Investment, disarmament, demographics

So many noteworthy events and stories are already coming across our desks and computer screens here at the office of Global Sisters Report. We’d like to be able to make them all into feature stories but that just won’t be possible. From time to time in the GSR Today blog we will be calling your attention to news items you may have missed. Here are a few that have happened since GSR has been up and running.

Influencing corporations through shareholder advocacy

Patricia Daly, OP, a member of the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell, New Jersey, was recognized on April 30, 2014, for her groundbreaking 35-year ministry in the field of socially responsible investment, corporate responsibility and shareholder advocacy by Ceres, an organization that advocates for sustainability leadership.

Sr. Pat was awarded the 2014 Joan Bavaria Award, which “recognizes investors, businesses and NGO leaders who have helped move capital markets from a system focused on short-term profits toward one that balances financial prosperity with social and environmental health.” She was cited for her pioneering work in environmental and climate change with such companies as General Electric, Exxon Mobile and Ford Motor Company. Read more. She is also actively engaged with corporations advocating for other issues such as better working conditions and against human trafficking.

Sr. Pat is Executive Director of the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment, an alliance of Catholic institution investors in the New York metropolitan area which belongs to the larger umbrella group the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR). Women religious have played an instrumental role in both organizations.

Pressing for nuclear disarmament

The Republic of the Marshall Islands filed a lawsuit on April 24, 2014 in the International Court of Justice in The Hague against the nine nuclear nations for not carrying out their obligations to disarm under the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty of 1968 and international law. A separate suit was filed against the United States in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco. The Pacific chain of islands was the site of 67 nuclear tests from 1946 to 1958 and has been suffering environmental and health consequences ever since. The lawsuits also point out that the nuclear states are in the process of modernizing nuclear weapon plants. For more information and the full texts of the lawsuits go to www.nuclearzero.org.

Sisters have been involved in nuclear weapons abolition work for decades. Most recently, in February, 84-year old Megan Rice, a Sister of the Holy Child Jesus, was sentenced to 35 months in federal prison for breaking into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., during a protest. The uranium components of nuclear weapons are manufactured at Oak Ridge, which is one of the facilities being modernized.

Within a few days of the filing of the lawsuit by the Marshall Islands, Pope John XXIII was beatified. His encyclical Pacem in Terris, written in April 1963 cries out for a cessation to the arms race and states clearly, “The stock-piles of armaments which have been built up in various countries must be reduced all round and simultaneously by the parties concerned. Nuclear weapons must be banned. A general agreement must be reached on a suitable disarmament program, with an effective system of mutual control.”

The changing face of the church and family

We at Global Sisters Report are aware of the changing face of our church, families and world. In our first Three Stats and a Map feature, we called your attention to maps of migration trends around the world. If you haven’t had the opportunity to check it out yet, we hope you will.

These shifts in demographics are visible in our church. Earlier this week, Boston College issued “Hispanic Ministry in Catholic Parishes,” a report on a national study of U.S. parishes with Hispanic ministry. Hispanics account for 71 percent of the growth of the Catholic population since 1960. These changing dynamics are also reflected in the women religious who are ministering to this growing population. Half of the parishes responding to the survey had at least one Latin American community/order of women religious serving their Spanish-speaking population. Global Sisters Report will be reporting on the ministry of these sisters.

The Boston College study concluded that “parishes must engage in serious discernment with all their members, Hispanic and non-Hispanic, about building communities where all members find themselves at home.”

As the church prepares for the upcoming Synod on the Family, it must recognize that families have become more culturally diverse.

A couple of weeks ago someone called my attention to an enlightening YouTube video that shows that children can lead the way on how to live with our diversity. A corporation in the U.S. that manufactures breakfast cereal decided to create a commercial which featured an interracial family. Negative feedback was strong. The YouTube video features the reaction of children ages 8 to 13. Watching it is definitely worth your time.

[Jan Cebula, OSF, is liaison to women religious in the United States for Global Sisters Report.]

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