Shalom News North America  
An instrument of hope, formation, and action
concerning priority matters of social justice.

In This Issue
Sowing Hope

Bill C-12

Faithful Climate Conversations



Human Trafficking


Inauguration Day



Vigil for Life

World Day of Peace

Religious Freedom

Nuclear Weapons

Let Us Dream
Dear Friend,         
In his World Day of Peace message, Pope Francis states there is "a need for peacemakers, men and women prepared to work boldly and creatively to initiate processes of healing and renewed encounter." He calls us to "strive daily, in concrete and practical ways, to form a community composed of brothers and sisters who accept and care for one another."

May the resources found in this e-newsletter support your efforts to do just that.    

Shalom North America Contacts

Integrity of Creation  
Sowing Hope for the Planet  
Sowing Hope for the Planet is a Laudato Si’ inspired collaboration of the JPIC Commission of UISG (International Union of Superiors General), the Vatican, and the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM). It is a project in which Sisters whose congregations are members of UISG, as well as members of the congregations’ wider network are provided with resources to take action in response to the Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor. Through this multi-year initiative, religious congregations will join with others in the wider global Catholic network to take concrete steps and systemic actions locally and globally to address the climate crisis as well as the suffering of our human family. Click here for an inspiring video of the vision behind this initiative. Scroll down on that same page for the description of the 7 year journey for religious congregations and others toward sustainability in the spirit of Laudato Si’. 
Integrity of Creation  
Canadian Climate Accountability Bill      
The Trudeau government has introduced Bill C-12, which would make Canada’s commitment to getting to net-zero emissions by 2050 legally binding. The “Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act” would require the government to set targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and report annually on progress on the path to 2050. KAIROS is encouraged by this positive step but believes the government must strengthen the deadlines set in the bill to make it effective. Learn more.
Integrity of Creation  
Faithful Climate Conversations
For the Love of Creation recently introduced three conversation guides entitled Faithful Climate Conversations. The guides aim to support faith communities as they engage in conversations about the climate crisis and consider what a faithful response looks like. They are designed for use by small groups of neighbors, friends, co-workers, and church members, and offer an easy-to-follow format with links to important information and resources. Learn more.
Integrity of Creation  
An article in the January 2021 issue of the journal Environment International reveals that scientists have, for the first time, discovered microplastics in human placentas—creating a kind of “Plasticenta,” as the title of the article puts it. The particles were identified as the residue of “paints, coatings, adhesives, plasters, polymers and cosmetics and personal care products.” A total of 12 particles were found in four placentas, out of six donated to Italian scientists. Though more research is necessary to determine the effect of plastics on prenatal development, their presence in the placenta is a matter of urgent concern.

Human Life and Dignity
January is Poverty Awareness Month      
In the United States, tens of millions of people live in a web of poverty. This video offers a unique insight into the complexity of poverty, how it connects to everything that we do and the factors that keep so many people and families entrapped. Utilize this daily calendar (also en Español) to learn about poverty, get inspired by how communities are responding, and take action with others. Longer daily reflections are available (also en Español). You can also sign up to receive daily reflections by email. 

Human Life and Dignity
Human Trafficking Prevention Month
Since 2010, January has also been known as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention month in the United States. The Coalition of Catholic Organization against Human Trafficking (CCOAHT) has put together this wonderful tool kit that includes facts and talking points, along with resources for prayer and taking action. Click here for January edition of the U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking newsletter Stop Trafficking! which focuses on the relationship between climate change, forced migration, poverty, and trafficking.

Talitha Kum, the international network of religious committed to the elimination of human trafficking, has just released a prayer, study, and action packet focused on the connections between the neo-liberal economic model and human trafficking in a time of COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to download this informative packet.
Human Life and Dignity
SSND Webinar - Human Trafficking and a Legacy of Racism
On January 11 at 6:30 pm (Central), sisters, associates, other partners in mission, and friends are invited to a join in an SSND webinar, Human Trafficking and a Legacy of Racism featuring Jennifer Reyes Lay, Executive Director of U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking and Melanie Thompson, a trafficking survivor and activist. No registration is required to attend the webinar, just go to and click on the Zoom link to attend.  
Human Life and Dignity
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (1/18)
Observed each year on the third Monday in January as “a day on, not a day off,” MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities through appropriate civic, community, and service projects. Click here to explore volunteer opportunities in your community.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. Tied in a single garment of destiny, whatever effects one directly, affects all indirectly” - Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Click here for a School Sisters of Notre Dame reflection resource on Dr. King and integral ecology and here for prayer excerpts from Dr. King.

Human Life and Dignity
Inauguration Day - Where Do We Go from Here?
January 20th is inauguration day for President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris. Let us pray for a peaceful transition of power, reconciliation between political factions, and the authentic promotion of justice by the U.S. government. Click here for suggested prayers. Click here for Kathleen Bonnette’s reflection in Millennial: “Where do we go from here? My post-election confessions.”

