Forty years after their brutal murders on Dec. 2, 1980, we remember the lives, loving service and tragic deaths of four American churchwomen, Ursuline Sr. Dorothy Kazel, Maryknoll Srs. Maura Clarke and Ita Ford, and lay missioner Jean Donovan, murdered in El Salvador. We encourage you to attend upcoming prayer services, vigils and online events.  Resources and more information can be found in this Global Sisters Report article.

November 26th, 2020

From our Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Congregation (also, see this related opportunity from Catholic Mobilizing Network):

Respecting the Sanctity of All Life: Reaffirming Our Opposition to the Death Penalty

With the continued and increased use of the death penalty, we the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet are impelled to boldly oppose the use of the death penalty and end “the cycle of violence perpetuated by the death penalty.”[1] In this stance, we look to the way of mercy and forgiveness exemplified by Jesus’ own life, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and our CSJ charism. As a congregation of religious women of the great love of God, we value “respect for the sanctity of human life, the protection of human life,”[2] and the sanctity of all life.

Pope Francis calls the use of the death penalty an attack on the dignity of the person and deems capital punishment “inadmissible” in all cases. These words are reflected in the official Catechism of the Catholic Church, which the Vatican updated in 2018.

This issue of capital punishment “challenges our consciences and requires us to act.”[3] Understanding that the death penalty does not provide easy or simple solutions, we continue, as we have for decades, our opposition to the death penalty. Our community, with our partners in mission, has long ministered to and advocated for our siblings on death row including praying, visiting, and writing personal letters.

Enlivened by our charism to move always toward the profound love of God and love of neighbor without distinction, we recommit to peace, nonviolence, and upholding the sanctity of all life. As a community, we reaffirm our opposition by committing to action to end the use of the death penalty locally and nationally.

November 6th, 2020

On a beautiful late September morning, the St. Joseph Workers (SJW) began a journey that would take them back in time and create meaning for their present experiences. The Workers along with SJW staff and Justice Associate Ashley Lopez, journeyed this day on a Sacred Sites Tour which gave us the chance to learn Minnesota history through Native American stories.

The leader for our journey was Rev. Jim Bear Jacobs (Mohican), Founder of Healing MN Stories.

Rev. Jacobs leads these tours as part of Healing Stories Minnesota with the Minnesota Council of Churches. Our tour consisted of three sites familiar to many locals: St. Peter’s Church in Mendota, Fort Snelling State Park and Pilot Knob Hill in Eagan. Each of these places is important to descendants of white European settlers but our tour this day would give us a different perspective. Rev. Jacobs shared the importance of these sites to the Dakota people. Through Rev. Jacobs stories we learned why these places are sacred to the Dakota people, the tragedies and traumas inflicted on them by white settlers and how that pain is experienced yet today through continued systemic racism. For some of us on the tour, we had never been taught the true details of the history of this place we call Minnesota. We were not fully aware of the local history of the native peoples from the 1862 “Dakota Wars” and Henry Sibley’s direct involvement in the hanging of 38 Native men in Mankato (now recognized as the largest mass execution in U.S. history).
From St. Peter’s Catholic Church (Minnesota’s first Catholic Church and a sacred Dakota site) to the Pilot Knob Hill (Oȟéyawahe, or “the place much visited” and an ancestral Dakota burial ground near Acacia Park Cemetery), to Fort Snelling State Park (place of the brutal internment of more than 1,700 Native American women, children and elders), Rev. Jacobs reminded us of the need to acknowledge that social justice work cannot be done without unity and humility. “Even though the world is broken, we have sacred
work to do.” Without recognizing the humanity in each other and working together in community, our work would be that much more difficult to accomplish. Sarah Goleman-Mercer described it in this way “Rev. Jacobs told stories of the strength, compassion, bravery, joy, heartbreak, and deep rage of the Dakota peoples; stories that are also held in the earth’s body, in the changing leaves of the trees, the groans of the earth, the flowing waters of the Mississippi.” Rev. Jacobs maintains that for Indigenous people stories are living, breathing and never-ending. It is a recognition that the violence of the past impacts the lives of those in the present, and the violence of today will affect the lives of those in the future. While white Minnesotans may look at the history as a closed book and in many ways place the blame on people of color for their own oppression, Rev. Jacobs emphasized that the colonization, genocide and cultural decimation of the Native peoples, and the violent cruelty, exploitation and dehumanization of the slave trade created consequences that impact people’s lives today.

At the end of the tour, the SJWs had new insights and knowledge to take with them for their service year. In reflecting on the experience, Britta Koenen says, “The most meaningful part of the tour was Rev. Jacobs’ storytelling; it held so much pain, loss, and beauty all at the same time. Understanding the straightforward facts of Dakota genocide in Minnesota is one thing, but it is quite another to know the spiritual truth at the core of this history. Rev. Jacobs’ incredible skill for sharing Dakota traditions and stories brought us far beyond a cerebral understanding of historical fact, and it was so powerful to feel that connection at every level of being.”

Lydia Vetsch reflected “I hope to continually recognize that this land is stolen from Dakota people and be intentional about educating others of what I had learned. I also hope to continue to educate myself
on Native American history and advocate for their communities.”

The tour may be over but the impact will continue in the minds, hearts and work of the SJWs.

It is through learning experiences like these that we are humbled to listen empathically, to deepen our understanding, to see our oneness and connection, and to strengthen our resolve to walk with our sisters and brothers. We are changed by such encounters, but are also challenged to look at how we act because of these learning experiences. We are reminded of the need to acknowledge that social justice work, OUR work, cannot be done without unity and humility. Without recognizing the humanity in each other and working together in community, our work would be that much more difficult to accomplish. How might we all, as a CSJ community, look at our collective history anew, look with new eyes and acknowledge the land we are on, and seek to grow in authentic relationship with our native dear neighbors in light of this history?

