For Whom the Bell Tolls

On Jan. 29, 2004, the IHM Motherhouse joined “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” a national initiative in which religious organizations throughout the country toll their bells whenever there is an execution in the United States.

On the last Wednesday of each month, prior to Mass in the Motherhouse Chapel, a bell is rung once for each person executed during the previous month. The names of the executed and their victims are read aloud, followed by a moment of silence.

A prayer is offered for those executed, their victims, the families of both, and for the state and prison employees who are asked to carry out these orders of execution. The tolling bell serves as a reminder to all who hear it that we are diminished by continuing acts of state-sponsored violence. The “For Whom the Bell Tolls” campaign will continue until the death penalty is abolished in the U.S.

Let us pause for a moment of silence…

For those who were killed in execution chambers this past month,
For their victims whose lives were taken away in violence,
For the families of the victims who continue to mourn,
For the families of the executed, who also continue to mourn
And for the state and prison employees who were asked to carry out these orders of execution.

May the ringing of this bell be a constant reminder that we are all diminished by continuing acts of state-sponsored violence in our country and in our world.