I send you my warmest greetings as we enter into these first cold days of February!
The United States and Canada, as you know, both recognize February as Black History Month. This month's JPIC newsletter includes links to many resources, events, and initiatives across our network that celebrate and pay tribute to Black history -- which is, of course, all of our history. Our office will host three online Black History Month events this year, starting with a virtual movie night this coming Monday, February 6. See below for more details.
February 22 is also Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. In "Spiritual Resources," below, you'll find some resources for Lenten reflection and social action from some of our partner organizations, along with other news, resources, and calls to action across a broad spectrum of topics relating to our JPIC commitments.
Because this month also plays host to Valentine's Day, February is often overloaded with pink and red hearts. The heart is not only the symbol of Valentine's Day, but also (of course) of love in general, and the core symbol of the Society of the Sacred Heart. I have adopted (and invite you to join me in) an intentional practice, every time I see Valentine's Day decorations, of saying a prayer asking for a strengthened commitment to act for justice. After all, as Dr. Cornel West says, "Justice is what love looks like in public."
May the pierced Heart of Jesus continue to lead us to a love that acts in the world as justice.
Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Coordinator
p.s. Have you looked at the JPIC International database lately? The JPIC Database is a living resource of the concrete JPIC commitments of the Society of the Sacred Heart as they show up in the 44 countries around the world where the Society has a presence. If you are part of a Sacred Heart ministry in the USC province involved in some facet of JPIC work, check your ministry's database entry and see if it needs an update. (You can send updates and photos to me to pass along for the database. Forward them to email@example.com.)
Black History Month resources and events:
The Office of Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation in the Stuart Center for Mission will present three special events in February in honor of Black History Month.
Monday, February 6, 5:00-7:00 pm EST
Virtual Movie Night + Discussion
Our film selection is the documentary Going Home Like a Shooting Star: Thea Bowman's Journey to Sainthood. This 2022 documentary presents the life of Sister Thea Bowman, an African American Catholic Franciscan Sister who used her powerful gifts to educate and challenge the church and society to grow in racial inclusivity.
Sunday, February 19, 7:00-8:00 pm EST
Virtual Prayer Service: Enslavement, Dignity, Healing and Justice
We gather as a Sacred Heart family during Black History Month to pay tribute in a special way to those women and men in our Province's own history who were enslaved by the Society, and to pray for a renewed commitment to racial justice in our hearts, our communities, our institutions, our nation, and our world.
Thursday, February 23, 2:00-3:00 pm EST
"Live from the Archive": Black History in our Provincial Archives
Join Provincial Archivist Carolyn Osiek, RSCJ, and JPIC Coordinator Megan Wilson-Reitz for an interview live streamed from the Provincial Archives in St. Louis, Missouri. Lyn and Megan will examine some of the documents in the archive that reference moments in Black history here in the Province, and discuss what these documents and this history mean for us today.
Additional Black History Month events and resources from across our network:
Call to Action: Pray for Reparations -- NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice is calling on advocates to pray for the success of their long-term campaign to encourage President Biden to sign an executive order calling for an H.R.40-style reparations study commission. Click here to sign the prayer pledge.
Event: February 15 -- This is Our Story: Changing Narratives to Build Racial Equity - sponsored by the Washington National Cathedral. As American society faces a reckoning with racialized symbols in our public art and monuments, it’s worth asking: Who, and what, is most important to us? In-person + livestreamed.
Event: February 21 -- Gathering Voices: Fellowship of Reconciliation in Conversation with Dr. Zoharah Simmons, Civil Rights Movement veteran, National Council of Elders, SNCC Legacy Project, subject of the new biography Stayed on Freedom: The Long History of Black Power through One Family's Journey. Register here for Zoom link.
Resource: Black History Month Calendar created by the Racial Justice Working Group under the Justice Committee, JPIC Office & Sisters of St. Joseph Brentwood. Each day offers an opportunity to bear witness, learn, and reflect.
Resource: NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice has published an online 2023 Black History Month Calendar featuring Black scholars, justice-seekers, legal advocates, and others who bravely carried the cross of Black Resistance.
