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Justice in Action

An Invitation

The United States Ursuline JPIC team
invites you to consider the following appeal
during the Lent and Easter season.

Since 1960, The Ursulines in Venezuela, with the collaboration of parents and alumnae from Merici Academy, have been supporting education and Catholic formation to students at Corazon de Maria in Petare, a barrio of Caracas.

We are all aware of the economic situation in Venezuela. The Ursuline Sisters and ASEAM (alumnae), started a campaign "ACTIVA TU SERVIAM" to bring food, medicine and school supplies to take to them to help alleviate their hunger and basic needs. To date they can supply less than half the students with "arepa", breakfast. Their goal: to provide daily breakfast to all 750 children at school as well as other necessary supplies.

Can you help? During the Lent and Easter season we will be collecting funds here in the United States to support our sisters and collaborators in Venezuela in their feeding program.

Watch for more information on this project in the coming weeks. All funds collected can be sent to:

Ursuline Province Center
1338 North Ave.
New Rochelle, NY 10805

Venezuela Project

International Woman's Day, 8 March 2018

Thank Pope Francis for his leadership
on Peace and Nonviolence

Pax Christi International and the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative are deeply grateful to Pope Francis for his consistently strong condemnation of nuclear weapons and the vicious arms trade. His clarity on and commitment to peace and nonviolence are wonderful gift to our movement.

This year for International Women's Day (8 March), we invite women to send a thank-you message to Pope Francis, in appreciation for his leadership on these issues. We want him to know that we are listening to and affirming his words. Please share this online "postcard" with women in your communities and networks and ask them to sign this thank-you message.

We will collect the responses over the next month, and will deliver the names and personal notes to the Vatican on 8 March 2018.

The postcard is available in four languages:





UNANIMA International
UNANIMA International

Founded in 2002, UNANIMA International is a
Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) c
to the Charter of the United Nations, for economic
and social advancement of all people.

We invite you to learn more by watching this video:

A Peek at Activity this Fall

Eastern Province
On Saturday, September 23rd, sisters of the Eastern Province gathered for our fall meeting.  To celebrate Season of Creation Month, our gathering prayer was a prayer service from Taize for this time.  We also were presented with a copy of the Compassion Mandala to be placed in the Garden Room as a reminder of our commitment to care for our planet and its people.

Compassion Icon

Looking at our portfolio as an expression of mission, our investment in TriCri, the tri- state Center for Responsible Investment, and the Leviticus Fund, which grants loans for projects and housing in low income areas were presented.  An overview of Unanima, an NGO at the UN, was presented.  We are part of the Ursuline Charism group that has been accepted for membership.

Leviticus Fund

At the close of our day, sisters signed letter to the World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, asking the World Bank to only fund only renewable energy projects in developing countries.  We joined with people throughout the world in this initiative as part of the
Season of Creation.


Western Province
At Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Windsor California, we have been working hard on the immigration issue which is very real for our parishioners and neighbors.  Several months ago we announced at each Mass the importance of encouraging our legislators to support SB54 which would ensure that California law enforcement agencies would not be used as instruments of federal immigration enforcement.  Right there in church we got folks to write over 500 postcards which were sent.  Our efforts bore fruit as SB 54, unofficially known as the sanctuary state bill, recently passed and was signed by Governor Brown.


In the meantime, in preparation for the expected ICE planned nationwide immigration sweeps, we have worked to inform folks of their rights and resources.  We have been busy hosting and attending County wide trainings for a Rapid Response Network, including a hot line, trained legal observers to serve as witnesses to immigration raids and actions, as well as people be serve in accompaniment and advocacy for the undocumented. 

Announcing Ursulines joining Unanima

A new initiative among various Ursuline congregations in the United States has been formed.   Ursuline congregations: Brown County, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Louisville, Roman Union, Tildonk, Toledo and Youngstown are joining together to establish an “Ursuline Charism Group” and have been invited to join UNANIMA, a NGO organization at the United Nations.  Maple Mt. Ursulines are already members of UNANIMA.


Presently UNANIMA is a coalition of  21 congregations of women religious and their partners in mission present on all continents.  UNANIMA acts together to:

  • bring members’ expertise to the UN
  • collaborate with other NGOs
  • educate members about activities
    and programs of the UN
  • assist members in collaborating with
    UN work in home countries

The areas of concern are:

  • Women and children especially the economic poor (with a focus on trafficking)
  • Immigrants and refugees
  • The welfare of the planet

The UNANIMA Board will meet in New York City September 28-30.  Sister Janet Marie Peterworth, President Ursulines of Louisville, will serve as the Charism Representative to the Board and Liaison contact.

banner of circles

Below we will be highlighting some of the wonderful efforts of Ursuline Sisters in the USA: justice in action.

Ursulines Active in Laredo, Texas

Part 2: March 2017

This past Friday, March 3rd, we participated in a new initiative begun by the Mexican government.  All 50 Mexican consulates in the United States launched legal assistance centers to form partnerships with nonprofit groups and try to get lawyers to help those fearing Trump’s policies.  Miami’s Mexican consul general, Jose Antonio Zabalgoitia said that these centers will become “authentic advocates of the rights of Mexican migrants.  …we are prioritizing legal matters over everything.  Previously, we didn’t have the need to seek so much legal support for our people.  But now, we need to protect them against an eventual deportation.”