October 30th, 2020

St. Kate’s Food Insecurity Project (a collaboration with the Sisters of St. Joseph) secures two-year collaborative USDA grant for a student fellowship position

A collaborative team from the St. Kate’s Food Insecurity Project (FIP) recently received a two-year grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to hire a student fellow that will work to develop connections between St. Kate’s food insecurity networks and those of similar student-led initiatives at Hamline and Augsburg University. The planning grant will help the Food Insecurity Project at St. Kate’s build and strengthen their work to address immediate food insecurity within and beyond the St. Kate’s community as well as upstream solutions in connection with Twin Cities community food systems and St. Kate’s community-engaged courses.  The student fellow will work in collaboration with Community Leader Interns, Celeste’s Dream, The Center for Spirituality and Social Justice and the larger FIP advisory group, as well as with our external partners.

https://mncampuscompact.org/resource-posts/campus-compact-awarded-usda-grant/

October 29th, 2020

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Saint Paul Province, supports the below statement from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious rejoices over the news of the appointment of Archbishop Wilton Gregory as a cardinal in the Catholic Church. Over the years we have been grateful to Archbishop Gregory’s leadership within the church where he has not only been a strong pastoral presence, but also a fearless outspoken critic of injustice. His public stances on many critical matters such as the repair of the US immigration system, race relations, climate change, sexual abuse within the church, LGBTQ matters, and much more reveal his deep integrity and courage.

In making this historic appointment of the first African-American cardinal, Pope Francis is clearly giving a message about the importance of assuring racial diversity at all levels of society and within the church. We are pleased that the African-American voice will be represented in this important decision-making body.

As an organization headquartered in the Washington archdiocese, we are especially pleased to have the opportunity to work closely with Archbishop Gregory. We look forward to this continuing relationship and congratulate him on this important recognition of his gifts and abilities as an outstanding leader.

This statement can be found on the LCWR website and on LCWR Facebook page.

October 26th, 2020

COVID-19 Testing

Learn more about St. Mary’s Health Clinics involvement in and opportunities for testing for COVID-19.

St. Mary’s Receives Grant from Commission de Salud Fronteriza Mexico-Estados Unidos

St. Mary’s Health Clinics is the recipient of the Models of Excellence Grant from the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission for their exemplary work with patients and partnership with the Ventanilla de Salud. The funds will help assist with further COVID-19 needs and furthering its mission.

MPR Coverage

On October 8, Minnesota Public Radio ran a story about COVID-19 testing in underserved communities. St. Mary’s very own Cristina Flood Urdangarin and Rosalinda Alle are quoted in the article, check it out!

Long-Standing Mistrust Threatens to Hamper Testing in MN Communities Most Vulnerable to COVID

Susan Gehlsen, St. Mary’s Health Clinics Director, adds:

“I credit the SMHC staff and volunteers for the many years of providing services for the underserved that have resulted in the development of trusted, strong and supportive relationships within our Twin Cities Latinx community.  When there are specific health care issues related to our Latinx neighbors, the state and county health departments, the Mexican Consulate, churches, and other other health care entities look to SMHC for assistance in helping to meet specific health care needs.  The above link is one example of how SMHC provides care to the greater Latinx community through outreach services.  The entire SMHC staff supports and shares in these efforts in some capacity…it takes a village!  We are proud of making a difference and serving those in need!”

October 12th, 2020

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (CSJs), who founded St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul, have a long relationship with Fairview Health Services. The CSJs, with its ministry, St. Mary’s Health Clinics, have been among the stakeholders involved in ongoing Fairview led discussions about community needs and the future of St. Joseph’s Hospital. The Sisters’ tradition of addressing unmet needs within our community led to the founding of St. Mary’s Health Clinics, which provides healthcare services to the uninsured and underserved. This model has been of particular interest to Fairview.

While a relationship with St. Mary’s Health Clinics has not been formalized, we look forward to possible collaborations that will best serve those most in need. We support exploring the possibility of a community health and wellness hub to address the health, housing and support services that focus on accessible, affordable and equitable care for all. Our deep affection for St. Joseph’s Hospital and concern for its staff continues and we look to a respectful transition to a new model of care in our city.

St. Mary’s Health Clinics provides necessary and accessible health services to the medically uninsured and underserved using a volunteer-based model of care. There are no paid providers including its medical director. Many volunteers are retired from clinical practice. Clinics are held in donated spaces in the community, primarily in schools and churches and have established longstanding relationships with the metro health systems and specialty providers.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet came to St. Paul in 1851 and operate ministries for immigrants, health care for the uninsured, and safe places for disenfranchised women. The Sisters are dedicated to “the practice of all the spiritual and corporal works of mercy of which woman is capable and which most benefit the dear neighbor (primitive documents)” and are called to “move always toward profound love of God and love of neighbor without distinction.”

Contact:

Ann L. Thompson, athompson@csjstpaul.org, 651-592-3900

October 5th, 2020

From the US Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, watch this video of Sisters of St. Joseph across the world discussing their work on single use plastics for the 2020 Season of Creation.

September 30th, 2020

In case you missed it, check out the Virtual 10 Days Free from Violence 2020 from Twin Cities Nonviolence. There were a number of great events starting September 18 and continuing until Sunday, September 27. More information can also be found at:
https://twincitiesnonviolent.org/

September 22nd, 2020

Many of us connected with the CSJ St. Paul Province attended a powerful Community Assembly last Saturday. There was deep conversation and powerful emotions about many issues, including creating connections. We would like to share the below recording of “Wade in the Water,” shared by Ihotu Jennifer Ali (which was inspired by the Assembly).

September 16th, 2020

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