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Edition No. 13    July 26, 2016

The Pain of Racism

Prayer Service

Saint Joseph Villa


Nearly eight years after the election of President Barack Obama, racism is still very much alive in our nation. Individual and structural racism is tearing at the very fabric of our nation. It is cloaked in seemingly different and even benign issues such as tax codes, school districts, the criminal justice system and the allocation of federal resources.  


In his address to the United States Congress last September, Pope Francis invited them, and us, to promote respect for the dignity of every human person: “Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility. You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics. Building a future of freedom requires love of the common good, desire only good for all others, offering our own truth with equal measures of conviction and humility.”  


On July 21, 2016 in the chapel of Saint Joseph Villa, sisters and staff gathered to remember all the lives lost to needless violence in our nation and world, most recently in Baltimore, MD; Baton Rouge, LA; Saint Paul, MN; Dallas, TX; Nice, France and Turkey.  


Sister Dorothy Apprich SSJ, Executive Director of Saint Joseph Villa explained: “On the eve of the Republican Convention in the city of Cleveland, a large group of people joined together to pray for unity using the theme “Circle the City with Love.” This prayer rally, spearheaded by the Congregation of Saint Joseph of Cleveland, invited people of all races and creeds to join hands, line the bridge to the city and actually circle the city with love. This action gave witness to the power of unity in our world, which so desperately needs this gift.  


Let us do the same today as we gather as one in prayer for racial unity. Let us join together to circle our nation with love… to circle our city with love… and to circle this Villa with love so that we, Sisters of Saint Joseph and Partners in Mission, might truly witness to our mission of unity.”  


At the conclusion of the prayer service, everyone was invited to sign copies of the LCWR (Leadership Conference for Women Religious) letter, which would be sent to the Republican and Democratic Conventions. The letter stated, in part: ‘Let us engage in careful listening and honest questioning. Let us honor the dignity of those with whom we disagree and treat them with the respect that is their God-given right. Let us seek the common good, desire only good for all others and offer our own truth with equal measures of conviction and humility.’  


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“Although we realize that our vowed life in community involves a visible religious presence, our primary sign of unity is our expression of Christian love and service as Sisters of Saint Joseph. Thus our life together becomes a source of vitality and mutual enrichment both for ourselves and the human community.”


— SSJ Constitutions #60
Editor, Sister Carole Pollock SSJ | 215.248.7269 | cpollock@ssjphila.org | http://ssjphila.org/new/