Justice & Peace Ministry
Following the U.S. Bishops’ mandate to all Catholics to labor for justice and peace, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God continue to work as agents of long-term social change. Our involvement in social justice and peace reflects the way St. Francis himself sought to bring about peace.
Human trafficking is the modern-day practice of slavery. The trafficking of humans is the buying, selling, and transporting of people for any purpose, including sex, prostitution, forced marriages, servitude, and forced labor. It is exploitation and a violation of human rights and human dignity and is intrinsically evil. Traffickers are making $32 billion a year buying and selling people for their profit and pleasure.The profits are huge while the risk of being prosecuted is slim. The U.N. estimates that 99% of victims are never rescued.
- An estimated 600,000 to 800,000 men, women, and children are trafficked across international borders each year.
- Of these, approximately 80 percent are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors.
- The U.S government estimates that between 17,500 and 18,500 persons, mostly women and children, are trafficked each year into the U.S.
We, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God, stand in solidarity with all who work to eliminate this tragic evil. We commit ourselves to these actions:
- Through prayer and study, we will educate ourselves regarding the magnitude, causes, and consequences of human trafficking. We commit ourselves to educate others.
- Through collaboration with others, we will work for change in society by supporting anti-trafficking legislation.
- We will advocate for victims of human trafficking in effective and meaningful ways so that justice, human dignity, and human rights can be restored to them. Collaborative groups include the US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking (through the Stop Trafficking newsletter) & PATH to Justice.
Join Us: How You Can Help End Human Trafficking
- Become informed and inform others. Talk about human trafficking to your family, neighbors, and friends. Use social media to share information and resources. A good place to begin is The National Human Trafficking Resource Center/Polaris Project or the Blue Campaign.
- Urge your state and federal representatives to support legislation that criminalizes human trafficking, as well as legislation that supports efforts to help and protect victims. Find your elected officials.
- Advocate for the training of law enforcement personnel and other first responders, to recognize victims of trafficking.
- Support local agencies that provide shelter and other services to survivors of trafficking.
- Become a conscientious consumer. Purchase fair trade goods, certified as produced without child or slave labor. Learn Your Slavery Footprint, Review the US Government’s List of Goods Produced by Child and Forced Labor; Write and call companies, brands, and retailers encouraging them to investigate and prevent human trafficking in their supply chains.
- Know the National Human Trafficking Resource Center’s hotline:1-888-3737-888. This can be called to report a suspected case of human trafficking, as well as connect with anti-trafficking services in your area
You shall treat the stranger who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; have the same love for that person as for yourself; for you, too, were once strangers in the land of Egypt.
We, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God, believe that our present immigration law is badly broken and in need of reform: it ignores the human situation of separated families and the oppressive living conditions that force people to migrate.
Catholic Social Teaching has long taught us that:
- All people have the right to live in dignity and to achieve a full life.
- Every person possesses inherent dignity.
- All goods of the earth belong to all people. An individual has the right to find work elsewhere if there is none in his/her country.
- Sovereign nations have the right to control their borders. However, nations must recognize they have a stronger obligation to accommodate migration flows.
Our stance is in support of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, calling for comprehensive immigration reform and includes the following four provisions:
- Regularization of the status of undocumented immigrants already in the U.S., with a path of residency and citizenship;
- Expansion of family-based immigration to reduce waiting times for separated families
- A guest worker program with protections for the right of all workers;
- Border protection policies that prevent entry of terrorists and criminals while treating individuals with respect and humaneness.
We, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God, speak out against the death penalty. This action is motivated by our prayer, study, reflection and dialog on the Gospel of Jesus, the words of Pope John Paul II, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and other religious leaders.
The death penalty is in violation of our most fundamental human rights. Capital punishment devalues all human life, eliminating the possibility for transformation of the spirit that is intrinsic to humanity.
We abhor the violence in our world and our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of victims of violent crimes and we acknowledge the importance of addressing their needs. We realize that society must protect itself against individuals who have proven to be dangerous. We support the development of ways to address the roots of violence. However, we believe that the death penalty perpetuates a cycle of violence that, in the end, diminishes all of us.
Socially Responsible Investing
The Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God use socially responsible investing to work for justice which “is employing our assets to hold companies accountable for their impact on the environment or on society.”
In addition to investing for solid financial returns, we examine the companies in their portfolios for their social and environmental performance. Rather than simply selling stock when company policies or practices are harmful to people or the environment, we press companies to change by becoming involved in actions such as prayer vigils, letter writing campaigns and consumer boycotts.
In today’s’ world, violence seems pervasive to society. It has become so much a part of the fabric of our world that it can be difficult to connect the dots between the cause and effect. We are surrounded by violence that takes many forms: war; regional and ethnic conflicts; nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; drones; cultural violence in films and video games; and, especially in the United States, thousands of deaths each year by guns.
Any American with even a glancing familiarity with the news can rattle off the litany of cities and towns transformed into metonyms for gun violence: Parkland, Sutherland Springs, Las Vegas, San Bernardino, Colorado Springs, Orlando, Charleston, Fort Hood, Sandy Hook. Since 2011, mass shootings have tripled in the United States and they are becoming more deadly. But, mass shootings are just a part of the plague of gun violence in the United States. Smaller scale, but no less tragic, incidents of gun violence occur daily in homes, businesses, community buildings, places of worship and street corners across the country. Add to this roughly 21,000 Americans who take their own lives with firearms annually.
No official figure exists, but there are thought to be about 300 million guns in the United States, held by about one-third of the population. That is nearly enough for every man, woman, and child in the country.
This level of violence makes our country an extreme outlier when measured against the experience of other advanced nations. In Germany, for example, being murdered with a gun is as uncommon as being killed by a falling object in the U.S. Gun homicides are just as rare in several other European nations, including the Netherlands and Austria. In Poland and England, only about one out of every million people die in gun homicides each year. In Japan, where gun homicides are even rarer, the likelihood of dying this way is about the same as an Americans’ chance of being killed by lightning – roughly one in ten million.
Most frustrating is that gun violence is not inevitable. There are solutions. But, it requires us all to have a difficult and honest conversation about gun culture and violence in the United States. To better understand why this scale of violence is unique to our country, we must also have the freedom to discuss and study gun violence. (“Why Can’t the U.S. Treat Gun Violence as a Public-Health Problem?”)
As members of the Franciscan Federation, our congregation supports the resolution adopted at the 2016 Federation conference: Be it resolved that we, as members of the Franciscan Federation . . . in the tradition of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi, denounce all forms of gun violence that is tearing apart the social fabric of society and leaving children dead in our streets and families afraid in their homes. . . . We pledge to work for the elimination of gun violence by committing ourselves to respect for life by cultivating a culture of life that explores nonviolent living and to advocate for each individual, family, school, and neighborhood so that our communities can once again become places of peace and beacons of life movements.
- the rights of individuals to lawfully own guns for protection and recreational purposes;
- universal background checks on all gun purchases;
- a waiting period before purchasing a gun;
- banning assault-style rifles;
- limiting access to all military or police-style guns;
- requiring that all guns be sold and registered through licensed entities;
- expanding and funding mental health care services.
- making gun trafficking a federal crime
We encourage everyone to:
- Respond prayerfully by engaging in prayer services and events with prayers for peace and an end to violence;
- Become better educated about the issues of gun violence;
- Engage in advocacy efforts such as petition and postcard campaigns, calls, letters and visits to your legislators, letters to the editor, nonviolent marches, vigils and demonstrations and other advocacy opportunities as they arise.
- Encourage all church leaders to promote gun control as a life issue.