This week we celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart (June 16th). As a ministry of the Society of the Sacred Heart's US-Canada Province, The Stuart Center for Mission draws its vision from the spirituality of the Sacred Heart -- a devotion that roots all of our practical work for social and structural justice in our commitment to love. From our contemplation of the Pierced Heart of Jesus in the heart of wounded humanity flows the desire to commit ourselves with greater passion and compassion to justice, peace, and the integrity of creation.
The month of June also contains other important dates: Juneteenth, the holiday marking the end of chattel slavery in the U.S., is celebrated on June 19th, while Canada marks Indigenous People's Day on June 21st. The month of June is also recognized in both the United States and Canada as LGBTQ+ Pride Month. In this newsletter, you will find a few links and resources to learn more about these dates and their connections to our own work for justice and mission. You will also find links to programming and events from The Stuart Center for Mission as well as our many partners in mission around the US and Canada. Please read on, and join us this month in our efforts to learn more about how we may act for justice, work for peace, and care for creation.
Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Coordinator
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News from the Stuart Center for Mission:
TONIGHT, Thursday, June 15 at 7pm ET, the JPIC Office will host a Zoom discussion with Linda Kato, RSCJ, Ph.D. entitled "Teaching the HERstory of Asia to Fellow Adult Learners 60 Years and Older: A Sacred Heart Educational Response to North American Age Demographics." We will be live streaming from The Stuart Center for Mission in Washington, DC. Register here to receive the Zoom link!
This summer, our JPIC Office will host a community book read of Fr. James Martin's 2017 book Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity. Facilitated discussions about the book will be held via Zoom. All are welcome to participate. Click here to learn more!
We were proud to join hundreds of Catholic sisters and their allies all across the United States on June 2 for a nationwide prayer vigil to end gun violence. This prayer vigil was a collaborative project of the Nuns Against Gun Violence coalition. Many thanks to the RSCJ, Associates, Sacred Heart school staff, alumnae and students who joined us all across the province to lift our lights in prayer. Printable prayer vigil materials and a novena prayer against gun violence can be found at this link.
Did you miss our announcement last month about our new sticker collection? Our extraordinary graphic designer Beth Ponticello has designed a number of stickers to help spread the word about The Stuart Center for Mission's vision for justice, peace, and the integrity of creation. There are 15 sticker designs altogether! Click here to see and request some for your own use!
The Stuart Center for Mission is pleased to serve as a sponsor for this year's Franciscan Action Network "impossible fundraiser." FAN's annual donor gala dinner will be served this year, not to donors, but to guests of the Franciscan Center in Baltimore, which provides emergency assistance and supportive outreach to persons who are economically disadvantaged. Gala tickets fund the donation of a meal and provide access to FAN's online donor program on Wednesday, June 28 at 7pm Eastern (4pm Pacific) featuring a panel focusing on Franciscan care for and solidarity with the poor. Please join us in supporting this worthy endeavor! Buy tickets here.
In JPIC International News:
Have you looked at the JPIC International Learning Hub lately? Click here for the latest review of new content added in May.
This past Monday, the JPIC International office hosted a meeting for JPIC links and teams representing all of the Society of the Sacred Heart's provinces around the world. The USC Province JPIC Commission attended this meeting to connect with our counterparts doing this work across the international Society. Watch this newsletter for announcements of new initiatives emerging from these international conversations, including the creation of a new global Transformative Community of Practice on the Integrity of Creation, new programs and resources from the JPIC Learning Hub, and more!
Learning Corner - June events FAQ
Many movements for justice are celebrating important dates this month. Here are a few Frequently Asked Questions about these celebrations, for those interested in learning more:
About Pride Month:
Q) How did June become designated as Pride month in the first place?
- A) You can learn more in the US Library of Congress Article: "Learn the History of Pride: How Activists Fought to Create LGBTQ+ Pride" and about The History of Pride in Canada.
Q) Are there any good resources on the intersections between Catholic teaching and LGBTQ+ identity?
- A) There are! You can follow news and articles written by, for, and about LGBTQ+ Catholics at New Ways Ministry or Outreach: an LGBTQ Catholic Ministry. Or join us for our summer book read of Fr. James Martin's book, Building a Bridge.
