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

In This Issue
Cry of the Poor

Sustainable Development

Plastic Free July

Laudato Si' Conference

Healthy Planet, Healthy People

Sr. Kateri Tekakwitha

Displaced People

Human Trafficking

Indigenous Peoples

Gun Violence

Restorative Justice


Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Dear Friend,         
As SSNDs move forward with the commitment to become a Laudato Si’ congregation, it is important to grow our awareness and engagement with the seven Laudato Si' Goals in which this initiative is rooted. Each goal represents an aspect of the crisis facing Earth and the community of life. Each goal also invites us to actions that will contribute to Earth’s healing. We will highlight a different Laudato Si' Goal in each newsletter for the remainder of 2021. This month, we highlight the goal: Response to the Cry of the Poor.

Shalom North America Contacts

(Click here for a pdf version of this newsletter.)
Laudato Si' Goals  
Laudato Si' Goal 2 - Response to the Cry of the Poor
In the second Laudato Si’ Goal, Response to the Cry of the Poor, we are called to understand the relationship between the planet’s exploitation and commodification, and that of billions of our brothers and sisters, globally. The roots of both injustices are intertwined and interrelated. In his 2021 message for the Fifth World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis writes: “How can we give a tangible response to the millions of the poor who frequently encounter only indifference, if not resentment? What path of justice must be followed so that social inequalities can be overcome and human dignity, so often trampled upon, can be restored?” In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis urges us to respond to the impoverishment of people and Earth with an integral ecology approach.
Learn more about the Laudato Si' Goals and the Laudato Si' Action Platform here and how SSND and other women religious are embracing the commitment to integral ecology here. 
Integrity of Creation  
UN Forum on Sustainable Development 
The high-level political forum on sustainable development (HLPF) is the core United Nations platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The meeting of the HLPF in 2021 began on Tuesday, July 6 and will continue to Thursday, July 15. This year’s forum will discuss Sustainable Development Goal 1 (No Poverty), Goal 2 (Zero Hunger), Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), Goal 10 (Reduced Inequalities), Goal 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), Goal 13 (Climate Action), Goal 16 (Peace, Justice), and Goal 17 (Partnerships) in depth. Learn more, watch the 2021 HLPF on UN WebTV.
Integrity of Creation  
Plastic Free July
Globally we are producing over 380 million tons of plastic every yearReports indicate that up to 50% of that is for single-use purposes – utilized for just a few moments, but on the planet for at least several hundred years. Plastic Free July is a global movement that promotes being part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. Will you be part of Plastic Free July by choosing to refuse single-use plastics? It’s not too late to participate. Learn more/join the challenge today!
Integrity of Creation  
Laudato Si' and the U.S. Catholic Church Conference    
Sponsored by the Catholic Climate Covenant and Creighton University, the conference aims to inspire Catholics to more deeply integrate Laudato Si’ into the work of the U.S. Church. An opening panel will assess why the U.S. Catholic response to Laudato Si’ has not been commensurate with the urgency and gravity of the climate crisis. The closing address by Sister Ilia Delio, OSF, PhD, will consider Catholic spiritual and theological insights that can enliven a more faithful commitment to care for our common home. Participation in the July 13-15 conference is free, but advance registration is required. Learn more/register.
Integrity of Creation  
Healthy Planet, Healthy People Petition
Facilitated by the Global Catholic Climate Movement, the “Healthy Planet, Healthy People Petition" provides Catholics an opportunity to urge world leaders who will be participating in the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in October and the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in November, to acknowledge and act upon the need for ambitious, integrated, and transformative action that responds to both the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor. Learn more/sign the petition.  
Integrity of Creation 
St. Kateri Tekakwitha
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha was an indigenous woman of deep faith who reverenced the earth and its produce. Born in 1656 in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon (present-day New York State), Kateri was orphaned in 1660 due to the small-pox epidemic. She suffered from severe scars on her face and blindness in one eye due to small-pox. She became skilled at traditional women’s arts, making clothing and belts from animal skins; weaving mats, baskets, and boxes from reeds and grasses; and preparing food from game and crops. Saint Kateri is the patroness of ecology and the environment. Her feast day in the U.S. is July 14. Learn more, prayer resource.
Human Life and Dignity
Worldwide Displacement Hits Record High
The number of people forcibly displaced by conflict, violence, persecution and human rights abuses rose for the ninth year in a row in 2020 to reach 82.4 million, despite COVID-19 making it harder for those fleeing to seek safety abroad, according to the latest Global Trends report released by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. The total is equivalent to 1 in every 95 people, and represents a four percent increase over the previous year. “Behind each number is a person forced from their home and a story of displacement, dispossession and suffering,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “They merit our attention and support – not just with humanitarian aid, but in finding solutions to their plight.” Learn more.
