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By Mary Minette,
Consultant, Mercy Investment Services
The pillars of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) form a basis for responsible investing that prioritizes the long-term health of our economy, societies, and planet. This has been a key component of the approach of the Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB) since its inception as an important expression of alignment between the investments and the mission of the Adrian Dominican Sisters.
As ESG investing has grown as a share of the overall market, an anti-ESG movement has developed among some politicians and state treasurers, who decry such investments as “woke” capitalism.
New legislation in some states prohibits state contracts and investments with investment firms that use environmental or social indicators to inform investment decisions. Sometimes, government entities may not enter contracts for goods or services without written verification that the vendor will not boycott fossil fuels. Legislation of this nature has been introduced in 37 states, targeting investors who have made climate commitments.
In July, the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee held a series of hearings called “ESG Month” that targeted ESG investors. They introduced bills designed to curtail social and environmental investment and the regulatory powers of the Securities and Exchange Commission to allow for greater disclosure of ESG information. None of these bills is expected to move to the Senate during this session of Congress, but they represent a disturbing trend that would curtail the ability of investors to choose how and where they invest.
In early June, the PAB joined 77 fellow Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility members in a letter asking members of Congress to publicly speak out against these anti-ESG campaigns and efforts to derail environmental and social progress resulting from shareholders’ efforts. The letter encourages members of Congress to advocate for prudent, non-partisan investment practices and to consider the financial damage to state and municipal pension funds due to the anti-ESG legislation.
The PAB will continue to advocate for the importance of addressing these factors in investing and engagement.
July 7, 2022, Adrian, Michigan – In a historic General Chapter, the Adrian Dominican Sisters elected their next Prioress and General Council and set the direction for the next six years.
Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress, formally opened the Congregation’s 19th General Chapter, held June 27 to July 2, 2022, in the Marriott Chicago O’Hare Hotel. The dates and place of General Chapter 2022 were an unprecedented departure from the Congregation’s practice of meeting in Chapter in February at the Motherhouse in Adrian. The changes were made to keep the Sisters who reside at the Motherhouse – as well as the Delegates – as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chapter’s 125 Delegates elected a Prioress and General Council to lead the Congregation through June 30, 2028. They will formally take office in October.
Sister Elise D. García, OP, Prioress-elect, served as Communications Director for the Adrian Dominican Sisters from 2011 until her election to the General Council in 2016. With Sister Carol Coston, OP, she co-founded and co-directed Santuario Sisterfarm, an ecology center in Texas dedicated to cultivating biodiversity and cultural diversity.
Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP, Vicaress/General Councilor-elect, recently completed her ministry as Co-director of the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate, where U.S.-based congregations of Dominican Sisters send their novices for formation in religious life. Sister Lorraine served as Pastoral Associate for Hispanic Ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Anchorage, Alaska, and as Pastoral Associate at Ste. Anne de Detroit, a largely Hispanic parish.
Sister Janice Brown, OP, General Councilor-elect, served in the Detroit-metro region for more than 15 years as Executive Director of two of the Congregation’s literacy centers, Dominican Literacy Center and Siena Literacy Center. Before entering the Congregation in 2003, she was a single mother, raising her daughter and working in banking and finance. She was an Adrian Dominican Associate and, after her daughter lived on her own, felt called to religious life.
Sister Bibiana “Bless” Colasito, OP, General Councilor-elect, was born in the Leyte Province of the Philippines and joined the Dominican Congregation of Our Lady of Remedies in Pampanga, the Philippines, in 2000. That congregation merged with the Adrian Dominican Sisters in 2011. Sister Bless has been involved in school administration and social action, currently serving as Head of the Commission on Family and Life for the Diocese of San Jose, Nueva Ecija, Philippines.
Sister Corinne Sanders, OP, General Councilor-elect, serves as Director of the Office of Sustainability for the Adrian Dominican Sisters and assists the Office of Immigration Services as a paralegal. Before her election to the General Council in 2010, she was principal of Rosarian Academy, sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters and located in West Palm Beach, Florida. She also served as Director of Mission and Ministry at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida, and as Director of Formation for the Congregation.
The General Council-elect succeeds Sisters Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress; Mary Margaret Pachucki, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor; Frances Nadolny, OP, Administrator and General Councilor; and Patricia Harvat, OP, and Elise D. García, OP, General Councilors.
The General Chapter Delegates also approved five Enactments to set the Congregation’s ministerial direction for the next six years. The Enactments were formulated from issues and concerns raised by Sisters and Associates during a virtual Congregational assembly in October 2021 and by groups of Sisters and Associates who submitted issues and action plans in November and December.
The Enactments are:
Diversity: “Challenged by the Gospel and outraged by systems that oppress, dehumanize and deny the image of God in each of us and Earth community, we commit to: acknowledge and repent of our complicity in the divisions prevalent in our church and our world; act to dismantle unjust systems; and build the beloved community in which everyone is cared for, absent of poverty, hunger, and hate.”
Dominican Vowed Life: “We are passionately committed to vowed Dominican life. Trusting in the Spirit and embracing the gift of our charism, we invite women to join us in our call to preach the Gospel.”
Spirituality: “Living in a time of global chaos and Paschal hope, and rooted in our Dominican tradition, we recognize our spiritual longings and those of the world. We commit to deepening our spirituality, attending to the evolutionary awakening of human consciousness and living into the transformation to which we are called both personally and communally.”
Sustainability/Laudato Si’: “Affirming the urgent need to live in right relationship with Earth community, we commit to address the cry of Earth and the cry of those who are poor by joining the Laudato Si’ Action Platform.” Based on a 2015 letter by Pope Francis on Earth, our Common Home, the Laudato Si’ Action Platform is a seven-year plan in which Catholic organizations such as parishes, dioceses, schools, and religious communities commit to working toward seven sustainability goals to heal Earth and work against global climate change.
Women: “Valuing human dignity, and aware of the injustice of patriarchy which maintains the subordinate status of women and girls throughout the world, we strive to attain gender equality and women’s full and equal participation and decision making in church and society.