IHM Leadership Council Endorsements and Public Statements 2016

Dec. 21, 2016

IHM Leadership Council recently endorsed the Catholic Climate Covenant’s “Clean Power Plan Support Letter by U.S. Catholic Leaders.” 

The Clean Power Plan (CPP) is the Obama Administration’s signature greenhouse gas policy and will reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants 30 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. The CPP is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit in response to litigation from industry and 23 GOP state attorneys general. The CPP is seen by many around the world as an important bellwether of how the United States will proceed following the COP21 Paris Agreement.

After the election, the Catholic Climate Covenant rethought its advocacy around the Clean Power Plan and decided to revise its Clean Power Plan Support Letter. They changed two things about our CPP letter: They have decided to address it to ALL elected leaders instead of just the courts. They did this because they think, given the election, this will be a more powerful statement from Catholics and hope that, despite President-elect Trump’s opposition, states will move forward with CPP plans. They also decided to change the timing of delivery of the letter to just after the inauguration in order to demonstrate strong support of the plan right at the moment our new legislators take office.

This endorsement was made with the IHM commitment to “develop and act out of an ecological consciousness (1994 Enactment on Eco-Justice)” in mind, particularly as it relates to the community’s responsible investment work with DTE to promote sustainable energy and address climate change.

Nov. 16, 2016

The Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe, Michigan stand in solidarity with those who suffer in a world characterized by fragmentation, violence and poverty. We are committed to nurturing a reconciling and healing community among ourselves and beyond and to live and work nonviolently toward a world of peace with justice.

Reflecting upon the widening divisions we face in the wake of our national election, we, the IHM Leadership Council, renew our commitment to contemplation, dialogue and nonviolent action. At this time it is critical that we honor the pain of, and stand up for, all who feel increasingly fearful, vulnerable and marginalized, including undocumented immigrants, people of color and our sisters and brothers of other faiths. We must also listen deeply and lovingly to the voices of those in our nation and globally who are personally experiencing the painful reality of rising economic inequality. It is also imperative that we listen to, as Pope Francis said, “both the cry of the Earth and cry of the poor” and declare our responsibility for the well-being of not only our human family but of the larger living world.

In the days, weeks and months ahead, let us cultivate safe spaces, processes and opportunities to listen to and dialogue with each other about the root causes of the deep divisions we are experiencing. Let us model civil discourse marked by mutual respect and a genuine concern for each other and the common good. Let us walk in the footsteps of Jesus as we use our collective voice and resources in collaboration with others to establish justice, which reflects God’s abundant love and desire that all may have life. We invite our staff, family, friends and members of the communities where we minister to walk with us.

Nov. 3, 2016

The IHM Leadership Council has issued a public statement solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota, whose sacred lands and water supply are threatened by the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“We, the Leadership Council of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary express our solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota, whose sacred lands and water supply are threatened by the Dakota Access Pipeline. We recognize and respect the sacredness and interdependence of all creation. We are aware that when we lose reverence for and awe of creation, as well as an understanding of our place as partners with the Earth community, our sense of God and of ourselves is diminished.

“If constructed, the pipeline would run under both the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, endangering not only the drinking water of the Standing Rock Sioux, but a major source of fresh water for many other communities downstream. We are also concerned about the impact the pipeline would have on our global climate. It would carry roughly half a million barrels of crude oil per day to Gulf Coast refineries or export terminals. Its ultimate carbon footprint would be equivalent to that of 30 coal-fired power plants*.

“We affirm the rights of indigenous peoples to protect their places of cultural and spiritual significance. We also affirm the rights of those who are peacefully resisting the pipeline and condemn the use of force against them. Militarized police are using dogs, sound grenades, rubber bullets and pepper spray. Journalists performing their constitutionally protected right to free speech and press have been jailed. We believe this disproportionate response is meant to intimidate nonviolent activists.

“We urge North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple and the U.S. Department of Justice to protect the water protectors’ right to assemble and the right of journalists to do their jobs. Finally, we urge President Obama to revoke the permit for construction of the pipeline. We believe that the environmental, economic, social and spiritual challenges embodied by what is happening at Standing Rock are interconnected. Let us work together to forge inclusive solutions.”

* The Dakota Access Pipeline will lock-in the emissions of 30 coal plants

Oct. 24, 2016

Jane Herb, IHM, (on behalf of the IHM Leadership Council) submitted a public comment to the Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC) urging the agency to hold a public scoping meeting in Monroe County regarding construction of the Nexus pipeline.

