Volume 8.12 | June 29, 2020
In this Issue:

Quarantine Experiences from St. Paul Parish

Franciscan Sisters Leave Miami

Advocating for Social Justice Through our Investments
Quarantine Experiences from St. Paul Parish
By: Kathleen Stagnaro OSF and Joan Carberry OSF
For 11 weeks while the church was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sister Joan and Sister Kathleen hosted the Sunday live-streamed 9:30 a.m. Mass from the convent chapel. This was very fitting since the Franciscan Sisters first came to St Paul Parish in 1930. Twelve sisters arrived and in five days, on Sept 15, 1930, they opened the newly built school – nine grades with 136 students. Three girls from the first graduation class of 1934 entered the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany and all three persevered until their death – Sisters Conrad Wiersteiner (2011), Dorothy Pitts (2012) and Cecilia Gillooley (2003). Although the church was closed for Masses, it was opened every day for people to come and pray. Also live-streamed were the daily rosary and a daily inspirational talk by our priests. The parish had several drive-thru Sundays so parishioners could come by and greet us as they picked up their palms, Easter Eggs and on every first Sunday to bring non-perishable food items for the poor. Cars were decorated and displayed posters – all thanking the priests and sisters for their care and concern for them.

Although the school building was closed, school was still in session and from home they were doing virtual learning with their students. Students were required to sign in first thing in the morning and if they did not, the parents received a phone call. Sister Joan and the principal worked in the building after the two weeks of quarantine. They were on Zoom calls with teachers, parents, other diocesan education leaders, and making plans for graduation, end of the year celebrations, Confirmation, etc. Calls were also made regarding COVID-19 and related matters such as funding for COVID-19 materials, and reopening of the school. 

The teachers, the principal and Sister Joan took the parish bus and stopped by the homes of all the 8 th graders, bringing them pre-graduation presents. We were happy to be able to hold Graduation in the church but of course attendance was limited to parents and siblings and social distancing was imperative. Sister Kathleen - Outreach Minister of the Parish - kept in touch with parishioners who were homebound or in facilities such as ALF’s and nursing homes. All facilities were closed to visitors, so keeping in touch was important and done through phone calls, letters and emails. Other groups Sr. Kathleen stayed in contact with were the Eucharistic Ministers to the elderly and sick, the bus drivers, the Columbiettes, and the Young at Heart Club. The communications consisted of news items about the parish, updates on the virus, inspirational quotes and also humorous items. Some of our many volunteers were a help with all this and offered to shop or bring items to anyone unable to go out.

We are still feeling the effects of the virus. Some people are still reluctant to return to the church for Masses and parents are still concerned about their children returning to school. Our campus has been quiet – we miss the children’s voices and laughter. We look forward to the opening of school in August and the return of all our parishioners to the church.
Franciscan Sisters Leave Miami
By: Priscilla Greear for Florida Catholic
Amid early 20th century business tycoons, land speculators and confirmed sun-seekers, the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany migrated southward to the Miami swamplands in 1927 on a medical mission - another in the long-standing chain of connections between Floridians and New Yorkers.

Irish native Mother Alice and five other Franciscan [Sisters] of Allegany, New York, arrived in Miami Beach to run the Allison Hospital, which was renamed St. Francis Hospital. Then in 1934 the pioneers established St. Joseph Hospital in Tampa and, from 1947 through 1991, ran Corpus Christi School in Miami.

St. Francis [Hospital] provided compassionate medical care for decades until its closure in 1992.Continuing that legacy, Allegany Franciscan MInistries helps the poor access health care in Miami-Dade, Martin and Palm Beach counties.

Corpus Christi Church celebrated a farewell Mass in December for the last two Allegany Franciscans in Miami: Sister Lucy Cardet and Sister Michele Dolyk. Over the years, up to 90 sisters worked at Corpus Christi or at the hospital, according to Sister Lucy. "To please God, we've done what was ours to do, and it has been a benefit to the people," she said. Speaking by phone from the Motherhouse, some of the sisters reflected on the Franciscan values that guided their Miami work.

Recent statement on our affiliated organization for advocating for social justice through our investments
By: Gloria Oehl OSF
In light of recent racist incidents including the murders of Breonna Taylor, Tony McCade, and George Floyd, Investor Advocates for Social Justice (IASJ) stands in solidarity with the ongoing protests, and is committed to take action on racial justice. 

As representatives of investors, IASJ recognizes and acknowledges that our country’s economy is rooted in structural racism and was founded on the exploitation and enslavement of Black Americans. We view with heavy hearts the reality of current financial and social systems that continue to oppress Black Americans and all people of color. Inherently racist punitive systems like surveillance, policing, and incarceration have contributed to deepening racial wealth gaps that compound other negative impacts of discrimination. As these events unfold on the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, we see these discriminatory forces leading to worse health outcomes and higher mortality rates for Black communities. 

Now more than ever, IASJ accepts our responsibility as financial actors to use our investments as leverage to advance racial justice in all forms. Internally, IASJ is committed to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion, and recognizes that we have work to do. IASJ strives to demonstrate respect and accountability throughout our hiring practices, organizational policies, and partnerships with community organizations. In our work, IASJ is called to act against structural racism by engaging with companies in our Affiliates’ and Partners’ portfolios whose services or operations further systems of racial oppression. These include violations of labor rights, workplace discrimination, private prison funding, contracts with military, police, or immigration enforcement, pollution in environmental justice communities, weapons sales, and development of surveillance technology. IASJ is committed to further incorporate a racial justice lens into our investor engagements and advocate for public policy to advance the systemic change needed.  

From our founding during the movement to divest from apartheid in South Africa in the 1970’s, IASJ has a legacy as faith-based investors of using its leverage to fight for racial justice. Now IASJ stands with those who are raising their voices and risking their lives to denounce a system that oppresses and targets Black people. We are committed to matching our solidarity with action and will organize and mobilize our community to look internally and chart a course forward for our investments and advocacy to address systemic racism.