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Edition No. 132 — August 3, 2020 
Saint Joseph Villa
July 26, 2020
Julie Gabell, SSJ Associate
The Villa Zoomers came face to face this week with the hard reality that many of our past assumptions were just not true. Movie depictions of cowboy heroes and threatening Indians fall far short of the truth. We hailed Columbus as the bold discoverer of America, yet Columbus misjudged his mark and landed southeast of Cuba where he enslaved and brutalized the native people. Our Constitution promised equality for all, yet somewhere along the line, “We the people” disregarded Women, Blacks, Native Americans and Inuit (Alaskan) peoples. 

Just a few thoughts to turn our comfortable world upside down!

Today, when so many curved lines are being made straight, it is essential to move toward an informed understanding of current inequities in our society--in this case, those affecting Native Americans. To this end, we invited Sister Mary Elizabeth Clark SSJ , Director of the SSJ Earth Center, and Chief Shelly DePaul of the Lenape Native American Tribe to share with us their insights and experience.

Injustices we have always had with us, but seeing them laid out in black and white pipes a different tune. Notable among them is the Doctrine of Discovery, a policy promulgated by Pope Alexander VI in the Papal Bull of 1493 that opened the door to centuries of suffering, abuse, and genocide. It established a spiritual, political, and legal justification for seizure of land occupied by non-Christians and dealt a crippling blow to indigenous peoples who had inhabited the land for thousands of years. 

Centuries later, Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830 that led to the forced relocation of nearly 20,000 Native Americans from their ancestral homes to areas West of the Mississippi. During that tragic journey known as the “Trail of Tears” almost 6000 American Indians died of cholera, overexposure, or starvation.
Though these are just two astounding events in the history of the Native American, countless other incidents and stereotypes cry out for retribution. The disconnect goes on today when white protestors turn the Lakota into anti-pipeline eco-warriors while they ignore the fact that these same native peoples continue to live in the worst poverty found within our nation. 

Today when many Native Americans have assimilated into everyday life, it is time to forego stereotypes that freeze them in time. Leave them to the movies along with names of sports teams such as “Mohawks” or “Redskins” -- racial slurs that natives find offensive.

The Poor Peoples Campaign demands that we recognize that Native Americans remain part of the systemic racism that continues to pervade our country. It also demands that we  recognize that we are all people of the same planet, all people of peace, beauty, and respect connected to each other and to Mother Earth. Knowing that, we have no choice but to advocate for change.

Note: The dialogue over the Document of Discovery has been reopened and appeals have been made to the Vatican and Pope Francis to rescind this antiquated Papal bull.
Pictured right: Chief Shelly DePaul of the Lenape Native American Tribe
Sisters and Associates Share How They Are Living
and Working During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Arlene Finocchiaro , SSJ Associate in Mission

Lockdown has forced some of us to pursue unexpected creativity. I have worked with the media of polymer clay for about 40 years making jewelry. I have always admired the mixed media shrines of Laurie Mika. I always wanted to try making some but never got around to it until Covid-19 derailed my usual schedule. My studio is closed during the winter as it is not heated so spring was the perfect time to open up. I wanted to create a type of religious art that would honor the Blessed Mother, Jesus and the saints. So each unique shrine I’ve created combines techniques from years of workshops with the prayerful time in its formation. Friends have been very receptive wanting them for their homes and private prayer spaces. Each shrine is 6 to 8 inches high and embellished with jewelry, stones or beads..
Sisters of Saint Joseph of Philadelphia
Vocaton Office
Michelle Lesher SSJ
These are most of the 52 of us who gathered for a virtual national gathering. We shared a wonderful afternoon.
Saint Joseph Villa
Thank You
Thank you so much  Edges of Philadelphia Figure Skating Club for the donation of homemade masks.
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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 | |