Q) In the US we often see acronyms like LGBTQ+ but in Canada we see 2SLGBTQIA+? What do all these letters mean, and why are they different?
- A) It can be confusing to keep track of all those letters. Learn more about these acronyms -- and the variations in terminology between the two countries -- here.
About Juneteenth in the USA:
Q) Where can I learn more about the history of Juneteenth?
- A) There is a wonderful Juneteenth Digital Toolkit available from the Smithsonian National Museum for African-American Culture and Heritage to learn about and embrace the history of Freedom Day, or read the recently updated New York Times article "Juneteenth: The History of a Holiday."
Q) I'm white. Can I celebrate Juneteenth?
- A) Yes! For advice on how to participate in Juneteenth celebrations as a white person with respect, cultural humility and intentionality, consider these suggestions from the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois.
Q) I'd love to attend a local Juneteenth event in person or online. How can I find one?
- A) One good way to find an event is by searching popular events sites like Eventbrite, where you can filter your search to find virtual or local events in your area.
About Indigenous People's Day in Canada (June 21):
Q) What is National Indigenous People's Day?
- A) National Indigenous Peoples Day is a day to honor First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples across Canada, but it's also a reminder of the work yet required for reconciliation in Canada. Watch this video to learn more.
Q) I am not Indigenous. How can I learn more about Indigenous culture in Canada today?
- A) One great way to experience Indigenous culture today is by attending a Pow Wow. The Anishinabek Nation, a political advocate for 39 member First Nations across Ontario, lists many events in its Great Lakes Pow Wow Guide, along with some rules of etiquette for visitors. Always do your best to learn expectations for guests in advance.
- A2) Read, watch, or listen: Pick a film to watch from the National Film Board of Canada’s catalog of over 200 Indigenous-created films; find a good book to read by an indigenous author; or explore podcasts with Indigenous themes.
Q) I'd love to attend an Indigenous People's Day event online or in my area. How can I find one?
- A) One good way to start is by searching popular events sites like Eventbrite, where you can filter your search to find virtual or local events.
Q) How can I be a better ally to Indigenous people in my community and region?
- A) Download the Montreal Indigenous Community NETWORK's Ally Toolkit, designed to help educate non-Indigenous individuals and groups on how they can use their privilege to listen, shift power dynamics, and take concrete steps towards (Re)conciliation-Action.
Webinar: This Thursday, June 15, 3:30 pm ET -- The Ignatian Solidarity Network presents a free webinar in its Summer Program series: "Radical Listening: A Radical Approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Racial Justice with John Igwebuike, Ph.D." Additional programs in the summer series include trainings in anti-racism and community organizing in July. Learn more and register here.
New resource available: A list of Native boarding schools affiliated with the Catholic Church was published on a newly constructed website a few weeks ago. The list offers details about 87 Catholic-run Native boarding schools across 22 states. A collaborative group of archivists, historians, concerned Catholics, and tribal members compiled and refined this resource to help facilitate access to information for survivors of Native boarding schools, their descendants, and Tribal Nations.
Peace and Justice
URGENT ACTION ITEM: If you live in the U.S., please call or write your Senators TODAY to urge them to vote NO on S.J. Res. 20, a resolution introduced as an attempt to undo a safety regulation enacted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The regulation closes a loophole related to arm braces, a relatively recent invention that has been exploited to evade long-standing regulations on short-barrelled rifles. Read the sign-on letter here. Find your Senators' contact information here.
Sign on now to the Fellowship of Reconciliation's letter of faith leaders supporting Pope Francis' call for a ceasefire in Ukraine. You can sign both as an individual and/or organization.
Franciscan Action Network (FAN) will host a webinar Thursday, June 15 at 1-2pm ET exploring the narratives and propaganda about the war in Ukraine as well as opportunities for diplomacy. Click here for more information and to register.
TAKE ACTION: U.S. Residents -- tell Congress to renew PEPFAR, the program for international aid to eradicate HIV/AIDS. PEPFAR is widely considered a global success in saving lives impacted by HIV/AIDS, especially in Africa. Contact your representatives to urge them to renew this program by the end of this fiscal year. Click here to learn more.
June 16, Hartford, CT: National Safer Communities Summit. Gun violence prevention leaders from across the nation will gather to coordinate implementation of the 2022 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and plan for next steps. Register now to attend.
