January 6, 2017, West Palm Beach, Florida – The Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates of the Florida Mission Chapter wasted little time in beginning to carry out their resolution to work collectively and individually to abolish the death penalty in the State of Florida.
About a month after the Chapter’s Fall Assembly in which they made this resolution, the Sisters hung a banner on the fence outside of Casa, an Adrian Dominican congregational house and the location of the Florida Mission Chapter offices. The banner asks onlookers to “pray with us to abolish the death penalty.”
They hung the banner in time to commemorate the World Day to Abolish the Death Penalty, November 30.
Also on that day, 10 Adrian Dominicans from West Palm Beach participated in a Mass at St. Ignatius of Loyola, the cathedral of the Diocese of Palm Beach. All seven Catholic dioceses in Florida celebrated Mass that day to pray for the abolition of the death penalty.
“Dioceses and households were encouraged to shine lights that night to call attention to this important issue,” said Sister Judith Rimbey, OP. The Diocese of Palm Beach “had a searchlight piercing the night sky. That night, we placed luminarias in front of our banner."
The Chapter’s next effort is a letter writing campaign to Florida Governor Rick Scott and to their state representatives, asking them to abolish the death penalty.
The Sisters and Associates of the Florida Chapter were inspired to focus on advocacy against the death penalty after hearing a powerful presentation by Dale Recinella, an attorney who, for 18 years, has served as the Catholic Correctional Chaplain for Florida’s Death Row.
As a Congregation, the Adrian Dominican Sisters have taken a corporate stance against the death penalty. The Congregation’s statement reads, “We reverence the life and dignity of every human person and oppose the death penalty, urging support and compassion for the victims of violence and restorative justice for the offenders.”
Feature photo: Showing off the Florida Mission Chapter’s new death penalty banner are, from left, Sisters Teresita Ruiz, OP, Margarita Ruiz, OP, Mary Jean Clemenger, OP, and Judith Rimbey, OP.