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Edition No. 129 — June 15, 2020 
Saint Joseph Villa
Zoom—And The Dream Lives On
June 2020
Julie Gabell, SSJ Associate
George Floyd’s death brought to the forefront issues that for generations have simmered on the back burner of the American psyche. The culture of hate and distrust that has plagued our society throughout generations stood naked before us as we watched a black man’s life ebb away under the unrelenting knee of a white police officer. For anyone who values truth and justice, there was no turning away. As millions thronged the streets of our Nation in protest, we realized that change was no longer an option; it was a mandate.

This month’s Zoom meeting was an attempt to zero in on our experiences with racial intolerance. Examples were many and we spoke at length of the racial divide that still exists in America today. All of us pinpointed the distressing inequality in our society. For example:

  • A black college student who was refused service at a local restaurant. (When she left, her white companions left with her). 
  • A young black boy who was expelled from school for a minor incident, later revealed his one hope was that Sister would reteach him the words of the Our Father.
  • A local pastor who was removed from his parish because of an imminent threat by t he Ku Klux Klan after he expressed a desire to integrate his church by combining separate black and white church services.
  • A black youth who hated to stand on the street corner because he could hear doors lock as the cars sped by.


As educators, many of us have spent the majority of our lives in the classroom teaching children to deal with the complexities of their world in an equitable and just manner. Most us would claim that we have moved beyond prejudice to a place of tolerance and respect. But today everyone in America must sit back and ask themselves, “Am I completely innocent?”

The late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great admirer of the German philosopher Dietrich Bonhoeffer who once said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil.” This challenges all of us to continue the conversation on racial tension and to commit ourselves to undoing the social injustices of our time. It is a collective WE who must make Martin Luther King’s dream live on: a dream where “blacks and whites will sit and eat together”—a dream where “children will no longer be judged by the color of their skin.” 
Photos courtesy: Peg Boyle SSJ and Louise Kane SSJ
Sisters and Associates Share How They Are Living and Working During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Peaceful Protest 
Ocean City, New Jersey 
June 2, 2020
Sister
Sister Dot Urban SSJ
Sister Connie Trainor SSJ Sister Peg Conboy SSJ  and  Sister Dot Urban SSJ  participated in a peaceful protest Tuesday, June 2, 2020.
 
Hundreds—mostly young adults and teens—marched across the bridge from Somers Point, NJ to Ocean City, NJ ending with a rally and sit-in at the police department. All was peaceful and the police were helpful and reached out to protesters. Some protesters expressed appreciation for our presence. We were impressed with the positive energy of the event and grateful to bring the SSJ presence.
Pictured from left: Peg Conboy SSJ, Dot Urban SSJ and Connie Trainor SSJ.
Pierre Toussaint Food Pantry
Donating to Those In Need
Newark, NJ
Pierre Toussaint Food Pantry Our sisters at the Pierre Toussaint Food Pantry in Newark, NJ are working so hard to feed families in need in their community. We thank 3rd Space, for the generous donation they have made
Bonnie Kozemchak
Associate in Mission
Everyone is a Superhero
As a retired pediatric neuropsychologist, I’ve packed my shingle away but still enjoy keeping involved in the fun-side. I have been doing online tutoring/companioning with the assistance of some friends. Dr. Bonnie and her Amazing Superheroes! Geila is a hare who’s superpower is mindfulness. She keeps us grounded and teaches us social skills (she is the adult among us). Aldro is the blind toad who likes to sit on my head. His superpower is being able to see the heart of everyone with unconditional love. He teaches us how to listen for not just what is said but what is often unsaid. Z is just a hot mess! Z is clingy and all over the place, especially when there is music, and often can’t tell you who, what or why. Z’s superpower is understanding about being different, confused and lost. His powers extend to gender issues, traumatic head injury and physical trauma. A chin rub will often stop the chaos, but we love all that chaos and often join in. There are quite a few superheroes who come in and out to interact. My job is to just provide a safe place to be just who we are right where we are and know we are loved. Everyone is a superhero.
Sisters of Saint Joseph
Prayer for Unity and Justice
June 9, 2020
The words, "I can't breathe," break our hearts and demand that we acknowledge institutional racism and join together to pray. On Wednesday June 9th, about 200 Sisters of Saint Joseph and Associates in Mission gathered virtually for a prayer for unity and justice.
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"With the help of God's grace and in fidelity to our founder's expressed wish, we live and work lovingly among all persons with a special preference for those who are poor, which calls us wherever we are to be in union with them."
                                        — SSJ Constitutions #21
Editor, Sister Carole Pollock SSJ | 215.248.7269 | cpollock@ssjphila.org | http://ssjphila.org/home/