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May 18, 2022, Adrian, Michigan – As members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), we Adrian Dominican Sisters strongly support this statement deploring the racial hatred and gun violence that led to the devastating loss of life in Buffalo, New York, with the mass shooting of May 14, 2022. The LCWR statement follows.

Violence and White Supremacy Cannot Stand

Our hearts are breaking as we once again come face to face with the racial hatred and gun violence that infect our land. The members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious extend their condolences to the Buffalo community and all who lost loved ones, friends, and neighbors and we say once more violence and white supremacy cannot stand. And we know that is not enough!

Racism is a virus, every bit as deadly as COVID-19, that has infected our nation since its inception and until we address it, people of color will continue to die, and our nation will continue to bleed. Racism, whether the institutional racism which privileges some at the expense of others or the daily acts of hate and discrimination, diminishes us all. It denies that most profound truth, that all of us are created in God’s image and each of us is entitled to lives of dignity and respect.

As women religious in a predominantly white organization, we recognize how we have been privileged. We lament our silence in the face of white supremacist ideology, and we acknowledge our complicity in institutional racism. We ask forgiveness of our sisters and brothers of color, and we pray for our nation’s healing. And we know that is not enough!

It is time for bold, decisive action. We pledge to raise our voices and to act to end the violence and white supremacy which has cost us dearly. In the wake of the horror of Buffalo, we rededicate ourselves to LCWR’s commitment to dismantle systemic racism and white privilege and effect transformative change in our hearts, our organization, and our society and we pledge anew to build God’s beloved community. We will not permit that violence and white supremacy to stand!

LCWR is an association of leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States. The conference has nearly 1,300 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.


March 22, 2022, Baltimore, Maryland – As the United States and the world come to grips with the evil of racism, Black Catholics in the United States have been involved in a letter-writing campaign to correct a blatant form of racial discrimination in the Catholic Church. No Black Catholics from the United States have been canonized as saints.
 
A CNN video describes the activism of Ralph E. Moore Jr., a lay man who grew up in an African-American Catholic parish in Baltimore in which all of the priests were white, and no Black images were included in the church. Moore organized the letter-writing campaign to canonize six African Americans. Some 1,500 letters were sent to Pope Francis in December 2021.
 
The six U.S. Black Catholics recommended for canonization are: Servant of God Mother Mary Lange (1794-1882), founder of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, Baltimore, Maryland; Venerable Pierre Toussaint (1766-1863), a philanthropist who, in spite of raising funds for St. Patrick Cathedral in New York, was not allowed to attend the dedication because of his race; Venerable Sister Henriette DeLille (1812-1862), founder of the Sisters of the Holy Family, New Orleans; Servant of God Julia Greeley (c. 1833-1918), of Denver, a philanthropist with special concern for the poor; Venerable Father Augustus Tolton (1854-1897), of Chicago, the first recognized African American priest in the United States; and Servant of God Sister Thea Bowman (1937-1990), of Jackson, Mississippi, an educator, evangelist, and social justice activist who spoke out against racism in the Catholic Church.  
 
In the Catholic process of canonization, a Servant of God is one whose cause for canonization has begun. Once a person is recognized by the pope as having lived a life of “heroic virtue,” he or she is named Venerable. The next step, Beatification, requires an arduous investigation into the candidate’s life and writings and one authenticated miracle resulting from prayer to the candidate. Full canonization requires two miracles. 
 
More information on the six candidates for sainthood – as well as on other prominent Black Catholics – can be found on the Black Catholic Project Equity and Inclusion page of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ website. The page is organized by the Toward Communion: Undoing Racism, Embracing Diversity Committee formed in response to the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ 2016 Enactment on Racism and Diversity.
 

Feature photo: Depicted on a bookmark are African American candidates for sainthood, from left, Father Augustus Tolton, Sister Henriette DeLille, Julia Greeley, Pierre Toussaint, Mother Mary Lange, and Sister Thea Bowman.


 

 

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