Our USA Ursuline Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Team is preparing reflections for each week of Lent focusing on nonviolence. These are available here for your convenience.
WE OPEN OUR HEARTS TO THE CRIES OF THE EARTH AND ITS PEOPLE
Here are pictures of some students and activities at Brescia House:
USAPROVINCES:USA As a response to Pope Francis’ call that our role as religious is to “wake up the world” and be prophetic in action, the Ursulines in the United States were invited during the Easter season to enter into a time of awareness, analysis and reflection on some questions concerning migration here in the United States. This study led to our Pentecost event: taking a Corporate Stance for Comprehensive Immigration Reform Legislation by the Congress of the United States. To read our document go to the "corporate stance" page of this Web site.
Sister Maria Theresa de Llano is involved with immigrants coming into the country through Laredo TX. She was able to share first hand experiences and the issues involved especially those around family detention. Sisters Mary Sullivan and Sandy Wardell were able to join her last fall. Sr. Mary writes: “I will never forget the people I met during these days: their courage, warmth, resiliency, faith, hope, and deep love for their children. The dominant reason for leaving was the protection of their children. Since U.S. policy permits only one parent to travel with the children, the other parent either did not come or was being held in another detention center until his fate was decided. As our legislators argue about Comprehensive Immigration Reform, knowing their stories puts a human face on these debates.”
Caribbean: Sr. Brenda Ferreira writes that Ursulines in Guyana collaborate with a group of women who try to rescue young Amerindian girls from remote mining communities, sometimes involving Brazilian miners from across the border. They attempt to assist them in finding safe houses, educational opportunities as well as the basic needs of food and clothing.
AUSTRALIA: Sr. Therese Brennan writes: Visits to Villawood Detention Centre
The Thursday Afternoon Tea Group” visits detainees every week. It consists of 15-20 people who come to provide an opportunity for interaction, socialization and support and to bring some degree of normality into the lives of the people detained, at least for a few hours. Visitors provide afternoon tea and at times personal items of clothing, toiletries, phone cards etc. These detainees come mainly from Sri Lanka, China and countries of Africa.
While the visit is essentially a social experience, sometimes the detainees ask members of the group to write letters of support for them to their lawyers.
While the group of detainees fluctuates, over time, relationships of support and trust are built because the visitor group remains constant.
St. Bakhita Centre is a place of welcome and hospitality for the Sudanese Catholic Community in Sydney. The Centre aims to build self- esteem, self-reliance and independence in newly arrived refugees by delivering pastoral care, settlement support and practical education. Education is seen as central to Pastoral Care of the Community. The education programme at the centre aims to develop the knowledge and skills that are necessary for refugees to function successfully in their new community. Many Sudanese have never had the opportunity to go to school, so education in English and literacy is crucial.
Italie/Cameroon PROJECT WALL- CeFem
Recently in Italy we became aware of the existence of the Vatican Foundation "United World": created in 1988 to encourage the spread of a culture of peace in the world, it develops and finances projects to support activities and initiatives that facilitate the initiation of a dialogue with cultural institutions and national and international organizations. The foundation is also careful to help create the conditions that allow peace as an ideal and to be actively present in the task of formation of the younger, very disadvantaged generation. With the sensitivity that we have developed thanks to the JPIC Commission, the Provincial Council has decided to collaborate with our missionary in Cameroon, Sr. Adriana Vitali, to present a project that this foundation could fund. Sr. Adriana has suggested an important need for their school: build a surrounding wall for the kindergarten and elementary school in the city of N’gaoundéré which has 650 pupils, of which almost half are Muslims. In Cameroon Muslims constitute the majority of the population, so our sisters are happy to welcome them to our school because children and young people of the two religions can learn to live together in mutual respect, with a specific educational program. For needy families, both Christian and Muslim, there are discounts for attending our school. Among the people of the two faiths there is a good and peaceful understanding.
The planned length of the wall is 165 meters. This construction would allow the children to be protected from outsiders who want to break into the school and into the college, where there are currently 27 girls from 6 to 18 years old (most of them attend our elementary school and a small group goes out to the middle and high schools).
The project would also provide employment to the locals. The budgeted expenditure is 5,745,100 Cameroonian Francs (approximately € 8,800).
We are working to develop properly the project to be presented to the Foundation and then to proceed to the realization of this work for the good, safety and peace of school children, who will grow happily in their training and education and become in turn, peacemakers.
Water Project, Indonesia 2014
Borong is a small town in Manggarai regency, Flores. This area is one of the areas having difficulty obtaining clean water sources for the needs of everyday life. St Angela's dormitory , Borong run by the Ursuline Sisters Community with 150 students also has trouble getting clean water. The water channel is not sufficient for the needs of the Ursulines’ area. Necessary water is obtained from rainwater during the rainy season or taken from the river manually. The Ursuline Community in Borong needs sources of water to serve the sisters. In this way, the Water Project is expected to solve problems of the environment and health.
The inspiration for this project is General Chapter 2013, Call # 5 - JPIC concerning environmental issues, in this case the water supply for the creation of a healthy and clean environment for the Ursuline Community in Borong.
In 2014 , the JPIC Commission encouraged 8 Ursuline schools in Java Island to raise funds to help the Sisters and students in Borong have clean water available.
Before the Water Project was implemented, the girls in the dormitory took water manually from the river .
The Water Project explores wells : excavating and expanding 4 springs in the well; then it builds pump and piping installation for the well’s water to be sucked up and kept in a tank to be channeled into the dormitories and the convent.
CHINA: Human Development courses are offered at Wenzao Ursuline University, Taiwan. To inspire students to care for the entire world, we try to inculcate an international outlook and to train them for multicultural understanding and respect. Content focuses on: war and refugees, migration, racial discrimination and conflict, human trafficking and water resource issues.
POLAND: We are raising the awareness of young people through education so that they may be responsible in today’s world. The objective of the program of classes in our schools is the study of the notion of organization of space, approached through two principal avenues: the environment and land use. We are sensitizing the young people to a very serious problem concerning human trafficking and violence. We share on this question with the pupils during classes and also with the teachers. Exhibits and bulletin boards with photos are prepared together...
AUSTRALIA : Sr. Genny Ryan is a full time volunteer with ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) based in Canberra. This organization is closely linked with the Asia Pacific region and globally through a strong link with Talitha Kum.
SLOVAKIA: Activities in the community of elderly sisters in Suchá nadParnou.
In our community of elderly sisters in Suchá nadParnou we had a celebration on February 8 – the international day against human trafficking. The whole community was involved and made efforts to help the victims through prayer.
They followed the example of Saint Bakhita with great interest.
In the community we also participate in collecting corks to help Tobias, a sick boy, and other sick persons obtain the means to improve their health.
Attached is a little video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p72dD13yd4c
FRANCE/BELGIUM/SPAIN: Nantes, community: Aid to displaced persons: we are in touch with a small Chaldean religious congregation, and Sister Colette Lignon knows their superior, Sister Sanaa very well. This community had to flee from Mosul and Qaraqosh, and is currently in Erbil. The sisters have started building a school for refugee children and, together with other persons, we support them morally (mail correspondence) and financially (missionary sale proceeds).
The community also supports an Armenian family in France: we finance their daughter’s education and we have provided a temporary job for a few hours (25 to 30 h) to the family’s father.