Human Life and Dignity
New Trafficking in Persons Report
The U.S. State Department has issued its 2021 Trafficking in Persons Report. The annual report is a critical tool to monitor and assess efforts to eliminate human trafficking. For the first time, the report draws a link with systemic racism in the United States and abroad, connecting discriminatory policies to the perpetuation of human trafficking. The report underscores the pandemic’s effect on trafficking, documents 11 countries where the government itself is the trafficker, and recognizes “a continued lack of progress and sustained effort to comprehensively address labor trafficking in the United States." Learn more, read full report, watch video briefing below. 
Human Life and Dignity
World Day Against Trafficking in Persons (7/30)
On July 30th, we commemorate the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. The theme this year is “Victims’ Voices Lead the Way.” An estimated 40.3 million people—primarily women and girls—are currently being trafficked and exploited for profit. As Pope Francis urges, our aim should be “for every enslaved person to return to being a free agent of his or her own life and to take an active part in the construction of the common good.” Learn more here. View our webinars, Human Trafficking and a Legacy of Racism and The Year for the Elimination of Child Labor: Challenge and Hopeboth highlight the voices of survivors. Click here for a prayer service. Take Action: In the U.S., advocate for the passage of the EARN IT Act, which seeks to curb the online exploitation of children; in Canada: advocate on behalf of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Human Life and Dignity
International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples (8/9)
There are over 476 million indigenous peoples living in 90 countries across the world, accounting for 6.2 per cent of the global population. Indigenous peoples are the holders of a vast diversity of unique cultures, traditions, languages and knowledge systems. They have a special relationship with their lands and hold diverse concepts of development based on their own worldviews and priorities. The 2021 theme for Indigenous Peoples Day is “Leaving no one behind: Indigenous peoples and the call for a new social contract.” Learn more.
Human Life and Dignity
Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada
Bill C-15, An Act Respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, has become law in Canada. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provides a road map to advance lasting reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. It outlines the additional steps that must be taken to respect, recognize, and protect the human rights of Indigenous peoples and to address the wrongs of the past. Learn more
Did you know that Canada's revised Oath of Citizenship officially recognizes First Nations, Inuit and Métis, and the obligation that all citizens have to uphold the treaties between the Crown and Indigenous nations? Read more.
Peace and Non-Violence
Summer of Gun Violence
2020 was the deadliest gun violence year in the U.S. in decades and this year is on track to be worse. Shootings this past July 4th weekend resulted in more than 180 deaths and 516 people wounded. We must do more to stem this trend. In city after city, community violence prevention and intervention programs save lives and lower the number of gun homicides by nearly 50%. Join us in urging Congress to support funding for violence prevention programs and bipartisan background checks
Peace and Non-Violence
A Restorative Justice Engagement Guide for Catholic Communities
Paths of Renewed Encounter is a new resource from our friends at Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN) which invites individuals and groups to embrace healing approaches to crime, harm, and injustice while reflecting on the unique ways that Catholic ministries and teachings can shepherd processes that transform relationships, communities, and systems. This expansive resource features theological teachings, restorative justice basics, reflection questions, and next steps for discernment and engagement. Learn more/download resource.
Peace and Non-Violence
Time to Ban Landmines
In 2020, the Trump administration announced a new policy allowing the U.S. military to develop, produce and acquire landmines, and deploy them anywhere in the world. Despite a campaign commitment to “promptly roll back this deeply misguided decision,” the Biden Administration has yet to reverse this policy. Landmines disproportionately maim and kill civilians, especially children. They are hard to safely destroy or remove, and they continue to inflict human suffering long after conflicts end. 164 countries have signed the Mine Ban Treaty, committing themselves not to develop, produce, acquire, use, retain, stockpile, or transfer anti-personnel landmines. Although the United States was among the first to call for it, it still has not ratified the treaty. Take action.
Peace and Non-Violence
Hiroshima, Nagasaki (8/6, 8/9)
More than three-quarters of a century has passed since the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki awakened the world to the inhumanity of nuclear weapons. Although we have made some progress towards a world without nuclear weapons, more than 13,000 remain, and experts warn that the risk of nuclear catastrophe is at its highest level in a generation. Read this reflection, We Must End the Nuclear Threat Before it Ends Us by Cardinal Cupich. This summer, Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Back from the Brink Campaign invite us to engage local elected officials to urge the administration to move away from investing more funds in nuclear weapons. Learn more/take action.
Next Issue
Our next issue of Shalom News North America
will be published on September 1. Have a great summer!
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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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