Throughout this time of transition, the School Sisters of Notre Dame invite you to enter our virtual Prayer Room for Peace. Please feel free to visit this space often and to share this invitation with others. All are welcome!
Human Life and Dignity
International Day of Education (1/24)
The International Day of Education highlights the key role education plays in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. This year’s theme is Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID-19 Generation. This is a suitable and challenging theme as we currently have an estimated 258 million children and youth who do not attend school and 617 million children and adolescents who cannot read and do basic math. The right to education is a fundamental principle of Catholic Social Teaching and is recognized as a fundamental human right in article 26 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which calls for free and compulsory elementary education for all. Learn more.
Human Life and Dignity
Root Causes Initiative Policy Framework
The School Sisters of Notre Dame have joined over 300 other faith-based and civic groups and leaders, including 20 Catholic and Episcopal bishops from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, and the United States, in calling on President-Elect Biden to fundamentally change US policy toward Central America in order to address the root causes of unemployment, climate change, corruption, and violence forcing people to migrate north. The proposed framework for action includes policy recommendations in seven areas: development; work; democracy; human rights and public safety; the environment; demilitarization; and legal immigration pathways. Click here to view full recommendations and list of organizational endorsers. Individuals interested in showing support for these recommendations can sign this petition.
Human Life and Dignity
Justice for Immigrants Recommendations
The USCCB Justice for Immigrants (JFI) initiative has offered a set of policy recommendations for the incoming administration and the 117th Congress. Members of the JFI Core Group have published a series of documents which propose policies to address the root cause of forced migration; ensure access to lawful status and citizenship for migrants; guarantee just and humane border policies; and reform immigration enforcement and end mass detention. Click here to view recommendations. Click here to download the January 2021 SSND International Solidarity Reflection on Migrants and Refugees.
Human Life and Dignity
National Prayer Vigil for Life (1/28-29)
The National Prayer Vigil for Life is an all-night pro-life prayer vigil held on the eve of the March for Life each January. Pilgrims from across the nation pray through the night for an end to abortion and a greater respect for all human life. Prayer continues throughout the night with the National Rosary for Life, Night Prayer and Holy Hours for Life. The following morning, the prayer vigil concludes with Morning Prayer, Benediction and the Closing Mass – click here for the full schedule. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the National Prayer Vigil for Life can be joined virtually via livestream here on the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception website and via broadcast on EWTN.
Peace and Non-Violence
A Culture of Care as a Path to Peace
Pope Francis' 2021 World Day of Peace Message, A Culture of Care as a Path to Peace, is meant to present "A culture of care as a way to combat the culture of indifference, waste and confrontation so prevalent in our time." How timely is this focus! He reminds us that 2020 was a challenging year for many people in many ways, including the Covid-19 health crisis which aggravated already existing crises like climate, food, the economy, racism, and migration.  He mentions the spiritual and corporal works of mercy as the means to a culture of care, not only for each other but also for all of creation. He ends by stating that “In many parts of the world, there is a need for paths of peace to heal open wounds. There is also a need for peacemakers, men and women prepared to work boldly and creatively to initiate processes of healing and renewed encounter.” A gentle challenge for all of us in this new year! Click here for some key quotes from the 2021 World Peace Day message. 
Peace and Non-Violence
National Religious Freedom Day (1/16)
January 16 is National Religious Freedom Day in the United States – a day “to commemorate with events and activities that remind us of our shared heritage of religious liberty and that teach us how to secure this blessing both at home and around the world.” Please pray for all who are persecuted for their faith – the Uighur people in China, Rohingya refugees, and those fleeing persecution in majority-Muslim nations, who are denied refuge in the U.S. For further reflection, consider reading the new book, Voting and Faithfulness: Catholic Perspectives on Politics (edited by Nicholas Cafardi) which offers a more expansive vision of religious freedom than that traditionally put forward in the United States. Read book review here in U.S. Catholic

Peace and Non-Violence
A World Free of Nuclear Weapons
On January 22, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) will enter into force. The 122 signatory States are legally committed to work together for the total elimination of nuclear weapons and to guarantee that these weapons will never be used again in our world. Among other commitments, the States will:
1.    Prevent and suppress any nuclear activity established in the TPNW. (Article 1)
2.    Declare whether it owns, or controls any nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. (Article 2)
3.    Remove and destroy all the nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices that they own, possess, or control (Article 4)
4.    Assist victims and repair the damage caused to the environment by the use and testing of nuclear weapons. (Article 6)
Last month the Vatican sponsored A World Free from Nuclear Weapons, a conference on disarmament. Click below to view the conference recording.
Special thanks to SSND UN-NGO Representative S. Beatriz Martinez-Garcia for contributing this article and the article on the International Day of Education. Learn more about SSND’s UN-NGO ministry here.
Peace and Non-Violence
Let Us Dream 
Pope Francis’ new book, Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future (Simon & Schuster), written in collaboration with his biographer Austin Ivereigh, poignantly captures the ills of today’s world and suggests practical solutions for overcoming them, both personally and systemically. Organized around the pastoral circle (see-judge-act), Let Us Dream will inspire readers to meet the challenge of our age—to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic with deeper connections and more just institutions. Will we dare to dream? Click here for the complete book review by Kathleen Bonnette. 
Quick Links
The SSND Shalom Network witnesses to the Gospel with audacity and hope as we collaborate to build just relationships and respond to the urgent needs of our times. 
Shalom News North America is an e-publication of the Shalom North America Contacts (SNAC) of the School Sisters of Notre Dame - Arlene Flaherty, Ethel Howley, Jeanne Wingenter, Kathleen Bonnette, Rose Mary Sander, and Tim Dewane. Your comments, suggestions, and feedback are always welcomed. Email us at

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