July 10, 2020

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Sisters of Providence share litany to overcome violence

We, the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, agonize over the continued violence we see taking place throughout our country. We continue to pray for all those who experience or have experienced issues of violence—especially as our nation addresses the ongoing issues of racism, divisions over beliefs and practices amidst the coronavirus pandemic, and inflammatory political comments among candidates for office.

And now, three federal executions have been scheduled to take place just a few miles from us in the coming weeks.

As our congregation prays for healing through all of this, we want to share with all of you our “Litany of Non-Violence,” and invite you to join us in praying it daily.

Litany of Non-Violence

Provident God, aware of our own brokenness, we ask the gift of courage to identify how and where we are in need of conversion in order to live in solidarity with Earth and all creation.

Deliver us from the violence of superiority and disdain. Grant us the desire, and the humility, to listen with special care to those whose experiences and attitudes are different from our own.

Deliver us from the violence of greed and privilege. Grant us the desire, and the will, to live simply so others may have their just share of Earth’s resources.

Deliver us from the silence that gives consent to abuse, war and evil. Grant us the desire, and the courage, to risk speaking and acting for the common good.

Deliver us from the violence of irreverence, exploitation and control. Grant us the desire, and the strength, to act responsibly within the cycle of creation.

God of love, mercy and justice, acknowledging our complicity in those attitudes, actions and words which perpetuate violence, we beg the grace of a non-violent heart. Amen.

Let’s stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers of all colors

“Black Lives Matter.” Why do these three words evoke fear, outrage, backlash?

In the darkness of June 25-26, our Black Lives Matter banner was stolen. Many hold the Second Amendment as sacred. What about the First Amendment and our right to free speech?

That same day, two people knocked on our door for a conversation. Nobody’s position changed, but the three of us listened respectfully to the other. We understand each other better. More of this openness needs to happen throughout the United States.

So why did we, the Sisters of St. Francis of Oldenburg, have this banner out on our front lawn?

Black lives matter—and brown, red, and yellow. Nobody questions whether or not we, white people, matter—so there’s no need to proclaim it. But the U.S. Constitution counted Black slaves as 3/5 of a person.

It’s time we count them as equal, meaning we must end systemic racism—the racism that still today is inherent in our judicial, educational, health care and economic systems. Why are Blacks and other people of color more likely to be killed by the police? Why are women of color more likely to die in childbirth? Why do people of color get longer prison terms than whites for the same crime? Why is poverty more prevalent among people of color?

One’s race does not make one more dangerous or more intelligent than another. Systems have deprived people of equal access to opportunity. Systems need to change.

“Black lives matter” is an umbrella for the lives of all people of color. Jesus stood up for the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the Samaritans, the lepers and anyone who was pushed aside by society in his day. We’re doing the same. We’re inviting others to “be not afraid”—to stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers of all colors.

Franciscan Sister Noella Poinsette
Director of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation | Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg

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