Nonviolence . . . Human trafficking . . . Women . . . . The elderly . . . Immigrants' rights . . .. Housing. . . Children . . . Prisoners' rights . . . Health care . . . World Hunger . . . Globalization, as it affects Latin America . . . Care of the earth . . . Seamless ethic of life

Note: The ideas and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author's and should not be ascribed to the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes or its members.

Friday, October 21, 2016

November 8 Election - You Decide

In three weeks citizens of the USA will choose their political leaders for terms of two  (Congressional), four (Presidential) and six (Senate) years. Many local races are also on the ballot. For non-partisan information about candidates I encourage you to dig deeper by visiting MyVoteSmart. Also, Wisconsin Vote has nonpartisan profiles of the candidates (not just Republican and Democratic) who are on the ballot. (Look for similar resources where you reside.)


O God, You showed us the importance of acting on behalf of those who are without power and whose voices are not heard. Guide us to promote a “seamless garment” of issues concerned with the sanctity of all stages of life and all human beings. We offer a prayer of thanksgiving for our freedom to vote and make our voices heard in the public square. Guiding Spirit, be with us as we use “reason with faith” to judge political candidates and political agenda so we may work for the common good of all. Let us always turn to You in our prayer of active discernment. Amen.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Ahimsa: Let Love be Your First, Middle and Last Name

Ahimsa: Love Is Your Nature 
Sunday, October 9, 2016 
Before you speak of peace, you must first have it in your heart. —St. Francis of Assisi [1] 
Christianity seems to have forgotten Jesus’ teachings on nonviolence. We’ve relegated visions of a peaceful kingdom to a far distant heaven, hardly believing Jesus could have meant we should turn the other cheek here and now. It took Gandhi, a Hindu, to help us apply Jesus’ peace-making in very practical ways. As Gandhi said, “It is a first class human tragedy that people of the earth who claim to believe in the message of Jesus, whom they describe as the Prince of Peace, show little of that belief in actual practice.” [2] Martin Luther King, Jr., drawing from Gandhi’s work, brought nonviolence to the forefront of civil rights in the 1960s.
Nonviolent training has understandably emphasized largely external methods or ways of acting and resisting. These are important and necessary, but we must go even deeper. Unless those methods finally reflect inner attitudes, they will not make a lasting difference. We all have to admit that our secret inner attitudes are often cruel, attacking, judgmental, and harsh. The ego seems to find its energy precisely by having something to oppose, fix, or change. When the mind can judge something to be inferior, we feel superior. We must recognize our constant tendency toward negating reality, resisting it, opposing it, and attacking it on the level of our mind. This is the universal addiction, as I say in the introduction to Breathing Under Water. [3]
Authentic spirituality is always first about you—about allowing your own heart and mind to be changed. It’s about getting your own who right. Who is it that is doing the perceiving? Is it your illusory, separate, false self; or is it your True Self, who you are in God?
As Thomas Keating says:
We’re all like localized vibrations of the infinite goodness of God’s presence. So love is our very nature. Love is our first, middle, and last name. Love is all; not [love as] sentimentality, but love that is self-forgetful and free of self-interest.
This is also marvelously exemplified in Gandhi’s life and work. He never tried to win anything. He just tried to show love; and that’s what ahimsa really means. It’s not just a negative. Nonviolence doesn’t capture its meaning. It means to show love tirelessly, no matter what happens. That’s the meaning of turning the other cheek. Once in a while you have to defend somebody, but it means you’re always willing to suffer first for the cause—that is to say, for communion with your enemies. If you overcome your enemies, you’ve failed. If you make your enemies your partners, God has succeeded. [4]
[1] Paraphrase of Francis of Assisi, Opuscoli di S. Francesco d’Assisi, ed. Fr. Bernardo da Fivizzano (Firenze Tip. della SS. Concezione di R. Ricci: 1880), 272.
[2] Mahatma Gandhi,
Truth is God, ed. R. K. Prabhu (Navajivan Publishing House: 1955), 145.
[3] See Richard Rohr,
Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps (Franciscan Media: 2011).
[4] Thomas Keating,
Healing Our Violence through the Journey of Centering Prayer (Franciscan Media: 2002), disc 5 (CD).
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Mary and Nonviolence (CAC: 2002), CD, discontinued; and
Richard Rohr and Thomas Keating,
Healing Our Violence through the Journey of Centering Prayer (Franciscan Media: 2002), discs 2 and 5 (CD).

This Election, Vote With A Conscience (by Tony Magliano, NCR)

U.S. Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton and U.S. Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump (CNS/Brian Snyder/Mike Segar, Reuters
Throw your political affiliation out the window!

But you're a loyal Democrat. Or perhaps instead, you're a loyal Republican. Never mind that.

Your political affiliation is not that important. 

What's crucially important is your affiliation with Jesus, and your commitment to his campaign -- to his divine plan. 

Are you voting for Jesus Christ? Read More.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Colombia's Juan Manuel Santos: 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Awardee

Today the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced its choice of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for his efforts to negotiate with the FARC rebels an end to Colombia’s fifty-year civil war that caused the deaths of over 220,000 and the displacement of six million of its citizens. Despite the Colombian citizens’ rejection of the peace agreement last Sunday President Santos is committed to bring Colombians into dialogue to forge an amended agreement that will bring peace and reconciliation. 

Upcoming UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

Former Prime Minister of Portugal to Become Secretary-General of the UN on January 1, 2017
Antonio Guterres, a devout Catholic, served the U.N. for a decade as its refugee chief. Earlier this year he described the role of Secretary General as "acting with humility, without arrogance, without giving lessons to anybody, but working as a convener, as a facilitator, as a catalyst and behaving like an honest broker, a bridge builder and a messenger for peace." Let us pray in thanksgiving for the decade of service by Ban Ki-moon of South Korea and for blessings on Mr. Antonio Guterres as he begins his vital service to the international community. May he be able to garner political will among nations to resolve the global refugee crisis and to achieve the Charter of the United Nations.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Racial Justice Tipping Point Photos from Pace E Bene

We urgently need to address racism in our country, as the daily news so vividly conveys.  For this reason, on Saturday, September 17th, the Sisters of St. Agnes and other groups in Fond du Lac came together on behalf of racial justice in the state of WI. The Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice led the day-long workshop at Marian University for 101 persons. Challenging! Eye-opening! Energizing! The workshop lays a foundation for further collaborations on racial justice at the local level. Click here to view photos.

Concert Across America - End Gun Violence

Concert Across America – End Gun Violence
On Sunday, September 25th, we are invited to raise our voices in song as a path toward ending gun violence in our country. Music has the power to heal wounds, to lift hearts. As a local community or as an individual, please take a moment on Sunday to reflect on the grim statistics related to gun violence in American and resolve to create change through the power of music. You can meditate on this YouTube video: . You also may choose to include a song dedicated to peace during your times of prayer. Thank you for your concern to disarm through song.