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April 23, 2021, Adrian, Michigan – As members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, we Adrian Dominican Sisters strongly support this joint statement with the National Black Sisters’ Conference on the Chauvin verdict, calling on “all people of good will and especially people of faith to join us in working for real and sustainable solutions to the racial divide in our country.”
We, the National Black Sisters’ Conference and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, stand together in our commitment to the sacred dignity of each human person as emphasized in Catholic Social Teaching.
In the aftermath of the guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, we recommit to working for real and sustained systemic change in the struggle to end institutional racism in every aspect of our society.
Sadly, we know that the trend of fatal police shootings has only escalated in this country over the last four years. The rate of fatal police shootings among Black Americans is much higher than that of any other ethnic group. Starting with the savage beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles in 1991 up to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the trend of abuse at the hands of law enforcement has alarmingly increased.
In 2020 there were 1,021 fatal police shootings, and in the first three months of this year 213 people have been shot by the police; 30 of whom were African Americans. Police brutality is only one of the many manifestations of systemic racism; but it is one that too often ends in the death of too many young African Americans.
We believe that we are at a crucial moment in race relations in this country. We must acknowledge and work to eradicate the sin of White Privilege that seeks to affirm the false superiority of Anglo-Saxon culture and way of life.
We must as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. admonished us “learn to live together as brothers (and sisters) or perish together as fools.” Therefore, we call upon all people of good will and especially people of faith to join us in working for real and sustainable solutions to the racial divide in our country.
We will not rest and our work will not be done until the belief that all people are created equal and entitled to the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, is a lived reality for every American citizen.
Members of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ General Council are Sisters Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress; Mary Margaret Pachucki, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor; Frances Nadolny, OP, Administrator and General Councilor; Patricia Harvat, OP, General Councilor; and Elise D. García, OP, General Councilor.
April 22, 2021, Adrian, Michigan – Long before the faith traditions of Judaism and Christianity, people felt the presence of God and shared their spiritual and religious practices with people of other cultures. Today, we are called to be about the mission of Jesus, even as people of a variety of faiths come together to share their beliefs.
That is the gist of a special live stream presentation on Spirituality and Mission by Sister Joanne Peters, OP, a Chaplain in the Dominican Life Center and former Co-Chapter Prioress of Adrian Dominican Sisters in the Holy Rosary Mission Chapter. Sister Joanne earned a master’s degree in mission and spirituality from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and spent eight years in Kenya, teaching theology for the formation program of the Assumption Sisters of Eldoret.
“Early humans always felt there was a spirit or fire deep in their being that they could not explain,” Sister Joanne said. Each group throughout the world established its own customs and expressions to relate to God. “From the beginning of time, there was intercultural sharing as different cultures encountered each other,” she said.
Sister Joanne noted that when God was revealed to the Israelites, they developed their own practices but also adapted the stories and customs of the peoples around them. “[But] unlike other people, the Israelites did not share their beliefs,” she said. “They kept to themselves … They never felt called to go out to the gentiles.”
Jesus himself did not go to people of other cultures, Sister Joanne said. “It was the person and message of Jesus that sparked the idea of sharing his message. Not until the end of his life did Jesus speak to his disciples about going to other groups outside of Israel.”
Sister Joanne traced the history of the sense of mission in Christianity, beginning with the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. “The whole power of the Spirit of Jesus was unleashed,” she said. “Now [the disciples] were inspired to take the mission of Jesus to the ends of the Earth.”
Sister Joan traced the missionary spirit of Christianity from the early days of great fervor to the time of Constantine, when the religion became more formalized; the years of 500 to 1000 AD, which brought about great expansion and evangelization – sometimes with Christianity forced upon others.
Sister Joanne spoke of the influence of religious orders such as the Benedictines, Cistercians, Franciscans, and Dominicans and their modeling of community, and of the mid-1900s until Vatican II, when “Christians began to perceive that new ways of mission were needed.” Vatican II began to focus on the connection of mission to spirituality, Sister Joanne said.
“Now we are at a new place,” Sister Joanne said. “The trend is toward intercultural communities. We respect others while sharing our beliefs by the way we live and treat others. Mission is not about imposition or conquest but about God’s love for all people and all creation.”
Watch Sister Joanne’s entire presentation below.