June 22, 2020, Adrian, Michigan – The General Council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters General Council supports the following statement of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) on the Supreme Court’s DACA ruling and the renewed commitment to the work of dismantling systems that oppress people of color.
The LCWR’s statement is as follows:
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious is grateful that the Supreme Court struck down President Trump's attempt to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The Court's ruling safeguards the right of 700,000 DACA recipients to live and work in the country that is their home. This is an enormous victory for the immigrant youth who have led the challenge to the Trump administration's attempt to end the program that has protected our colleagues, students, neighbors, and friends from the threat of deportation.
DACA recipients have long contributed to our communities and our economy. They are teachers and engineers, specialist and essential workers of every kind. Nearly 30,000 DACA recipients are among the healthcare workers combating the outbreak of COVID-19 working to prevent the spread of the virus and to save the lives of those infected.
While we welcome the Court's ruling, we recognize that this is not a permanent solution. We call on members of Congress to move expeditiously to pass legislation that will provide lasting stability for DACA recipients, those with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and Dreamers, their families and our communities. It is long past time to enact a Dream Act that provides a path to citizenship without including funding for detention, deportation, or border militarization, or provisions that would limit opportunities for family reunification. The House of Representatives has already passed the bipartisan American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (HR 6). It is time for the Senate to do the same.
Catholic sisters will continue to advocate for bipartisan legislation that addresses the injustices in our current immigration system. We will continue to stand in solidarity with our black and brown neighbors who seek the justice and dignity that is their right.
We note that this decision comes as Black people and their allies have courageously organized to demand an end to police brutality, systemic racism, and white supremacy. Our commitment to the gospel mandate to uphold the dignity of all people requires that we recommit ourselves to the work of dismantling all those systems that oppress people of color and to advocate for Black lives and the protection of immigrants.
(LCWR is an association of leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States. The conference has approximately 1350 members, who represent about 80 percent of the 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.)
Members of the Adrian Dominican Sisters General Council are Sisters Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress; Frances Nadolny, OP, Administrator and General Councilor; Mary Margaret Pachucki, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor; and Patricia Harvat, OP, and Elise D. García, OP, General Councilors.
Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates join in the 2017 Climate March.
February 20, 2020, Adrian, Michigan – As we celebrate World Day of Social Justice on February 20, 2020, a number of Adrian Dominican Sisters reflect on their call as Christians and as Dominicans to work toward social justice and to advocate for those who are denied it in any way.
“Our commitment to peace and social justice is very Dominican,” said Sister Kathleen Nolan, OP, Director of the Adrian Dominican Congregation’s Office for Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation. “It’s part of our DNA because of our charism of searching for truth and speaking truth – veritas. There’s no greater truth than the Gospel call to justice and following in the Gospel values.”
Members of the Dominican Order work together to respond to social justice issues. The International Dominican Commission for Justice and Peace is made up of Justice and Peace Promoters of the world’s regions and continents. Each of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Mission Chapters has a Justice and Peace Promoter to help coordinate the efforts of the Chapter in various issues of peace and justice.
Sister Patricia Erickson, OP, Justice and Peace Promoter, said the Florida Mission Chapter has worked for years advocating for the repeal of the death penalty in their state. Sister Patricia has also been very active in working toward a just immigration reform and just treatment of immigrants. A nurse practitioner, she serves every Saturday at clinics in Mexico for people who live in Mexico while awaiting asylum hearings in the United States.
The Dominican Midwest Mission Chapter, based in Chicago, has been working on immigration issues for years. Sisters and Associates “respond to the social, educational, legal, and spiritual needs of documented or undocumented immigrants” through service such as weekly prayer at a detention center for immigrants, observing and reporting on court procedures for detainees, and serving as literacy tutors.
Sister JoAnn Fleischaker, OP, participates in a monthly public witness in Chicago with Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants. “The mission is to have a collective voice seeking justice for immigrants,” she said. “We respond to the Gospel mandate to uphold the dignity of each person.”
Sister Judy Byron, OP, Program Director for the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center (ICPJ) based in Seattle, Washington, said much of the organization’s work deals with justice for women, such as those who work in agriculture and are subjected to sexual abuse. The ICPJ also offers programs to educate the public about human trafficking and, from its beginnings in the 1990s, with the housing issue.
Sister Virginia King, OP – Justice and Peace Promoter for the Great Lakes Dominican Mission Chapter based in Detroit – has focused on climate change since she ministered in California. Climate change “is aggravated by our use of coal and gas,” she said. “Green energy is where I’ve put some energy and focus to address climate change, to use less of the polluting energies and more of the green energies.”
Sister May Cano, OP, Justice and Peace Promoter for Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter based in the Philippines, deals with a variety of issues in her work with the Diocese of Kalookan. She also has a unique focus, working with family members of victims of extrajudicial killings – people killed, with the permission of the government, because they are suspected of being drug dealers or users.
While the Sisters and Associates might focus on different specific justice issues, they see those issues as connected. “They’re all part of the whole,” Sister Kathleen said. “We need to see those [issues] as connected, as respect for life – all life, not just human life. All life is the issue.”
Sister Janice Holkup, OP, Justice and Peace Promoter for the Dominican West Mission Chapter said justice work is “all about values. My values are human values, values that support justice for all.”
The Sisters also recognize their justice work as rooted in the Gospel and their faith. “Since from initial formation and as a young religious, I was exposed and had worked for justice and peace,” Sister May said. “I am inspired by the Gospel of truth, to proclaim the Gospel to the lowly, free the prisoners, and so on.”
Sister Patricia agrees. “My faith life is based on the Gospel, and that’s where I learned what justice and peace means – through what I read and through what Jesus teaches me through the Gospel,” she said.
Many of the Sisters said their justice ministry is a challenge because there is widespread injustice. “You have to figure out where you’re going to put your energies,” said Sister Virginia. Sister Judy said added challenges are the need to raise funds for resources and the political environment.
But the Sisters also find hope as they continue in their justice advocacy. Sister Patricia finds hope in the immigrants and asylum seekers. “The people are in such dire circumstances,” she said. But “along with their faith, they have hope that things will be better for them.” She is also encouraged by the number of younger people who are becoming involved in work for social justice.
“If enough people come together, we can make a difference for the common good,” Sister Janice said.
More information on how Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates are involved in justice issues can be found on the Congregation’s Engaged in the Mission page. The website also offers opportunities to advocate for justice and peace through its action alert page.