St. Paul, MN—January 15, 2019: Sisters Carolyn Puccio, CSJ, and Meg Gillespie, CSJ, with CSJ Justice Co-Director, Marty Roers attended a press conference today with MN Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan. The event addressed the statewide impact of the current partial Federal shutdown. Members of Minnesota’s faith community, including representatives from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (CSJ) community stood in solidarity with all those who are suffering from the shutdown’s associated financial, social and spiritual hardships.
“We were pleased that Governor Walz included Minnesota’s faith community,” said Sister Meg. “He made clear his desire for Minnesota becoming a model for bipartisanship, recognizing that we may have different views, but we work toward the good of all the people.”
A provided handout stated that “Governor Walz is working closely with Minnesota’s Congressional Delegation to support Minnesotans adversely affected by the shutdown and coordinate with governors across the country to join together in action on behalf of the states.” “Federal grants help fund critical services in Minnesota. This includes support for Medicaid, highways, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Veterans Healthcare and Food Security programs such as SNAP and School lunch[es].” Minnesota’s tribal communities are also impacted.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet are committed to moving always toward the profound love of God and love of neighbor without distinction.
The Issue: Stop Rule to Bar Immigrant Medicaid and SNAP Users from Legal Residency Status
REQUEST FOR ACTION: File a public comment with Department of Homeland Security in opposition to this proposed rule
PLEASE COMPLETE THIS ACTION BY: December 10, 2018
The President has proposed a devastating and unnecessary expansion of the definition of “public charge” to undermine the ability of immigrants who are in the country legally to apply for lawful permanent residency (green card). Under the proposed rule, any past, present or even potential future enrollment in Medicaid, food aid, and/or housing assistance programs could prevent immigrants from changing their immigration status and/or attaining legal residency.
This proposed rule could force many to choose between vital health care coverage and the ability to get a green card, for example. The most recent study of the rule finds that it could adversely affect the health coverage of over 13 million legal immigrants in the first year, with many millions more to follow. That will lead to a significant increase in the number of uninsured and billions of dollars in uncompensated care costs for hospitals.
Additionally, the proposed rule would punish low-income legal immigrants and trap them into a cycle of poverty. The regulation would make immigrant families afraid to seek access to healthy food, health care, and housing. This fear would extend far beyond people who may be subject to the “public charge” test. It would harm entire communities as well as the infrastructure that serves all of us. The proposed rule change will also put the nutrition, health, and well-being of families, including millions of children, at risk. Because disease knows no borders, fear of using health care services could result increased risk of communicable diseases for everyone.
As people of faith we are called to stand with our immigrant brothers and sisters. The proposed rule changes longstanding policy and dramatically reduces the ability of our immigrants to become citizens and contributing members of our society.
In the absence of any Congressional action, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has chosen to make this extensive policy change by administrative rule-making. Members of the public have the right to submit “comments” on any proposed rule change before it becomes effective.
Lynda Szymanski, interim provost, announced today the hiring of Sharon M. Howell, CSJ, as the director of the Center for Spirituality and Social Justice. In this role, Sister Sharon also will serve as the Archbishop Harry Flynn Endowed Chair in Catholic Identity and director of the Myser Initiative. She will spend some time on campus beginning in late November and will begin her full-time position in early January.
As a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Sister Sharon brings a love for academia, the church and serving others to St. Kate’s. In this role, she will follow her passion for working as a student affairs professional and church administrator within our community to serve the interests of students, staff and faculty, and promote the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph.
“We are thrilled to have Sister Sharon join us as the new director of the Center for Spirituality and Social Justice,” said Dr. Szymanski. “She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this position that will advance the Center as a bright and vibrant area of the University. Additionally, we look forward to the vision she will bring to the roles of Endowed Chair in Catholic Identity and Director of the Myser Initiative to further the Catholic pillar of our mission within our community.”
We join the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), and countless groups and individuals across the country and in Pittsburgh to condemn the slaughter of our brothers and sisters at Tree of Life Congregation in the community of Squirrel Hill.
Our hearts are heavy and our souls are pained at the intrusion of anti-Semitism and violence in God’s sacred space. We join with Catholic sisters across the nation to extend our sympathy to the families of those who lost their lives. We will mourn with you. We will pray with you. We will walk with you in the spirit of God’s love.
We recognize that shootings at synagogues and schools, churches and mosques, in our homes and on our streets have become all too common. The current political climate and growing polarization of our communities feed hate and spawn violence.
