Oct. 29, 2021
IHM Leadership Council recently endorsed the “Climate Action Letter for Catholic Institutions” urging President Biden and Congress to work beyond partisanship and create climate solutions that will build a better future for present and future generations and our common home.
Our common home and common family are suffering. The climate emergency is causing rising seas, a warmer planet, and more extreme weather. It’s devastating the lives of our poorest sisters and brothers. At the same time, biologists estimate that we’re driving species to extinction at a rate of 100 to 1,000 times their usual rate. “We have no such right” (Laudato Si’ 33).
The 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) will be held from Sunday, Oct. 31 through Nov. 12 in Glasgow, Scotland. Countries will announce their plans to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. Inspired by the Vatican’s Laudato Si’ Action Platform, Catholics are joining their voices to those of the most vulnerable to call on the world’s leaders to commit to dramatically reduce greenhouse gases.
The Catholic Climate Covenant has developed two letters, one from individuals and the other from institutions, which urge President Biden and Congress to “work together beyond partisanship, and for the common good, by enacting ambitious national solutions and demonstrating global leadership that address the sources and threats of climate change.”
This endorsement was made as part of the IHM community’s commitment to the Laudato Si’ Action Platform.
Oct. 4, 2021
IHM Sisters Sign on to the Laudato Si’ Action Platform
In our 2018 Chapter Direction, The IHM Sisters of Monroe, Michigan articulated our belief that, “The Spirit is inviting us to enter more deeply into the liberating mission of Jesus Christ as we come to understand it anew through the mystery of the Sacred Universe. Our spirituality and our shared humanity compel us to respond collaboratively with others to the challenges of our beautiful, yet fractured world, especially through our commitment to social, economic and ecological justice.”
In this spirit, IHM Leadership Council announces our pledge to participate in the Vatican initiated Laudato Si’ Action Platform, named after Pope Francis’ groundbreaking 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’ (On Care for Our Common Home). We join in the seven-year journey towards integral ecology, the term Pope Francis used to articulate the inextricable link between – as well as the need to fully integrate our approach toward – social and economic justice, peace and non-violence and care for Earth and all its inhabitants.
This is not a new commitment but rather a deepening of our community recognition over the past 27 years of the sacredness and interdependence of all creation and our place in the web of life. This is an opportunity to recommit ourselves to developing and acting out of an ecological consciousness both individually and corporately. This renewed commitment is especially critical given the urgent need to address the global climate crisis.
Therefore, we commit to discerning how we can better respond to both the cry of Earth and the poor; how we can further integrate ecological economics, education and spirituality into our community life; how we can adopt simpler lifestyles; and how we can more effectively collaborate with the global Catholic community and all people of goodwill in participatory action to bring about systemic change. To learn more and to join us on this journey, go to www.laudatosiactionplatform.org.
Sept. 29, 2021
The IHM Leadership Council endorsed a Catholic sign-on letter to President Biden urging his administration to end Title 42, a little-known public health directive, which allows border agents to swiftly “expel” migrants who cross the border — without considering their asylum claims.
Title 42 was originally implemented and exploited by the Trump Administration because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This policy was criticized by presidential candidate Joe Biden but has since been embraced by the Biden Administration. In August, The CDC issued a new order continuing Title 42 expulsions indefinitely, despite epidemiologists’ and public health experts’ repeated statements that Title 42 lacks public health justification and, in many ways, actually threatens public health. For example, it continues to detain asylum seekers and migrants in congregate settings for days to weeks before transporting them to other border locations and expelling them, whereas utilizing evidence-based mitigation techniques to safely parole them into the United States would protect them, government officials and border communities. In observance of the Vatican’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees on September 26, NETWORK and CLINIC delivered this letter to President Biden and his administration.
In the IHM Chapter Direction 2018 , the IHM community made a commitment to “Intensify our efforts to collaborate in the transformation of relationships, structures, and systems that perpetuate discrimination.” Title 42 perpetrates fear of and discrimination against migrants and discourages decision makers at every level of government in our country from legislating and crafting policy with human dignity at the heart. This endorsement was made with this in mind.
Aug. 18, 2021
A special request for prayers and support for Haiti
On Saturday, Aug. 14 a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti. This was an even stronger earthquake than the one that devastated the country in 2010. To make matters worse, Haiti is now being pummeled by Tropical Storm Grace.
Scranton IHM Sister Eileen Coleman received an e-mail from Sister Denise from the Little Sisters of St. Therese of Riviere Froide (the Haitian women’s religious community with which the three IHM communities have twinned since 1995). Sr. Denise wrote that several of their ministries were severely damaged with one, a clinic in the mountains, completely destroyed. Sister Denise has not heard that any of their sisters were hurt, but many of the sisters’ family members were injured or killed and their homes destroyed.
Let us continue to be in solidarity with the Little Sisters and the people of Haiti with both our prayer and financial support. Click here for a prayer. Financial donations are being collected by Sarah Nash in the IHM Justice, Peace and Sustainability Office through Aug. 31. Donation checks should be made out to IHM Sisters with “Haiti” in the memo line.
