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Edition No. 133 — August 12, 2020 
Saint Joseph Villa
ZOOM: A Move Toward Restorative Justice
by Julie Gabell, SSJ Associate
Death has never been a pretty topic. But to speak of the death penalty has sparked an emotional dark side for many generations. The death penalty in America dates back to the pilgrims who first recorded the execution of Captain George Kendall at Jamestown in 1608. Subsequent times saw individual states employing execution methods such as the firing squad, hanging, the gas chamber, electrocution and lethal injection.
This week Villa Zoomers bravely broached the topic of capital punishment as meted out by our criminal justice system. Not an easy discussion.

Catholic social teaching calls us to uphold a consistent ethic of life, regardless of a person’s innocence or guilt. It teaches us to live as a community of justice and mercy. Capital Punishment, on the other hand, flies directly in the face of this teaching. When serious crime hits close to home, our feelings can be turned inside out and upside down. It is then that an abiding Faith must take center stage to reinforce the belief that we are all one family rooted in a common need for forgiveness and support
Our discussion took palpable form when Sister Leonissa O’Brien SSJ shared with Zoomers the traumatic murder of her brother twenty-seven years ago. Despite the time lapse, her pain was raw. This made her opposition to the death penalty far more poignant, for it underscored the suffering one grapples with to find forgiveness in the midst of heart-breaking pain. Today Sister is a firm advocate for Restorative Justice. She believes that the harm done by a crime is better repaired when the needs of victims, offenders, and community are attended to.

This week Villa Zoomers left the discussion with a better understanding of how the death penalty disrupts the fabric of our society. It 1) disregards the dignity of the person, 2) disproportionately affects the poor and disadvantaged, 3) offers the false promise of healing to a victim’s family, and 4) sacrifices the common good to feed a sense of vengeance and retribution.

All reasons to heed the gospel call to a compassionate sense of societal justice in our own lives and throughout the world!
Sisters and Associates Share How They Are Living
and Working During the COVID-19 Pandemic
SSJ Welcome Center
August 2020
In a spirit of unity and reconciliation, the SSJ Welcome Center staff met with the police officers in the 24th district. They shared a prayer for their safety, the safety of the residents in Kensington and an end to the senseless shootings and violence in our city
Sister Kathleen McShane SSJ, Director of the Welcome Center, expresses her gratitude to the officers of the 24th district.
Pictured from left: Pat Madden SSJ, Marian Behrle SSJ and Fran Ratay SSJ
Sister Cecilia Cyford SSJ
Vacation Bible School
Sacred Heart Parish 
Glyndon, MD
Sister Cecilia is busy helping children engage in crafts, experiments, Bible Stories and music activities during their first virtual Vacation Bible School (VBS) at Sacred Heart Parish in Glyndon, Maryland! 

She is the conductor aboard the Rocky Railway Express as she and her leaders help the children to stay on track with Jesus! Aboard the Railway Express the children see how Jesus’ power gives them hope, helps them be good friends and how to be on the lookout for God Sightings in their travels! 

The children have received much “Cool Cargo” to use including Saint cards, clips, magnet forms and sticker scenes! Since the VBS is viewed from home the whole family can travel aboard the Railway Express and see many ways to all stay on track with Jesus.
Sister Cecilia is ready to conduct the Rocky Railway Express!
Sister Jude Boyce SSJ
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School
Asbury Park, NJ
Sister Jude Boyce SSJ is the development director at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School in Asbury Park, NJ. She was also teaching fourth grade Math until the pandemic hit. At that time the teachers conducted online classes, the afterschool enrichment classes and had in-school summer camp for 30-40 children. 

Click here to view a  video as the students reflect on the education at Mt. Carmel from March 13-July 30. 
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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 | |