Resource: "A Parish Journey for Racial Justice + Equity -- Slavery and the Catholic Church" - recording of a webinar offered by Fr. Chris Kellerman, SJ for the Ignatian Solidarity Network in January 2023, discussing his new book, All Oppression Shall Cease: A History of Slavery, Abolitionism, and the Catholic Church. Recording available now on YouTube.
Peace and Justice
The U.S. National Black Sisters’ Conference has issued a statement calling for justice for 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, who died after being brutally beaten by police officers in Memphis, Tennessee last month. Their statement calls for an end to police brutality against Black and poor communities, the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021, more oversight of police departments by the Justice Department, and local and state police reform. Read the full statement here.
Tomorrow, February 4, is designated by the UN as the International Day of Human Fraternity, which aims to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence that benefits all humanity, including future generations.
Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand recently announced that Canada is officially buying 88 F-35 fighter jets from American weapons giant Lockheed Martin in a phased approach despite widespread opposition & controversy. Click here to sign the petition to the House of Commons in opposition. Click here to read more from the No Fighter Jets Coalition.
Call to Action from the Catholic Mobilizing Network: Take action now to stop the executions of Leonard "Raheem" Taylor, scheduled to be executed February 7 by the state of Missouri, and of John Balentine, scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas on February 8.
February 24 marks the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a year that has seen great suffering in this part of the world. Join faith leaders from around the world in praying for a cease-fire in Ukraine before this war enters its second year.
Walking with Youth and People on the Move
Catholic Sisters Walking with Migrants: Kino Border Initiative invites Catholic women religious to apply to participate in a month-long program at the border that combines service, education and advocacy to equip Sisters as truth-tellers about what migrants are facing at the US-Mexico border today and to return to their communities as agents of welcome. Slots are available for the April, August and September cohorts this year.
February 8 is the Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, patron saint of victims and survivors of human trafficking. The Talitha Kum intiative to end human trafficking invites all to participate in its Online Pilgrimage of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking, “Journeying in Dignity" from 9:30 to 4:30pm (Rome time) on February 8. You can follow the live stream on: www.prayagainsttrafficking.net.
100 Days of Prayer resource for Feb. 5-11 (Created by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange: www.100daysofprayer.net)
Living a Laudato Si’ Lent - Lenten Calendar 2023, from the Office of Peace, Justice, and Ecological Integrity of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth.
All My Relations: A Heart Open to the Whole World - Lenten Calendar 2023, also from the Office of Peace, Justice, and Ecological Integrity of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth.
LENT 2023: Finding God In the Chaos. Ignatian Solidarity Network features daily email reflections from writers across the Ignatian network each day of Lent, to dive into the story of hope, of justice, of God’s presence in a chaotic, broken world. SIgn up for daily emails here: https://ignatiansolidarity.net/lent.
The International Union of Superiors General is offering a Massive Intercontinental Online Formation course this month entitled "History, Theology and Ministerial Practice of Synodality." It is intended for pastoral agents, religious women and men, laity, priests, Bishops and many other people who would like to know in a simple but deep way what Synodality is about. This Course will be facilitated virtually and offered at no cost to participants worldwide during the month of February, 2023, in English, Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese and German. Click here to learn more.
News from the Stuart Center:
The Young Adult and Vocation Ministry Office of the Society of the Sacred Heart, United States – Canada Province, invites you to the launch party of our latest initiative, SacredHeartDNA dream~now act.
SacredHeartDNA is an intergenerational group of young people and Religious of the Sacred Heart that was founded by Reyna González, RSCJ, Director of Young Adult and Vocation Ministry, in March of 2022. This group firmly believes a common thread, or shared DNA, unites all who’ve experienced the Society of the Sacred Heart’s mission to discover and reveal God’s love in the heart of the world. Having experienced this mission in different ways, together, they have identified a strong connection between the Society’s mission and the values and dreams of younger generations. Please join us to learn more about our upcoming projects and initiatives. The official launch of SacredHeartDNA will take place on February 24, 2023, in two different forms – virtually and in-person in St. Louis.
SacredHeartDNA Launch Party Zoom | Click to RSVP
February 24, 2023 | 4:00 PM CST