In responding to this act of violence, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) stated that “Violence as a response to political, racial or religious differences must be confronted with all possible effort. God asks nothing less of us,” he said. “He begs us back to our common humanity as his sons and daughters.”
We recognize that the role of racist rhetoric and the senseless rancor must stop. White supremacists and their white nationalist ideology must be exposed and denounced. Anti-Semitism, racism, and hate of all kinds must be clearly condemned by our religious and political leaders, and each of us as well.
We acknowledge that all of us have played a role in the polarization of our communities and the denigration of the other. Each of us must participate in the healing and binding of wounds for which our communities long. We offer our prayers for the members of the Tree of Life Congregation and for all who have been victims of hate and violence and we say loudly and clearly, enough.
Condemnation alone cannot bring change. Our mission as Sisters of St. Joseph, which calls us to unite neighbor to neighbor and neighbor to God, reminds us that we build community by being the neighbor to the one we don’t know: the person next door, the person who works with us, the stranger we meet on the street. It is only by breaking down our own barriers of comfort and isolation that we can begin to understand and appreciate those whose religion, race, gender or lifestyle is different than our own.
Actions We Can Take:
Be attentive to our own implicit biases. Who are the individuals/groups we avoid?
Have we taken the time to learn about the religious practices of other faiths? Have we ever attended a service at a synagogue or mosque?
How do we respond if someone uses a racial slur when referring to another race or religious group?
The United States has a long and proud history of welcoming immigrants and sheltering refugees. We Sisters of St. Joseph live and work that all may be one — one with God, with one another, and all creation — and welcome the ‘dear neighbor’ without exception. We have been blessed to be able to accompany and serve migrant communities across this country, and we will continue to welcome them as our faith requires.
Show your support of migrants and immigrants on social media.
Vote for candidates in the midterm elections who believe in the just and humane treatment of ALL immigrants.
Pray for all those who are traveling to the United States seeking asylum.
Consider supporting the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Lyon/Province of Mexico minister in the “Albergue Decanal Guadalupano” in Tierra Blanca, Veracruz, a shelter for migrants sponsored by the diocese and staffed by our Sisters, lay partners and volunteers. You can donate directly through: https://cssjfed.breezechms.com/form/9018cd or send checks to: Sisters of St. Joseph, 80 Garland Rd., Winslow, ME 04901. Please put ‘Mexico’ in the note. The CSJs of Lyon in Maine will see to it that these funds get to their Sisters in Mexico.
Join Immigration Working Group Members at an upcoming morning ICOM Prayer Vigil at the Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building the second Tuesday of every month.
We are deeply troubled by President Trump’s continued denigration of those fleeing untenable situations in their home countries. These are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers who have been forced from their homes by unimaginable violence and insecurity; runaway corruption; and droughts and floods linked to climate change. These are women and girls fleeing intolerable situations of domestic violence. These are young men and women who have no access to quality education and no hope of economic opportunity.
These are courageous people who have rejected cultures of corruption and exploitation. They are traveling the same road trod by our forbearers who fled tyranny and violence in search of the American dream. They are people of hope and promise who only want the opportunity to contribute their toil and talent to this nation.
We reject the president’s rhetoric of fear and policy of division that poisons our politics. We choose instead to embrace a dream for America that is filled with hope for a nation united in service of the common good. We stand with Pope Francis who calls us to “promote the dignity of all our brothers and sisters, particularly the poor and the excluded of society, those who are abandoned, immigrants and those who suffer violence and human trafficking.”
We urge the administration to manage refugee arrivals humanely and in a manner that respects their dignity and rights under US and international law and to:
Allow migrants to approach our border and ask for protection in the United States and to be admitted for processing in a timely manner.
Ensure that asylum seekers have access to legal counsel and receive a fair resolution of their claim.
Guarantee that parents and children stay together after they are apprehended. Holding families indefinitely in detention or detaining parents while releasing their children violates the values of this nation and the standards set forth in the Flores settlement.
Eschew detention of those awaiting adjudication of their asylum petitions in favor of alternatives that are more humane and more cost efficient.
Direct Homeland Security to cooperate with faith-based and humanitarian organizations who are prepared to assist asylum-seekers.
