Category Archives: Social Justice

DC sponsored ministry: Seton Harvest, Evansville, IN

Joe Schalasky, farmer at Seton Harvest (photo courtesy of the Province of St. Louise)

Joe Schalasky, farmer at Seton Harvest (photo courtesy of the Province of St. Louise)

In honor of Earth Day, we spotlight a current sponsored ministry of the Province of St. Louise, Seton Harvest.

Established in 2005, Seton Harvest is a is a certified naturally-grown produce farm. It is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm, which divides its produce among a committed group of supporters who share with the farmer the risks and benefits of farming. What sets Seton Harvest apart from other CSAs is that the shareholders, along with the Daughters of Charity and other fundraising efforts, support the donation of at least 10,000 pounds of produce (about 20-23 percent) a year to Evansville-area homeless shelters and food pantries. Joe Schalasky, farmer, shares, “If I could, I would love to be able to grow it all for charity.”

Seton Harvest Mission Statement
To use the land in a just and environmentally conscious way by sharing locally grown food with shareholders, as well as persons who are poor and homeless, and by providing educational opportunities around sustainable agriculture

Learn more at www.setonharvest.org

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Filed under Earth Day, Ministries, Social Justice

International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking

International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking (image courtesy of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops)

International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking (image courtesy of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops)

February 8 marked the Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita and the first International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking. The Daughters of Charity, along with many other communities of women religious, have taken a corporate stance against human trafficking. The text below comes from the Stop Trafficking Newsletter and the Vatican News Service

The day is intended to raise awareness and to encourage reflection on “the violence and injustice that affect” the numerous victims of trafficking, according to a Nov. 25 press release from the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers.

Trafficking victims “have no voice, do not count, and are no one. They are simply slaves,” the council said.

The observance also is designed to seek solutions and promote concrete action to stop trafficking.

The organizers underlined the need to ensure the rights, freedom and dignity of all trafficked people and to denounce the criminal organizations involved in human trafficking, as well as those who “use and abuse” the victims as “goods for pleasure and gain.”

On his flight back to Rome from Strasbourg, France, Nov. 25, Pope Francis told reporters “slavery is a reality inserted in the social fabric today, and has been for some time: slave labor, the trafficking of persons, the sale of children — it’s a drama. Let’s not close our eyes to this. Slavery is a reality today, the exploitation of persons,” he explained.

The new observance is being promoted for all dioceses, parishes and church groups by the council for migrants, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the international unions of superiors general of men’s and women’s religious orders.

Several other Catholic organizations are supporting the initiative, including the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences, Caritas Internationalis, World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations and Jesuit Refugee Service.

St. Josephine Bakhita was born in Sudan in 1869 and enslaved as a child. Eventually she was sold to an Italian diplomat and taken to Italy, where she was later brought to freedome through the help of the Canossian Daughters of Charity. Through their guidance, she learned about God and served him faithfully until her death in 1947.

In October 2000 Pope John Paul II canonized Bakhita, noting, “In St. Josephine Bakhita we find a shining advocate of genuine emancipation. The history of her life inspires not passive acceptance but the firm resolve to work effecrtively to free girls and women from oppression and violence, and to return them to their dignity in the full exercise of their rights”.

Additional resources:
“Turn On a Light Against Human Trafficking” – from FAMVIN.org

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Anti-Trafficking Program

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Filed under Human Trafficking, Social Justice

More stories of Daughters of Charity at the border

By Sister Mary Ellen Lacy

Sister Mary Ellen Lacy has shared with us many powerful stories of her work with immigrants along the border. The story below, received today, is shared here with her permission.

In mass yesterday, I was contemplating my time here on the border and the fact that it will be ending soon. As the array of scared, wounded children I have met flashed through my mind, the gospel was read by a blind deacon. The subsequent homily was delivered by a local priest who had just been released from the hospital after a kidney transplant. Both men were giving all they had toward the hastening of the Kingdom. Coincidentally, yesterday’s gospel was about the loaves and fishes. You know the one, Jesus is sorrowful at the death of John the Baptist. He goes to the beach and thousands follow Him. It gets late and everyone is hungry. The apostles want to send the folks away because they think they have insufficient resources to feed everyone. Jesus gets a little ticked and He says, (and I paraphrase) “Look, this is how it works. Share what you have, trust me and I will multiply your gifts into abundance.” You know how it ends: everyone eats plenty and there are overflowing baskets left over.

My immediate thought was of those who focus on money and worry that we do not have enough resources to care for these scared, alone and victimized children. These citizens want to send the kids back into the burning building because they fear they will not get their self appointed, entitled portion. The citizens do not see that all is gift and we must let go to allow the Spirit to work.

After I pointed the finger outward, I directed it to me. It seemed only fair. I had to question, have I given all I can? Are there things that I can still do that God will multiply for these kids? It is easy to point at the sign wavers, bus stoppers and racists; but they are suffering from fear and selfishness. Besides, by focusing on them, I do exactly what I hate about the press. I make the negative opinion seem more prevalent and powerful than it is.

I asked Jesus, what have I withheld? Do I speak often enough about the plight of the kids in the grocery store or to other casual acquaintances? Or do I only speak boldly when I am with people known to agree with me? Will I take the August recess as a chance to further the kids’ cause with my elected officials and friends? Is there something more I can do? I want to give everything I have so that it may be multiplied for the sake of His kingdom.

I decided that, in today’s terms, Jesus says in this gospel : Throw all in, believe in MY abilities and just watch how I roll … After Mass, [we] organized all the checks that had been donated for the kids, it was time to shop … We went to Kmart with all the money. Lo and behold, we found that shoes and hoodies were on sale, 2 for the price of 1! Sherpa throws were on sale for 10 bucks. BOOM! In the end, we purchased three shopping carts, loaded to the gills.

Many folks threw in, we believed Jesus would work through us and once again, our baskets overflowed. That’s how He rolls. Thanks to all the generous benefactors who allowed the Spirit to move you!

I recalled, when I met with the Congressional delegation that came here 2 Fridays ago, Rep Carter approached me after I spoke. He placed a pin in my hand. He said he wanted me to have it.

It read: “God is Good … all the time”.

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Filed under Immigration, Ministries, Social Justice, Social Work