Leadership Taking Action
IHM Leadership Endorsements and Public Statements
Below you will find the most recent endorsements by the IHM Leadership Council of organizational sign-on letters and position statements on issues that are important to the congregation.
April 7, 2021
The IHM Leadership Council recently endorsed a religious leader sign-on letter calling for a “People’s Vaccine” that is available to all as a global common good.
Global vaccine access is essential for a global, just recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, including its health, economic and social impacts. Yet so far, the countries least able to afford the vaccine are the last to access it. Meanwhile, the 10 wealthiest countries in the world have bought up three-quarters of available vaccine doses.
According to Amnesty International, as of last month, 120 countries, accounting for 2.5 billion people, had yet to administer a single vaccine. At the current pace, much of the world may not be vaccinated until 2024. The consequences for the poorest individuals, families and communities will be devastating. However, this slow pace of global distribution is entirely avoidable. Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and other big pharmaceutical companies could share their knowledge and technology, allowing other companies to radically ramp up vaccine production. This letter calls for open sharing of successful vaccine formulas instead of putting intellectual property and the monopolies of pharmaceutical companies ahead of the lives of millions.
The IHM community committed itself to “participate in the shaping of a new world order consonant with Gospel values of harmony and unity peace and justice, and an equitable sharing of the world’s resources” (IHM Assembly 1987). This endorsement is made with this commitment in mind.
Feb. 17, 2021
Recently the Leadership Council of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe, Mich., signed on in support of “God Is on Your Side: A Statement of Catholic Bishops on Protecting LGBT Youth.”
The statement reads:
“As Catholic Bishops in the United States, we join with the Tyler Clementi Foundation in standing up for at-risk LGBT youth in our country.
As we see in the Gospels, Jesus Christ taught love, mercy and welcome for all people, especially for those who felt persecuted or marginalized in any way; and the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that LGBT people are to be treated with “respect, compassion and sensitivity.”
All people of goodwill should help, support, and defend LGBT youth; who attempt suicide at much higher rates than their straight counterparts; who are often homeless because of families who reject them; who are rejected, bullied and harassed; and who are the target of violent acts at alarming rates.
The Catholic Church values the God-given dignity of all human life and we take this opportunity to say to our LGBT friends, especially young people, that we stand with you and oppose any form of violence, bullying or harassment directed at you.”
Since the statement was issued last month, support among Catholics has grown. Additional bishops have endorsed it and a number of women’s and men’s religious communities have signed on expressing their support, including the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
According to the Trevor Project, an LGBT suicide prevention organization, lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are almost five times as likely as their heterosexual peers to attempt suicide and more than one-third of transgender people have attempted suicide by the age of 25.
In the IHM Chapter Direction 2018, the IHM congregation committed its personal, ministerial and congregational efforts and resources to “engage in respectful conversations with those who are seen as different because of ethnicity, class, religion, gender, sexual orientation and political loyalties and challenge stereotypes about those perceived as ‘other.’” Sadly, the “othering” of LGBT people continues to be pervasive within society in general and within the Catholic Church.
About their support for the statement, IHM President Jane Herb stated, “Our Catholic tradition teaches about the intrinsic dignity of every person. This includes LGBT people, who we know are tremendously vulnerable to bullying, harassment, violence and even self-harm. Jesus commands us to ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ We want LGBT youth to know that they are children of God, created by God and loved by God.”
Jan. 19, 2021
IHM Leadership Council signed on to the Joint Interfaith Statement on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is the first international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons, with the ultimate goal of total elimination. It was adopted on July 7, 2017, opened for signature on Sept. 20, 2017 and will become legally binding on Jan. 22, 2021. For the nations that are party to it, the TPNW prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons. For nuclear armed states joining the treaty, it provides a time-bound framework for negotiations leading to the verified and irreversible elimination of their nuclear weapons programs. The purpose of the statement is to celebrate this milestone; inform more people about this important treaty; and encourage more nations (including the United States) to sign on.
The IHM congregation is committed to “working with others of the human community to raise consciousness about and to resist the evils of the arms race and increase militarization throughout the world.” (Assembly 1980). This recommendation for endorsement is made with this commitment in mind.
Jan. 7, 2021
IHM Leadership Council Statement on Repairing Our Democracy
We, the Leadership Council of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe, Mich., were stunned and heartbroken at the insurrection that took place at the United States Capitol as our members of Congress voted to confirm the results of a free and fair election. We are relieved that this attempted coup was thwarted and that the certification of the election was able to continue. While we are grateful that violence was minimal, we mourn with the families of the four individuals whose lives were needlessly lost as a result.
In our Chapter 2018 direction, IHM Sisters and Associates committed ourselves to engaging in respectful conversation with those who are seen as different because of our political loyalties. What unfolded at the Capitol is the direct result of unchecked hyper-partisan hostility fomented by false claims of wide-spread voter fraud perpetuated by President Trump and enabled for too long by members of his own party. While we must begin the difficult work ahead of healing the deep wounds of our nation, we cannot do so unless our nation’s leaders lead by example and publicly acknowledge the legitimacy of this election, firmly disavow election conspiracy theories and urge their supporters to do the same.
We join the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in renewing our commitment to the common good and taking up the challenge to use our energy to repair our democracy and contribute to the work of building a more perfect union. We invite all people of good will to join us and we call on our elected leaders to point the way.