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

In This Issue
Living the Change

Biological Diversity

What is Net Zero?

Human Trafficking





Vigil for LIfe


World Peace

Attack on Democracy

Nuclear Weapons
Dear Friend,         
"The Triune God impels us into the heart of the world to be women of peace, hope and love." Love Gives Everything
Thank you for accompanying us on this journey!

May the resources found in this e-newsletter support your efforts to reflect peace, hope, and love this month and throughout the new year.  

Shalom North America Contacts

(Click here for a pdf version of this newsletter.)
Integrity of Creation 
Living the Change
The SSND commitment to become a Laudato Si' Congregation requires large and small commitments and actions that engage all of us in living more sustainably with our planet. You are invited to consider participating in the Living the Change Challenge, an international interfaith effort to promote climate-friendly living which commences January 1 and ends January 31. It’s a fun and meaningful way each of us can begin the new year and live into our SSND Laudato Si' commitment – learn moreClick here to register and get started.
Integrity of Creation  
Biological Diversity Crisis
As we continue to understand and embrace our commitment to become a Laudato Si Congregation, it is important that we recognize that our planet now faces a global extinction crisis never witnessed by humankind. Scientists predict that more than 1 million species are on track for extinction in the coming decades. As people of faith, we believe that everything that has been created reflects something of the CREATOR of us all. Biological extinction is not only loss of a life form, but it is also the loss of an aspect of God’s self-disclosure in our midst. Each time a species goes extinct, the world around us unravels a bit. The consequences are profound, not just in those places and for those species, but for all of us. These are tangible consequential losses in such sectors as crop pollination and water purification, but also spiritual and cultural losses as well. 
Please click here to read more about the Biological Diversity Crisis in Canada and take action. Urge President Biden to declare the extinction crisis a national emergency, which will unlock key presidential powers to protect species in the United States and beyond.
Integrity of Creation
What is Net Zero and Why Does it Matter?   
The U.N. climate science panel has said man-made carbon dioxide emissions need to fall by about 45% by 2030, from 2010 levels, and reach "net zero" by mid-century to give the world a good chance of limiting warming to 1.5C and avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. Achieving net-zero emissions isn't the same as eliminating all emissions. It means ensuring any human-produced carbon dioxide or other planet-warming gases that can't be avoided or locked up are removed from the atmosphere some other way.
Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, nearly 200 countries said they would act to limit the rise in global average temperatures to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times and strive to keep it to a ceiling of 1.5C. But the world has already heated up by about 1.1C and is on track for warming of close to 2.5C this century. Scientists say that would bring ever-worsening extreme weather and potentially catastrophic sea level rise, making some parts of the planet uninhabitable and fueling hunger and migration. If the mid-century net-zero goals set so far are actually met, global warming could be kept to about 1.8C. Read more.
Human Dignity
Human Trafficking Awareness Month
Human trafficking is present in every state and province SSNDs live and minister. That is the sobering reality. We invite you to take time this month to learn more about human trafficking and to take action to address it. Consider attending a Cybersafety Webinar on protecting our children, or the Light the Darkness national simulcast showcasing the good works that are being done across the U.S. to advance quality care for sexually-exploited persons, or sign-up to take the free on-line Polaris Human Trafficking 101 Class, or review and respond to this month’s U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking Stop Trafficking e-newsletter (which we help sponsor). Please also consider letting your voice be heard by using SSND’s Voter Voice Tool to urge Congress to take action. Prayer resource.
Human Dignity
Poverty Awareness Month (USA)    
Consider this: In 2018, 16.2% of all children (11.9 million kids) lived in poverty in the United States - that’s almost 1 in every 6 children. In 2018, 38.1 million people lived in poverty in the US. Worse yet, 5.3% of the population - or 17.3 million people - live in deep poverty, with incomes below 50% of their poverty thresholds. And 29.9% of the population - or 93.6 million - live close to poverty, with incomes less than two times that of their poverty thresholds. Learn more about poverty in the U.S. here.