June 17-24: World Unity Week 2023: New Earth Rising -- World UNITY Week is an annual FREE, online 8-day event embracing the mid-year Solstice, Yoga Day, UN Refugee Day, World Peace & Prayer Day and a vast array of interconnected global content. This year World UNITY Week launches the 99 Days of Peace through Unity culminating in Peace Week in September. Learn more and register here.
The Fellowship of Reconciliation hosts a "Gathering Voices" Zoom conversation on Tuesday, June 20th at 4 pm ET between Ariel Gold and Shane Claiborne, a best-selling author, renowned Christian activist, and self-proclaimed “recovering sinner.” Shane is the visionary leader of The Simple Way in Philadelphia, co-director of Red Letter Christians, co-creator of RAWtools (transforming guns into garden tools), and author of several books. Their conversation will focus on disrupting Christian Nationalism, ending the worship of guns, grassroots neighborhood community building, and much more. Learn more and register here.
Registration is now open for "Journeying Toward Restoration," the Catholic Mobilizing Network's National Catholic Conference on Restorative Justice. It will be held at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, MN, Oct 5 - 7, 2023. Learn more and register here.
Integrity of Creation
The Catholic Sisters of the International Union of Superior General (UISG) have launched a policy brief outlining 9 recommendations to address the challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution in response to Pope Francis’ encyclical letter Laudato si’. Sr. Patricia Murray, Executive Secretary of UISG says about the new publication, “There are many areas of advocacy for systematic change in which Catholic Sisters can play an active and leading role, particularly in relation to the environment; the potential for religious involvement must be fully harnessed. Time is running out, and humanity cannot afford to procrastinate any longer.” Read the full policy paper here. To learn more about the UISG's international working groups and initiatives in the JPIC sector, click here to read their March/April newsbrief.
People of faith across the U.S. are invited to this summer’s “Laudato Si’ and the U.S. Catholic Church: A Conference Series on Our Common Home,” a virtual gathering on Catholic ecological teachings and practices to be held over a series of evenings from June 14th - July 27th, 2023, co-sponsored by Creighton University and the Catholic Climate Covenant. Click here to learn more.
New Resource: The Global Concerns Committee of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious recently published an article entitled "Integral Ecology and Resurrection" by Diana Marin, MDiv, coordinator of the Dominican Charism Project, who invites readers to use this season of Easter resurrection to invite reflection on experience and consider action towards an intersectional response in the face of the challenges which surround us. Read her reflection here.
Mark your calendar now! The Season of Creation 2023 begins on September 1. This year's theme is "Let Justice and Peace Flow". Learn more about this year's theme and find resources for planning events, programs and prayers here.
Walking with People on the Move
June 20th is World Refugee Day, an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the courage of those around the world who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict and persecution. It is also a critical time to join in collective action and advocacy in support of refugees and asylum seekers, including those who have resettled in the U.S, who are seeking protection at the border, and who remain overseas. Church World Service has put together a resource with the Top Five Actions to Honor Refugees on June 20.
The National Partnership for New Americans is hosting a webinar Monday, June 26th at 2pm ET (11am PT) on "Immigrant Communities on the Frontlines of Climate Disasters." NPNA’s Climate Justice Collaborative and member organizations from across the U.S. will share how immigrant justice organizations have been responding to extreme weather in a way that keeps our communities safe, builds power, and fights for racial and economic justice in our disaster response policies. Click here to register.
The American Friends Service Committee and the Interfaith Immigration Coalition will host a panel conversation Thursday, June 29th on the meaning of Independence Day in today's global migration context. Event begins 7pm ET on Zoom. Who is Independence Day for? How does nationalism impact migration policy and the individual experiences of migrants? How has the United States lived – and not lived - into values of liberty and equality in its approach to migration? What is our vision for a U.S. immigration system that truly embodies these values? What is our vision for a decolonized global migration system? Click here to register.
U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking will host a national conference in celebration of their 10th anniversary. Breaking Barriers to End Human Trafficking provides the opportunity to reconnect with friends and colleagues, share ideas, exchange information, and learn more about efforts to end human trafficking. The conference will be held September 28-30, 2023 in Chicago, IL and will feature Angela Reed, RSM and Christopher Thompson as keynote speakers. Learn more and register here.