US Province Gathering-2017

Province  2017 Statement

 

Whereas, the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God, living our Franciscan heritage are not only hearers of the Word, but doers—.

And, whereas, we are called to care for our brothers and sisters in need we choose as a province to commit our resources of time, talent and treasure to work together to alleviate the suffering of refugees and immigrants who come to our nation, seeking a new home.

Our efforts include the following:

  • Being in relationship with refugees and immigrants by—
    • Assisting with their re-settlement, education, access to those things necessary for life.
    • Supporting legislation which enables a better life for refugees and immigrants,
    • (such as DACA).
    • Opposing all efforts to build a wall along our southern border including making a public statement.
    • Connecting with the Network, and Franciscan Action Network, both advocacy groups on a national level.
    • Being willing to speak in a non-violent way in order to educate and raise consciousness of others with regard to refugees, immigrants and the profiling of people based on race or ethnicity.
    • Providing public support of positive actions of others.
    • Continuing to collaborate with others involved locally with refugee and immigrant issues

photo: Sr.  Florence Hee, OSF facilitator

                                                                               By Sr. Eleanor

At the end of August, the United States held its annual gathering at San Alphonso Retreat Center, on the edge of the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. With that backdrop it was a relaxed and informative time together.

Two major directions emerged: first, the province developed their strategy for implementing the international decision to close province governing within the next six years. The second major direction resulted in the commitment to work as a province on the issue of refugees and immigrants, continuing what individual Sisters have already been doing. The direction statement reads:

“Whereas, the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God,   living our Franciscan heritage, are not only hearers of the Word, but doers—

And, whereas, we are called to care for our brothers and sisters in need we choose as a province to commit our resources of time, talent and treasure to work together to  alleviate the suffering of refugees and immigrants who come to our nation, seeking a new home.  See Statement above for action taken.

                                                                        The remainder of the meeting centered upon ways to live out the other international decisions to intensify living our Franciscan spirituality, to better understand the reality of climate change and how to work to counteract its effects and finally to deepen our awareness, as members of an international religious congregation, of reaching beyond our borders to embrace the well-being of others throughout the world.“ We have begun our commitment to the refugees by adopting a Syrian family for the holiday season to provide winter outer wear for each family member as well as some playthings for the 4 children.

We also have each chosen a month to provide informative websites, articles, etc. as part of our monthly newsletter highlighting input for our General Chapter and province directives. Finally we have participated in campaigns through email and the internet to educate and advocate for immigrants, climate change issues and peace initiatives.

 

 

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The gathering was a wonderful opportunity for the US Province of SMICs to jointly commit to the Congregational Acts by specifically crafting a common declaration  on immigrant and refugee resettlement  issues (see above)  that will be  publicly published  during the months to come.  In addition we outlined ways to work in a variety of ways to protect our Mother Earth.  These include:

Actions about Water

  • Reduce excessive use as individuals
  • Collect rain water to be used  versus tap water
  • Educate others about the amount of water used in nuclear power plants, fracking & oil refineries plus the potential for pollution.
  • Privatization of water will limit the amount of water to the needy
  • The fight over water may lead to the next war therefore, we need to address water conservation i.e. Pax Christi International
  • Research www.digdeep.org  about the issues of water on Navajo Reservations

Social & Political Actions

  • Contribute to a political group that specifically addresses climate change i.e. Catholic Climate Covenant.
  • Being active and making pleas on social media about things that you know are harmful to the environment
  • Watch and discuss  Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth 1 & 2
  • Find more programs or films about the effects of climate change that can be shared with all your sisters for them to be more involved.
  • People making commitment to putting in time to send monthly articles in the community about climate change. A reminder Around and About sign-up list was created and signed (see attached).

Other Actions

  • Plant trees to reduce CO2 – especially in California due to forest fires decimating the trees
  • Growing vegetable plots
  • Keeping the environment clean by picking up litter
  • Sending cards that are actually seedlings to encourage planting.

(Sr. Janice Jolin)