Let us begin the new year with a renewed focus on addressing poverty. Download this Poverty Awareness Month calendar or make use of these longer daily reflections. If you prefer, you can sign up to have the daily reflections emailed to you.
Human Dignity
Our Ongoing Global Pandemic
As we begin another year, we thought we should take some time to reflect on the sobering reality of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. As of January 1, there have been an estimated 5.44 million COVID-19 related deaths globally. In Canada the estimated death toll is 30,364 people. In the U.S., the estimate is over 824,000 people. The latest variant, Omicron, has led to a rise in cases here in North America and around the world. Follow these links to learn more about the pandemic in Canada and the United States.
Our understanding of the virus and ability to detect mutations improved significantly in 2021, as did the effectiveness of our treatments. It’s noteworthy that over 8 billion vaccine doses were administered worldwide over the course of the year. While these positive movements towards defeating the pandemic should be applauded, vaccine nationalism and global inequality remain the largest challenges the world faces in this public health war. "Allowing the majority of the world's population to go unvaccinated will not only perpetuate needless illness and deaths and the pain of ongoing lockdowns, but also spawn new virus mutations as COVID-19 continues to spread among unprotected populations,” World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General. Click here to learn more about vaccine nationalism, global inequity, and what we can do. Prayer resource.
Human Dignity 
Immigration Update
Despite the deep disappointment that there was no meaningful legislation in December on immigration reform, we need to keep moving forward. Too many people are negatively affected by their immigration status. DACA, Title 42, Pathway to Citizenship, Afghan and Iraqi Allies Resettlement Act, Remain in Mexico programwe cannot let up on our advocacy for all those affected. Consider choosing one (or more) of these immigration issues, read about it (just click on the link), pray for those affected and those advocating for them, and choose to act in 2022 for immigration reform.
Human Dignity
Martin Luther King Jr Day
On Monday, January 17 we observe Martin Luther King Jr Day. We honor his leadership in the struggle to dismantle racism and to promote God’s vision of justice, peace, and integrity of creation. As we embrace his struggle today, and as we remember his inspiring words and life’s witness, we invite you to gather with others to pray and share reflections around this prayer service. Beginning next week, the St. Louis Archdiocesan Office of Racial Harmony is hosting four Monday evening on-line sessions working through Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” one of the most important documents of the Civil Rights Era. Learn more/register to attend.
Human Dignity
Prayer Vigil for Life (1/20 - 1/21)
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. Both the Opening and Closing Mass will be livestreamed here.
Human Dignity
International Day of Education (1/24)
The School Sisters of Notre Dame have celebrated support for excellent education and access to education for all by their lives and actions. We have always known the power of education to change a person’s life, especially for women and girls. In 2018, the United Nations took action to highlight the essential role education plays in society with the establishment of the International Day of Education. Learn more. To read some inspirational stories of the power of education around the world, click here. In anticipation of the day, consider joining SSNDs and other Catholic sisters on January 12 for a webinar, Education Justice, that explores the issue through the intersecting lenses of racism, migration and climate. Learn more/register here.
Peace and Nonviolence
World Day of Peace Message
In his 2022 World Day of Peace message (a public message that is also specifically sent to foreign ministers around the world), Pope Francis proposes "three paths for building lasting peace" which focus on dialogue between generations, investing less in weaponry and more on education, and improving labor conditions. He concludes his message with a hopeful call,To government leaders and to all those charged with political and social responsibilities, to priests and pastoral workers, and to all men and women of good will, I make this appeal: let us walk together with courage and creativity on the path of intergenerational dialogue, education, and work. May more and more men and women strive daily, with quiet humility and courage, to be artisans of peace. And may they be ever inspired and accompanied by the blessings of the God of peace!” Click here to read the full 2022 World Day of Peace message.
Peace and Nonviolence
January 6 Attack on Democracy
On January 6, 2021, hundreds of President Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capital building, determined to disrupt the formal certification of President Biden’s electoral victory. At least seven people died in connection with the action, dozens more were injured and hundreds of workers in the Capitol were shaken and traumatized, further fracturing an increasingly partisan Congress. On the evening of January 5, people of faith will gather in Washington DC for an hour of prayer, reading of sacred scriptures, and individual reflection. You can join in this “Healing the Wound: An Interfaith Vigil” from your home. Click here to register.
Peace and Nonviolence
Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty) entered into force a year ago this month - on January 22, 2021. It is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons with the ultimate goal being their total elimination. For those nations that are party to it, the treaty prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, and use of nuclear weapons. For nuclear armed states joining the treaty, it provides for a time-bound framework for negotiations leading to the verified and irreversible elimination of its nuclear weapons program. Today, nine nations hold the 14,500 nuclear weapons standing in the world today. Most are held by the United States and Russia. Click here to read the joint statement by the leaders of the five nuclear-weapon states, On Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races, that was released on January 3. Click here to learn more about the treaty and to explore ways you can take action to eliminate nuclear weapons.
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, Mary Carter Waren, Rose Mary Sander, and Tim Dewane. Your comments, suggestions, and feedback are always welcomed. Email us at

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