sarah Reader, one of the defendants said, "Three district judges acquitted activists on the basis that their direct actions were reasonable given the role DSEI plays in bringing together arms companies with countries that are fuelling conflict and repression, and the amount of evidence that countries like Saudi Arabia are using British-made weapons to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law. Three judges agreed that DSEI was deemed to be of significant enough public interest to justify people blocking roads and obstructing equipment destined for the arms fair."

Fr. Newell was back in court February 28th for nonpayment of fines dating back to a 2009 DSEI protest. He was given another 28 days to pay. He continues to refuse to pay the fines.



CSJPs to Co-Sponsor John Dear Book Signing



International Women's Day March 8


International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. International Women's Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first​ ​March 8​ ​IWD gathering supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Prior to this the​ Socialist Party of America, United Kingdom's Suffragists and Suffragettes, and further groups campaigned for women equality. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organisation specific.​




UN Sustainable Development Goal #5

Gender Equality: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls



Measurable targets are set for each of the SDGs. The targets for SDG #5 are:


  • 5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
  • 5.2 Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
  • 5.3 Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
  • 5.4 Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate.
  • 5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.
  • 5.6 Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences.
  • 5.A Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws.
  • 5.B Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women.
  • 5.C Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.


Progress is being made although more needs to be done. According to reviews done in 2017 the following represent the current status of our progress towards achieving this goal by 2030.


  • About two thirds of countries in the developing regions have achieved gender parity in primary education
  • In Southern Asia, only 74 girls were enrolled in primary school for every 100 boys in 1990. By 2012, the enrollment ratios were the same for girls as for boys.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania and Western Asia, girls still face barriers to entering both primary and secondary school.
  • Women in Northern Africa hold less than one in five paid jobs in the non-agricultural sector. The proportion of women in paid employment outside the agriculture sector has increased from 35 per cent in 1990 to 41 per cent in 2015.
  • In 46 countries, women now hold more than 30 per cent of seats in national parliament in at least one chamber.



International Women's Day U.K. Peace Event to Thank Pope Francis


Women wanting peace say Thank you Pope Francis! This year we have a new card which invites women to write to Pope Francis to thank him for his leadership on peace, nonviolence and disarmament and to share a vision of peace with him. Cards can be ordered here £2.00 for 20 cards so you could get together with others or invite your friends to take part.

This is also an on-line action if you prefer you can send your message here.

We still have copies of the original card, to celebrate women peacemakers. This card is still available here.

We still have copies of the original card, to celebrate women peacemakers. This card is still available here. Women from Pax Christi International will be taking part in a programme sponsored by Voices of Faith in Rome on International Women’s Day entitled ” Why women matter”. This will be live-streamed on 8th March.




Migrants and Refugees


The photos is 10 years old, the dream is the same. Photo by Frank McCann.

Still No Resolution for DREAMers


Congress failed yet again to compromise on a solution for the young people brought to this country years ago by their undocumented parents. Bipartisan moderates seemed to have the votes to pass legislation, however more radically anti-immigrant voices from within the administration poisoned the negotiations.

The deadline to begin deporting these DACA and DREAMer youth was set by President Trump for March 5th. However, lower courts in California and New York issued nationwide bans on enforcing Trump's order.

The president asked the Supreme Court to hear the case quickly to overrule the lower court's ban. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case until it had been heard by the Appelate courts which means the Supreme Court will not hear the case, if at all, until sometime in the next term (October of 2019).

In the meantime, DACA recipients may continue to renew their applications to stay and may continue to work and be protected from deportation. However, no new applicants need be admitted to the program.

The Supreme Court did rule on Tuesday that immigrants held in detention are not guaranteed the right to a bail hearing. They can be held in detention indefinitely. This ruling applies to arriving aliens, and asylum seekers who did not cross the border illegally in violation of international law.

Tuesday was also the day for Catholic Action in Washington DC on behalf of DREAMers. Hundreds of Catholics gathered with DREAMers to pray and protest the failure of legislators to find a solution. More than two dozen Catholics, most of them religious sisters, were arrested as they prayed and sang in the rotunda of the Senate office building.



Women's World Day of Prayer


The interdenominational movement of the Women’s World Day of Prayer invites everyone to attend one of over 5,000 services being held on Friday 2nd March with the title ‘All God’s Creation is Very Good!’ We will join an estimated 3 million people around the world that day in a service which has been written this year by the women of Suriname in South America.

Starting in Samoa as the sun rises, and ending as the sun sets off the coast of American Samoa, the service will have been translated into more than 95 languages and 1000 dialects as we are reminded that we have responsibilities in caring for this wonderful world we live in. With its vast rain forest and wealth of resources, Suriname asks us to pray for conservation and the protection of wildlife, through an awareness of pollution, misuse and abuse, as well as for the situation in Suriname and concerns for the future.

This is not simply a day of prayer for women, but for everyone who cares about our world and those who live in it. For details of services in your area and for further information and resources, please visit the WWDP website:

Prayer resources can be found here and here.



Photo by Creative Commons



“If you really want to make a friend,
go to someone’s house and eat with him…
The people who give you their food
give you their heart.”

- Cesar Chavez


Mark Your Calendar



8 - International Women's Day
8-14 - National Catholic Sisters Week
9 - Hudson Villa Presentation on SDG#5 Gender Equality 10:30 AM
11 - Daylight savings time starts in the U.S.
17 - St. Patrick's Day
19 - Feast of St. Joseph
20 - Equinox
23 - Hudson Villa Presentation
24 - Feast of Blessed Oscar Romero
25 - Palm Sunday / Daylight savings time starts in the U.K.
29 - Holy Thursday
30 - Good Friday
31 - Birthday of Cesar Chavez (1927)

"If our role as messengers of God’s good news means anything to us, the chorus of people begging for peace will touch a special place in our hearts. "

Patricia Lynch, CSJP