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October 5, 2021, New York, New York – Fifteen members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) drew support from 43.9% of the shareholders of Smith & Wesson for a proposal that the gun manufacturer adopt a comprehensive human rights policy in light of rising gun violence in the United States.
The Adrian Dominican Sisters, represented by Sister Judy Byron, OP, were the primary filers of the proposal. Fourteen faith-based organizations from ICCR co-filed.
In a press release, ICCR noted that this amount of support from shareholders – compared to 39% support for a similar proposal in 2019 – “demonstrates shareholders’ mounting concern with the company’s lack of attention to the growing risks of gun violence.” The proposal calls on Smith & Wesson to include in the policy “a description of the processes the company will use to identify, assess, prevent, and mitigate adverse human rights impacts.”
“Undisputedly, something must be done about the misuse of guns in our country,” Sister Judy said in her September 27, 2021, Shareholder Statement. “As a leading firearms manufacturer we genuinely believe Smith & Wesson has the knowledge and the expertise to engineer the solutions we need to reduce gun violence and save lives.”
A consultant to the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Portfolio Advisory Board, Sister Judy went on to note that the intention of the proposal is not to put Smith & Wesson out of business or to abolish the Second Amendment. “We seek to make the business, the products, and the consumers who buy them, safer,” she said. “We seek – as everyone here must surely do – to save lives.”
September 30, 2021, Adrian, Michigan – “Our life is a process of awakening. Each of us is precious to God. The wonderful thing that I have witnessed over years of spiritual direction is that God knows each of us intimately and will lead us in ways that we can follow.”
That was the introduction that Sister Patricia Benson, OP, made as she opened her September 23, 2021, spirituality talk, “Awakening Journey with God.” Her presentation was the latest in a series of live streamed talks sponsored by the Spirituality Committee of the Adrian Dominican Sisters.
Throughout her talk, Sister Pat spoke of how God led her through various stages of her life. After each stage, she paused and posed a question, giving her audience a few minutes to reflect on their answer. “Please look at your relationship with God and Jesus and know that God will work within your personal circumstances and gifts – but sometimes in surprising and maybe challenging ways,” she said.
Sister Pat spoke of her young life and how her views of the world were shaped by those of her family and neighbors – and how her world “got bigger” when she attended Catholic school. Her teen years were marked by the “usual adolescent struggles,” but her view of God was growing, too. “I chose to enter religious life specifically to have time for God in my life,” she said.
She went on to speak of her formation years and the “breath of fresh air and a deeper freedom to think and explore” that came through Vatican II and the Adrian Dominican Congregation’s three-year Chapter of Renewal, which set the stage for sweeping changes in response to Vatican II.
After her undergraduate study, Sister Pat said, she was invited to work towards a master’s degree in either mathematics or theology. “Although since high school I thought I would be a math and science teacher for the rest of my life, this provoked a serious discernment,” leading to her decision to study theology, she said. “Being introduced to the depth and breadth of the Christian tradition with its various schools of thought opened my mind to the reality of theology as faith seeking understanding.”
Sister Pat went on to discuss her developing understanding that humanity is “trashing Earth, God’s beautiful creation,” and that her American lifestyle made her complicit in this destruction. But she concluded with her deeper understanding of God’s forgiveness and unconditional love – and how our understanding of the universe has led to an expanded view of God.
“The Infinite Mystery has had to include a loving, compassionate mystery,” Sister Pat said. “The God who created everything in the universe – perhaps multiverse – loves it and continues to hold it. Paul’s image of the Body of Christ has had to grow to include kinship with all of creation and cosmic dimensions.”
Watch the recording of Sister Pat’s presentation below.