The United States has a long and proud history of welcoming immigrants and sheltering refugees. Women religious have been blessed to be able to accompany and serve migrant communities across this country for a very long time. We will continue to welcome them as our national history demands and our faith requires.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates, St. Paul Province, join in solidarity with Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in the above statement. LCWR is an association of leaders of congregations of Catholic sisters in the United States. The conference has nearly 1350 members, who represent more than 45,600 women religious in the United States. Founded in 1956, LCWR assists its members to carry out their service of leadership to further the mission of the Gospel in today’s world.
As mid-term elections draw near, one thing Americans can agree on is that we are a deeply divided country. Frustration, bewilderment, and distrust abounds and manifests in everything from cynical resignation to turning on one another. Madeline Albright once described the experiment of democracy as paradoxical: equally characterized by fragility and resilience. These challenging times have exposed the delicate nature of our body politic, and will test our nation’s spirit of resilience as never before.
As a nation, political vitriol, vastly compounded by the echo-chambers and bad behavior of social media, threaten the very institutions on which we’re founded. The news cycle is dizzying — making the upcoming election feel like we are nearing a panicky crescendo. In some ways it seems like the most consequential midterm election in American history—and those paying attention, regardless of political affiliation, are full of anxiety about its outcome and implications. But those who strive to keep the faith count on the hope that it is never too late for real, meaningful change that can lead us into a positive future.
We, the Sisters of St. Joseph join with the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, NETWORK Catholic Social Justice Lobby, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), and other faith-based advocates in seeking federal policies that reflect gospel principles. Our mission of unity calls us to the realization that an economy and a society of inclusion depends on good policy.
And it is up to “We The People” to make our voices heard and vote our conscience. Partisan in-fighting and conflict between factions of Americans will not end unless a common understanding of values emerges. Until we can mend relationships among “We the People,” there will be no repairing the fabric of our nation. What’s required is a civic transformation that shifts our nation’s collective consciousness and public discourse.
For Christian Americans, this is where our gospel values are put to the test, and we have a responsibility to test ourselves. We look to the scriptures for guidance and profess belonging to the body of Christ, and so the Gospels provide us with our template. Individually and collectively, Christians are called to engage with our fellow Americans — particularly those we view as sinful — in a seeking, loving, forgiving manner and with the intention of reconciliation.
How can I seek out those with different political leanings and find a space to connect with them? How can I facilitate authentic and respectful dialogue? How might I put my fellow citizen who is fearful and suspicious at ease? How have I failed to acknowledge my own sinful contribution to our divided nation?
As we near election day, perhaps Rumi’s timeless wisdom could provide our mantra: “Raise your words not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”
The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph is a dynamic union of all the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the United States who claim a common origin in the foundation at LePuy, France in 1650. Today there are approximately 4,203 vowed members as well as 3,032 associates and 25 agrégées in the United States. Worldwide there are over 10,749 Sisters of Saint Joseph and 4,399 associates in over 50 countries.
Sr. Rose Tillemans, a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Paul Province, opened the door of Peace House Community on October 17, 1985.
Peace House Community continues to offer a non-violent, welcoming and inclusive community for poor and marginalized women and men who are seeking companionship, safety from the streets and personal affirmation.
Join them on November 3 for an Open House. Drop by to see the space that provides hope and shelter to its community members, and meet the Board and Manager.
The US Department of Homeland Security’s proposed changes to the public charge regulation are yet another attempt by President Trump to restrict immigration and punish immigrant families. The new regulation would force parents to make impossible choices between the well-being of their families and the prospect of future citizenship.
The rule changes would dramatically increase the barriers to lawful status for low-income immigrants and their families. It could dissuade parents from obtaining benefits for which their children qualify, out of fear that they may not be able to regularize their immigration status in the future. Lack of access to public benefits programs will increase poverty, hunger, homelessness, and disease, and decrease children’s school attendance and general well-being.
This attempt to target the most vulnerable within the immigrant community violates the tenets of our faith and threatens the values of our nation. We are called by our faith to welcome the stranger and care for the most vulnerable and we are challenged by our national values to promote the welfare of our children and tend the common good. If we want our communities to thrive, all families in those communities mast have access to the care and services they need and to which they are entitled. The Trump administration’s proposed changes to the public charge regulation threaten us all.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious urges all people of faith to call for protection of immigrants, especially those who are most vulnerable, and to register their objections to this unreasonable and mean-spirited proposal during the 60-day comment period.
LCWR is an association of leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States. The conference has more than 1300 members, who represent more than 38,800 women religious in the United States. Founded in 1956, LCWR assists its members to collaboratively carry out their service of leadership to further the mission of the Gospel in today’s world.