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In the summer of 2018, Sister Maria Louise Edwards—who belongs to the Felician Sisters of North America—happened upon a photo essay in the New York Times titled “They Have a Mission in the Desert: Finding the Bodies of Border Crossers,” by Simon Romero, with photos by Victor J. Blue. The story stopped her in her tracks. It described the efforts of an organization called the Águilas del Desierto (“Eagles of the Desert”) to recover the remains of migrants who died during border crossings.
“I was really moved by what I read, but, at the same time, it was like this complete disconnect because I couldn’t understand how all of this was happening, and this was the first I had heard of it,” Sister Maria Louise says. The photo essay showed a group of volunteers braving the heat to help a man locate the remains of his brother. As Sister Maria Louise learned more about the Águilas, she saw that the organization was helping to bring closure to families and dignity to those who died in the desert.
Save the Date: Wear Orange on June 3
Every year on the first Friday in June, members of the gun violence prevention movement come together to honor survivors of gun violence and demand a future free from this crisis. With more shootings every day, such as the recent Southern California church shooting and Buffalo shooting, we invite you to join moms, students, veterans, survivors, and others by wearing orange throughout the weekend to show your support—in every state across the country.
June 3 is National Gun Violence Awareness Day, starting Wear Orange Weekend to honor those killed and wounded by gun violence, and to call for an end to our country’s gun violence crisis. FAN staff will be taking part and we hope you will join us. Find ways to join in online by clicking here.
Resources for peacemaking and nonviolence:
- Bystander intervention: Mennonite Mission Network
- Dialogue: Having better conversations on divisive issues (MCC Canada)
- Peaceful protests: Nonviolence guidelines
- Prayer walks and singing: Peace prayer walk toolkit | Hong Kong protests: How Hallelujah to the Lord became an unofficial anthem
- Polarization: Beacon: Us and Them | National Association of Evangelicals: For the health of the nation
- Protect the Results coalition: https://protecttheresults.com/
- Faithful Democracy’s “Sacred Season of Voting”: https://faithfuldemocracy.us/resources/
- Faithful America is encouraging pastors to preach about counting every vote and this article from NCR, which has a Catholic focus, talks about a lot of these efforts.
“It was so much higher than I expected. I wondered aloud how anyone could possibly climb over it. One volunteer said they use ladders on the Mexican side to climb up, and then drop down onto the US side. It seemed impossible to not get hurt.
“The Wall seemed to be about two stories high, maybe 20 feet. Another volunteer remarked that the gentleman we were searching for didn’t get very far. Someone said that he had broken his leg when he dropped down. He tried to continue, but within a very short time, the group had to leave him behind.
“Someone pointed to a powdery sandy area and said that authorities rake this sand so footprints will be clearly seen if someone jumps down and walks across it. The bars are about six inches apart. “One of the guys tried to climb it like a coconut tree, but he didn’t get very far. I put my arm through and for a few moments I was in two countries. I wondered how anything ‘we have’ could need this much protection. “The group returned to the search area a little subdued. Unfortunately, the vegetation was so thick that we did not locate the migrant’s body.”
The following is a joint statement issued by The National Black Sisters’ Conference (NBSC) and the Leadership Conference of Women
Religious (LCWR) in response to the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.
We, the National Black Sisters’ Conference and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, stand together in our commitment to the sacred dignity of each human person as emphasized in Catholic Social Teaching.
In the aftermath of the guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, we recommit to working for real and sustained systemic change in the struggle to end institutional racism in every aspect of our society. Sadly, we know that the trend of fatal police shootings has only escalated in this country over the last four years. The rate of fatal police shootings among Black Americans is much higher than that of any other ethnic group. Starting with the savage beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles in 1991 up to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the trend of abuse at the hands of law enforcement has alarmingly increased.
In 2020 there were 1,021 fatal police shootings, and in the first three months of this year 213 people have been shot by the police; 30 of whom were African Americans. Police brutality is only one of the many manifestations of systemic racism; but it is one that too often ends in the death of too many young African Americans. We believe that we are at a crucial moment in race relations in this country. We must acknowledge and work to eradicate the sin of White Privilege that seeks to affirm the false superiority of Anglo-Saxon culture and way of life. We must as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. admonished us “learn to live together as brothers (and sisters) or perish together as fools.” Therefore, we call upon all people of good will and especially people of faith to join us in working for real and sustainable solutions to the racial divide in our country. We will not rest and our work will not be done until the belief that all people are created equal and entitled to the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, is a lived reality for every American citizen.
Felician Sisters Changing the World with the Community of Sant’Egidio
A painting near the dining room
The Community of Sant’ Egidio is an “international public association of the laity” of more than 60,000 lay people active in more than 73 countries throughout the world. The Community was founded in 1968 by ndrea Riccardi, an Italian historian, professor, politician and activist.
The second refugee family consisted of two teenage girls who were being hidden from their Muslim uncle who attempted to sell them into marriage to terrorists. Both families stretched the sisters’ understanding of different cultures and religions and opened their hearts to all in need.
S Jusciêda Maria Araύjo Menezes joined Sister Margaret on Friday evenings at the Community Center. Sister Jusciêda continued her service at the Community Center. The poor around the Vatican greet Sister Jusciêda as Madre.
After being set up to house the homeless, the palace was dedicated and blessed by Pope Francis. Sister Jusciêda volunteered to serve breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Since the hope was to have women religious and seminarians involved in this ministry, Sister Jusciêda invited members of the Generalate community to assist her in serving breakfast on the weekends.
Thus far, S Elaine Marie Frigo, SM Anita Bienia, SM Carlotta Myszka, SM Dominika Kazimierczuk, and SM Renée Kurczaba have volunteered their time to minister to the poor. According to Sister Renée, the most important aspect of this ministry is one of presence. She explained, “Most of the sisters do not speak Italian, but the poor around the Vatican are from several European countries and some of them speak English. However, the gift of presence transcends language.”