In the Diocese of Laredo, Bishop James Tamayo met with the Mexican Consul, Ms. Carolina Zaragoza Flores, in hopes of lending support not only to Mexican immigrants but also to anyone needing assistance in having a plan should there be a threat of deportation.  There will be an “Emergency Informational Workshop” in March stressing the urgency of this human crisis.  The Trump administration has caused a great deal of fear in families, especially in parents who are undocumented and their children are US citizens. The Emergency Informational Workshop is open to all who may be interested but especially for pastors, parish leaders, administrators and diocesan personnel.  The workshop will propose methods of assistance for those in danger of deportation.  The presenters will include immigration lawyers from the Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, the Director of Policy on Migration and Refugee Services from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and our colleagues from Catholic Social Services who are Board of Immigration Appeals accredited representatives.  One of our main goals is to help undocumented persons prepare their family for immigration Enforcement.

We continue to support the program Cubanosenlafrontera program sponsored by Holding Institute who directly supports 6 kitchens and community centers in a collaborative effort on both sides of the border – Laredo and Nuevo Laredo.


The program provides one meal a day not only to the 800 plus Cubans but also to the community centers that are filled to capacity with immigrants not only from Cuba but also from Central America as well as those who have been deported from the United States.

Once again, you can play an active part:

  • Use the correct terminology in addressing refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants. 
  • Be informed as to the issues regarding not only Cuban immigrants but also Central Americans, Haitians, persons being deported;
  • Respond to Action Alerts especially those coming from LCWR, JFI (Justice for Immigrants) and our JPIC web site.
  • Listen to and read news that comes from reputable sources.
  • Keep in prayer the plight of all immigrants throughout the world;
  • Consider sending a donation no matter how small, so that the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter can be met. Checks can be made out to Ursuline Sisters, 136 Palencia Ave., Laredo, Texas 78046

Part 1 February 2017

This past week Rita Ann Bregenhorn came to visit us in Laredo.  Presently we are three in the community – Mercedes Videira, Karen Schwane and Maria Teresa de Llano.  During her visit, she encouraged us to write about what is happening along the border between Laredo and Nuevo Laredo.  We decided this would be a good idea since what is happening is little known on a national or international level.  In sharing it with others we feel “The cry of Christ in the voice of the migrant moves us”. (Bishops’ statement)

Sunday, February 19, 2017 the Sister Cities of Laredo and Nuevo Laredo celebrated the Abrazo Ceremony – The Embrace Ceremony.  This event has been done annually, beginning in 1969 and is an event in which two children from Laredo and two children from Nuevo Laredo meet at the center of the Lincoln Juarez International Bridge and embrace. Local and state officials from both side of the border also embrace, meeting in the middle of the bridge. 

Laredo Times

Just minutes away, in Nuevo Laredo, from this very special and significant event on the bridge, there are also people gathered.  There are Cubans who have no place to go as they wait in the public plazas or piazzas for someone to bring them food, water and clothes.  It is estimated that in Nuevo Laredo alone there are approximately 1000 Cubans stranded between the United States and Cuba.  They have left Cuba in hopes of realizing their “American Dream” only to be turned back at the border.  President Obama’s statement on January 12th, 2017 regarding Cuban immigration policy states:

 “The Department of Homeland Security is ending the so-called "wet-foot/dry foot" policy, which was put in place more than twenty years ago, and was designed for a different era.  Effective immediately, Cuban nationals who attempt to enter the United States illegally and do not qualify for humanitarian relief will be subject to removal, consistent with U.S. law and enforcement priorities.” 


Cubans who were on their way to the United States are no longer allowed to enter the United States and, though “the Cuban government has agreed to accept the return of Cuban nationals who have been ordered removed…” most of those being deported are considered traitors and will be punished by the Cuban government.


What can I do to help?

  • Use the correct terminology in addressing refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants. 
  • Be informed as to the issues regarding Cuban immigrants by reading:
    •  “Wet foot/Dry Foot” policy,
    • Statement by President Obama on the Cuban Immigration Policy,
    • The Embrace Ceremony in Laredo/Nuevo Laredo,
    • Statement of the Bishops of the Border Between Texas and Northern Mexico. http://txcatholic.org/border-bishops-call-for-dignity-regardless-of-migration-condition/
  • Respond to Action Alerts especially those coming from LCWR, JFI (Justice for Immigrants) and our JPIC web site.
  • Listen to and read news that comes from reputable sources.
  • Keep in prayer the plight of the Cuban immigrants as well as so many others - men, women and children - throughout the world who have left their homeland in hopes of finding a place to live and work.
  • Consider sending a donation no matter how small, so that the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter can be met. Checks can be made out to Ursuline Sisters, 136 Palencia Ave., Laredo, Texas 78046

“The border cities consider themselves to be sister cities and friends, sharing a long history of the same land, faith, traditions, culture and solidarity.  We bishops shall continue to follow the good example of Pope Francis; we shall seek to construct bridges among peoples, bridges that help to break down the walls of exclusion and exploitation.”  (Statement of the Bishops of the Border Between Texas and Northern Mexico, February 16, 2017)


International Ursuline Response to Refugees
All over the world Ursulines are responding to the refugee crisis.  Here is an excellent example from Slovenia.

Sr. Meta Potocnik shared her experience of being a volunteer of Caritas with refugees and migrants in Slovenia with sisters in her province. I think that it is valuable to be shared with other sisters as well.
Read more.....




Act, believe,
do your best,
have hope,
and without
a doubt,
you will see

Angela Merici

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