DTE Energy and Houston-based Spectra Energy are the lead developers of the proposed NEXUS Gas Transmission (NEXUS) project. If approved, a pipeline would be built to transport natural gas from the Utica shale fields in eastern Ohio into Michigan and Ontario, Canada. Around 50 miles of the pipeline, owned by Houston-based Spectra, would run through Michigan, including the northwestern tip of Monroe County. While public comment meetings have been held in neighboring counties, including Washtenaw and Lenawee County, one has not been held in Monroe County. The purpose of such a meeting would be to give the general public the opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns about the impact the pipeline would have on their communities.

In the 1994 IHM Enactment on Eco-justice the IHM Congregation committed itself to “collaborating with others in shaping public policies that will foster ecological co-responsibility and eco-justice.” This endorsement was made with this commitment and with the Congregation’s ongoing dialogue with DTE Energy in mind.

Aug. 31, 2016

The IHM Leadership Council endorsed the “Faith Leaders Affirmation on Welcoming Refugees”

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) is having a high-level meeting on migration on Sept. 19 and President Obama is leading a Refugee Summit on Sept. 20.  In advance of these historic meetings, the IHM Leadership Council endorsed a sign-on letter publicly demonstrating the faith community’s support of refugees. Click here to read the letter.

The IHM Chapter 2012 Directions state, “Together, with those who share our vision and values, and in solidarity with those who are made poor and marginalized by existing structures, we choose to move forward with profound trust in the power of the Spirit, living the liberating mission of Jesus Christ.” This recommendation for endorsement is being made with this commitment in mind.

Aug. 30, 2016 

Last spring, a historic statement from the Nonviolence and Just Peace Conference in Rome, “An Appeal to the Catholic Church to Recommit to the Centrality of Gospel Nonviolence,” was issued by Pax Christi International, Maryknoll, and 80 other organizations.  Pope Francis, echoing his predecessors, has also said “Never again war!” But to change a culture of violence, more voices are needed.

Pax Christi Metro D.C. will run a full-page ad in support of the statement in the National Catholic Reporter shortly before the United States bishops’ annual meeting in November, along with the signatures of hundreds of supportive individuals and groups. The IHM Leadership Council has endorsed the ad.

In the IHM Chapter Directions 2000, the IHM community committed itself to active and collaborative response to escalating violence.  It reads: “Recognizing the escalation of violence in our world, and especially its impact on women and children, we choose to act with diligence in the pursuit of peace and non-violence.” This recommendation for endorsement is made with this corporate stance in mind.

July 14, 2016

“You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics.”

 – Pope Francis, Address to the United States Congress, Sept. 24, 2015

We live in a world increasingly marked by hatred, brutality, and violent conflict. We see our own country threatened by increasing disparities in economic, political, and social power. We are caught in a political system paralyzed by ideological extremism and hyper-partisanship. Those on both sides of the growing political divide too often appeal to our basest instincts and stoke the fires of fear that threaten to tear the fabric of our nation apart. We cannot let the voices of hatred and fear carry the day.

In our desire to build a culture of peace and right relationship, the Leadership Council of the IHM Sisters of Monroe, Michigan, joins the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in their call for a return to civility in our discourse and decency in our political interaction that promotes the common good, reaches out to others, engages in constructive dialogue, and seeks together the way forward. We hope for political dialogue that reflects the principles and values upon which this nation was founded.

The need for courageous leaders has never been greater. We simply ask that all refrain from language that disrespects, dehumanizes, or demonizes another. All are created in God’s image and are worthy of respect. We ask that all who seek to influence public opinion, all who hope to serve this nation as leaders, be always mindful of the common good and respectful of the dignity of each and every person.

Citizens of this pluralistic nation form a diverse polity characterized by a wide variety of beliefs, experiences, and interests. Disagreements and differences of opinion have the potential to challenge all of us to abandon easy certainty and seek a fuller truth. The problem is not our many disagreements. It is how those conflicts are handled that spells the difference between building the common good and destroying the bonds that bind this nation together.

In his address to the US Congress last September, Pope Francis invited members of Congress to promote respect for the dignity of every human person and to renew their commitment to a spirit of cooperation.  He also addressed each of us and all who seek to lead this nation when he said,

Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility. …
You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics. A political
society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the
growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. …
Building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity.

Let us engage in careful listening and honest questioning.  Let us honor the dignity of those with whom we disagree and treat them with the respect that is their God-given right. Let us seek the common good, desire only good for all others, and offer our own truth with equal measures of conviction and humility.

The Leadership Council

Margaret Alandt, IHM
Mary Ann Bredice, IHM
Mary Jane Herb, IHM
Sharon Holland, IHM
Helen Ingles, IHM
Patricia McCluskey, IHM

Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Monroe, Michigan
July 14, 2016

Adapted from the Statement on Civil Discourse
published by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)