Tag Archives: politics

Speaking truth to the Speaker

My latest Global Sisters Report column has been posted. This time it is an open letter to House Speaker, Representative Paul Ryan, sharing my concerns about the proposed federal budget.

Here’s a snippet:

In your conversation with Sister Erica on CNN, you shared your appreciation for the model of Catholic organizations that help the poor. You expressed that they do a “fantastic job in spite of government doing wraparound benefits for the poor to make sure that they get to where they are — from where they are to where they need to be.”

My religious congregation, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, sponsors and supports nonprofit services for low-income women in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Seattle with a similar model. Both the York Street Project and Jubilee Women’s Center provide such wraparound services, treat the whole person, and assist the women they serve on their journey to self-sufficiency.

I found it interesting that you referenced the year 1985 in your response to Sister Erica, because that is around the time my sisters started both these innovative programs.

I agree with you that we need to encourage and support such programs, but as partners with government, not replacements for our civic duty to promote the general welfare. Such programs do not do a fantastic job in spite of government, but in tandem with life-giving government programs like the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which are in jeopardy in the budget proposals under consideration. At the York Street Project, for example, CDBG funds support the job readiness program at Kenmare High School, helping women who previously dropped out of the public school system to find jobs that will support their families.

Visit Global Sisters Report to read the entire letter.

Love > Fear

This morning, after reading much disheartening news on the domestic and international front over breakfast, I spent some quiet time with today’s Scripture readings and my friend Julia Walsh, FSPA’s latest Global Sisters Report column.

In Hosea, I read: “What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your piety is like a morning cloud, like the dew that early passes away … For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”

In Julia’s column, I read: “In this fearful age, God can transform all of us and the ways we feel about each other. We can love in radical ways, guided by our faith that each of us — even the person who scares us the most — are truly children of God deserving to be loved and cherished. Then, freed from the fears that plague our conversations, news, and dynamics, we can powerfully love one another just as God has loved us, sharing transformative mercy and hope.”

Both can be summed up by this equation:

love-greater-than-fear

Worthy of meditation and practice, I think.

It is also important for me to stay abreast of current news and the currents of political discourse. But I can’t let that weigh me down. Fear is not stronger than love. Suffering is not insurmountable. Hatred is a symptom of broken relationships and isolation. We are called to something greater, to community and connection.

We must give voice to love in the face of fear, through our words, our actions, our hopes and desires. Not just in the quiet contemplative moments but in all of our interactions and in our ordinary lives. That is how change happens and how love spreads to dispel fear. Don’t you think?