July 7, 2021
IHM Sisters Leadership Council Statement on Haiti
This weekend, IHM Sisters and Associates will gather to celebrate the founding of our community over 175 years ago by a woman of Haitian descent, Theresa Maxis Duchemin, IHM. The IHM Sisters, impelled by the Gospel, stand in solidarity with the people of Haiti, the poorest in the Americas, in their struggle for dignity, life and human rights. We are dismayed by the tragic assassination of the Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. As a congregation we are committed to act with diligence in the pursuit of economic justice, peace and non-violence.
The people of Haiti have withstood recurring natural disasters, escalating violence, chronic food shortages and COVID-19 in recent years. These problems will likely be exacerbated by this current political upheaval. The IHM Sisters Leadership Council invites IHM Sisters, Associates and all people of goodwill to join us in praying for the safety of our sisters and brothers in Haiti; for the preservation of their democracy and for just and lasting peace in the country.
June 16, 2021
The IHM Leadership Council, at the invitation of the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), endorsed an investor sign-on letter to U.S. corporations urging them to amend their political contributions policies to preclude any donations to candidates that have attempted to undermine democracy and restrict the right to vote. The letter was endorsed in the name of Margaret Chapman, IHM – Treasurer, IHM Sisters Leadership Council, Monroe, Michigan.
ICCR is deeply concerned about threats to democracy – both the attempts to overturn the legitimate election results and subsequent state-level efforts to undermine voting rights. Many of the state-level voting restrictions would disproportionately affect Black voters and other communities of color, adding another chapter to a long history of voter disenfranchisement in the United States. The nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice has identified 361 bills in 47 states that contain provisions to restrict the right to vote. These bills limit absentee and early voting, seek stricter voter ID requirements, make voter registration more difficult and undermine the power of local officials to fairly administer elections.
Companies should put guardrails on their corporate political spending to help mitigate the systemic risks of these anti-democratic efforts and the company-specific risks of continuing to support restrictions on the right to vote. This investor letter (prepared by Majority Action and Service Employee International Union) calls on companies to amend their corporate political spending policies to address this. The letter will be sent to board members at more than 80 companies responsible for oversight of each company’s policy influence activities.
The IHM Constitutions read, “In the handling of our corporate investments, we will seek to reflect consistently the justice concerns which we express as a congregation, and to consider where responsible shareowner activity can be taken by us and/or in collaboration with other groups” (IHM Constitutions Article S-45). This endorsement was made with this commitment in mind.
May 26, 2021
IHM Leadership Council Endorses Faith Leader Letter Supporting Climate and Clean Energy Infrastructure
The IHM Leadership Council endorsed Interfaith Power and Light’s letter from faith leaders and leaders of religious communities calling on Congress to support climate and clean energy infrastructure.
Rebuilding America post-COVID will take a transformational investment plan that delivers jobs, justice and clean energy to communities across the country and curbs the carbon pollution that is driving the climate crisis. May 16-25 was “Laudato Si’ Week, celebrating the sixth anniversary of Pope Francis’ groundbreaking encyclical on caring for the Earth.” This was followed by the launch of the seven-year Laudato Si’ Action Platform. As religious communities begin to consider how to deepen our commitments to integral ecology in order to bring about the widespread systemic change called for by Pope Francis in Laudato Si’, we are invited sign on to Interfaith Power & Light’s faith leader letter to Congress in support of President Biden’s infrastructure plan as a path forward for climate and environmental justice.
The IHM Chapter Direction 2018 reads, “Our spirituality and our shared humanity compel us to respond collaboratively with others to the challenges of our beautiful yet fractured world especially through our commitment to social, economic and ecological justice.” This endorsement was made with this commitment in mind.
April 21, 2021
IHM Leadership Council Statement on the Verdict in the Derek Chauvin Trial
The Leadership Council of the IHM Sisters of Monroe, Mich., welcomes the recent verdict finding Officer Derek Chauvin guilty for the death of George Floyd. Like so many across the nation, we are breathing a sigh of collective relief. At the same time, we can never forget the breath George Floyd himself was denied for nine minutes and 29 seconds. We can never forget the immense grief of his family, who will continue to mourn their loss for the rest of their lives. Nor can we forget those who are still seeking accountability and justice for the deaths of their loved ones: including Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright, Philando Castile and countless other Black lives – of which there are too many to name.
This verdict is an important step toward accountability. We pray that it will provide some semblance of justice and wholeness to a grieving community. However, we recognize that the systems that ultimately ended George Floyd’s life and countless other Black lives still exist. George Floyd’s death is evidence of the systemic racism, implicit bias, abuse of power and excessive force that communities of color too often experience at the hands of police. We must re-examine public safety and what role armed police have in addressing community crises. Therefore, we urge our elected officials to take concrete steps to enact the necessary reforms that will bring about justice that has been denied to so many others. We call upon Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would ban chokeholds, police profiling and no-knock warrants. It would also ensure that officers who break the law can be held accountable and stop the rampant militarization of many police departments.
Finally, we recognize that the work of dismantling racism must always begin with ourselves and requires a transformation of the heart. Therefore, we recommit ourselves to the ongoing work of becoming anti-racist allies. We commit to intensifying our efforts to collaborate in the transformation of relationships, structures, systems and culture that perpetuate discrimination. By participating in the process of creating right relationships, healing and reconciliation, we are determined to eradicate racism within ourselves, our congregation, our Church and our global community.
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.