Peace & Justice Education
Conference of Benedictine Prioresses
One of the organizations that offers great support to a prioress in this country, and in turn to her community, is the American Conference of Benedictine Prioresses, which meets annually in late January or February. At the 2017 CBP meeting forty-eight prioresses and federation presidents from the US, Mexico, the Bahamas, and Canada gathered to pray, reflect, and dialogue. One important consideration was approval of a statement on racism, in response to this on-going social sin and its effects. It is from the Benedictine practice of hospitality and respect for every person that the prioresses wrote this statement and now share it with others, to encourage awareness and to promote personal conversion and systemic change (Click here for the statement below in PDF form).
Prioresses’ Statement on Racism
February 4, 2017
In the spirit of the centuries-old Rule of Benedict which urges us to listen with the ear of the heart and to respect the gifts of each person as unique individuals, we, the Conference of Benedictine Prioresses, recognize the injustices caused by racism in our society. Our communities have made many efforts to address this injustice as a social sin in which we take part. We recognize that our society, culture, and country are at a time when many implications and effects of racism are emerging on every side. The conversion called for is pervasive. In solidarity with other religious/faith leaders, we recognize that racial injustice is social sin –
To speak of social sin means in the first place to recognize that, by virtue of a human solidarity which is as mysterious and intangible as it is real and concrete, each individual’s (and corporate) sin in some way affects others. …Every sin has repercussions on the entire ecclesial body and the whole human family.” Pope John Paul ll, December 2, 1984.
Therefore, at this time in our history, we join with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and with all people of faith to commit ourselves to:
- Examine the root causes of injustice, particularly of racism, as a consequence of unacknowledged white privilege, and our own complicity over the years in this societal reality;
- Work to effect systemic change that will promote a society that respects all people and that recognizes the equality, human dignity and human rights of all.;
We commit ourselves to use our collective voice, resources, and power in collaboration with others to establish racial justice which reflects God’s abundant love and mercy.
We recognize the value of:
- Racial solidarity training;
- Creating safe spaces for truth and reconciliation processes;
- Training in nonviolent conflict transformation;
- Programs training unarmed civilian peace makers in our regions;
- Ongoing de-escalation training for police;
- Dialogue with people of color and varied origins.
- Our prayer;
- Educational efforts;
Here are two other recent statements written by the American Conference of Benedictine Prioresses, on immigration and on gun violence. While acknowledging differing views on contemporary social concerns, we share these statements to promote reflection, prayer, and dialogue about issues affecting all people in the United States and beyond our borders. In these days of great division and much uncivil discourse, let us pray for peace and work for understanding, as we engage in the social concerns of our time.
February 4, 2013
We, the Conference of Benedictine Prioresses, join our voices with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), with Network, and with the bipartisan legislative effort to create a comprehensive immigration reform.
As immigrants themselves, our Benedictine fore-mothers understood the needs of immigrants coming to this country. They served well and nurtured faith in this new land. In our time of numerous migrations, we acknowledge the rich contribution made by immigrant people and decry the unjust treatment they are too often compelled to endure …
Prevention of Gun Violence: A Statement of the Conference of Benedictine Prioresses
March 21, 2013
As Benedictine monastic women we stand united in a 1500 – year tradition, rooted in Gospel values of peace and non-violence. Our Benedictine way of life requires us not only to be people of peace but also “to foster peace in the society around us.” That peace is based on right relationships and mutual respect. Any violation of the rights and integrity of people, of the land, and of the environment is an act of violence. A definite culture of violence is pervasive in our society in movies, television programming, video games, music and advertisements. The proliferation of guns, both legal and illegal, has contributed to a significant increase in violence in the United States and in the drug wars in Mexico. …
Statement of corporate stance on human trafficking: Conference of Benedictine Prioresses
Committed to the Benedictine motto of PAX and to personal and social transformation of our culture of fear to a culture of love and right relationship, the membership of the Conference of Benedictine Prioresses, a group of fifty-seven monasteries representing 2620 women religious, denounce the practice of human trafficking and commit to the work of bringing about the elimination of this evil practice. We invite all who are drawn to this cause to join with us by continuing to learn and to raise the awareness among family, friends and co-workers.
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The Monastic Council recently distributed a questionnaire about social justice areas that we at Sacred Heart Monastery as a community would be interested in focusing on 2016-1017. As a community we decided to focus on human trafficking and the Death Penalty. The Social Justice Committee was asked to assist with these choices. The monastery has begun this focus. We encourage others to become educated about this national and state problem, to be aware of one’s surroundings and those who are suspicious, and to get involved in helping stop this crime.
Click here to learn more about how Sacred Heart Monastery Sisters are raising awareness on Human Trafficking Issues. One of the educational resources the Sisters used was this YouTube video, which focuses on human trafficking in South Dakota.
More on Human Trafficking:
The YouTube “Hidden in Plain Sight” about trafficking in South Dakota. Click the picture to enlarge.
Please note that this video does have some graphic images.