Shalom is the term we use to describe our SSND international network for justice, peace, and integrity of creation. Shalom is the Hebrew word for Peace and implies restoring all things to their right order or original integrity.
Click on the tabs below to view our expansive library of resources that promote reconciliation, solidarity with the oppressed, human dignity, and collaboration with the ecological movements to safeguard the earth.
- Spirit of Shalom prayer cards (pdf)
- Shalom Clubs brochure (pdf)
- Life Lessons Learned (pdf), by Sister Cathy Arata, SSND, for Solidarity with South Sudan
- SSND Investment Policy, by Sister Ethel Howley, SSND
- Catholic Social Teaching and the Earth Charter (pdf), by Sister Theresa Nagle, SSND, published in 2012 by Earth Charter International, the University for Peace and the UNESCO San Jose office
NATIONAL MIGRATION WEEK
– The U.S. Catholic Bishops have named National Migration Week 2016 to take place January 3-9. The theme, “A Stranger and You Welcomed Me,” reminds us that the call to welcome the stranger plays an important role in the lives of faithful Christians and is a particularly central place for those of us who work in the migration field. You will find an assortment of resources that can help with your celebration of National Migration Week 2016 on the USCCB website. (posted 12-22-15)
– Do you think you could pass the Citizenship Test that is required of immigrants who seek to become citizens? Check out the questions here. You’ll note that applicants would be given up to 10 questions and must answer 6 out of the 10 to pass.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA’S IMMIGRATION OFFER?
– The Washington Post’s very helpful flow chart explains who is eligible for President Obama’s immigration reprieve. (posted 12-16-14)
CORPORATE STANCE ON IMMIGRATION REFORM
– The SSND Atlantic-Midwest Province overwhelmingly approved a corporate commitment to comprehensive immigration reform legislation for the United States during the AM Provincial Assembly Dec. 8, 2014 in Wilton, Connecticut. Read the full press release here. (posted 12-15-14)
– Relief for Immigrants – Read what our United States Catholic Bishops say about the need for a more humane view on immigration. Also view a simple analysis by the Jesuits on President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration.
RIGHTS TOOL KIT
– Know Your Rights – English for Speakers of Other Languages Tool Kit – Father David Hollenbach, S.J., has shared this resource developed by the Boston College Migration and Human Rights Project, Women Encouraging Empowerment and Casa El Salvador. The materials, teachers’ guides, student lessons and FAQs were developed with a legal team so legal information is infused throughout the lessons.
The Tool Kit follows a popular education framework and was created to weave rights literacy into ESOL instruction. The two current units address issues that impact migrants, and especially undocumented migrants: Basic Human Rights, and Knowing Your Rights in a Car Stop. Designers hope to add additional units throughout the year on preparing for possible immigration detention and deportation, including issues related to child custody.
DESPERATE JOURNEY – AMERICAN ODESSEYS
– A look at the issue of immigration in the United States, by IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The School Sisters of Notre Dame’s Integrity of Creation Committee offers these suggestions for resources to “nurture our consciousness of unity with all creation.” We hope these resources will be helpful to you in your personal lives and in your ministries.
Catholic Teachings on the Environment
Encyclical on Climate Change
- Laudato Si’: Pope Francis recently released his Encyclical on climate change. The School Sisters of Notre Dame suggest the following resources to help understand it and put it in perspective.
- Laudato Si’ video from the Vatican
- Laudato Si’: A Document for All Seasons by Mary Ellen Dougherty, SSND
- Respect for the Earth by Sister Kay O’Connell, SSND
- Study & Action Guide from the Columban Fathers
- A Readers’ Guide to Laudato Si’ by Thomas Reese, National Catholic Reporter (download the pdf)
- Lex credendi, lex vivendi: A response to Laudato Si’ by Sister Ilia Delio, OSF
- Laudato Si’ . . . a Call to Contemplation by Sister Nancy Sylvester, IHM
- Find a list of quotations from the encyclical arranged by subject here.
Catholic Social Teaching
- Catholic Social Teaching and the Earth Charter, by Sister Theresa Nagle, SSND, published in 2012 by Earth Charter international, the University for Peace and the UNESCO San Jose office.
The Catholic Climate Covenant
- Resources, stories, opportunities for action are available on their website.
USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development
- Bulletin Insert lists important themes in the encyclical and includes suggestions for prayer and action.
- Discussion Guide on Laudato Si’
- Caring for God’s Creation offers resources for Liturgy, Preaching, and Taking Action.
The Wonder of Creation
The Voice of the Infinite in the Small is a prayer resource for the small crawling and flying creatures. Science and religion together tell us that all of creation is interwoven, interdependent and that we would do well to respect all life forms whether or not they obviously contribute to our pleasure. Let us pray about those who are considered small and unworthy and ask to become aware that God’s love extends as much to them as to any. Let us be mindful of the smallest efforts and the tiniest creatures as we go about our tasks great and small.
Symphony of the Soil, a documentary by Deborah Koons Garcia, explores the miraculous substance of soil. Scientists, farmers, and ranchers speak respectfully and movingly of this precious element, which is the very substance of life on Earth. It is impossible not to see soil differently after viewing this film. As The New York Times says, “Unfolding with gentle joy and an unexpected beauty, this ode to the miracle of the Earth’s topmost layer gives us a newfound respect for the ground beneath our feet….Infused with an infectious love for its subject, Symphony of the Soil presents a wondrous world of critters and bacteria, mulch and manure.” 2014 Lily Films. For purchase or information visit www.symphonyofthesoil.com.
Celebrating Creation throughout the Year
Lenten Water Reflection: The members of the SSND Atlantic-Midwest Province Water Committee invite you to spend time during Lent 2015 to reflect on the priceless gift of water in our world today. To assist you, they have created an online Lenten Calendar that is designed to help us ponder, study, celebrate, and protect this natural resource, which is in severe ecological crisis. The Lenten Calendar begins on Ash Wednesday, includes weekly Sunday reflections and concludes with reflections for the Easter Triduum and Easter Sunday. The resource is available at: Lenten Water Reflection 2015
Lent resource: Creation Covenant is a 2015 Lenten resource, explores God’s covenant with all creation in light of present-day habitat loss and the extinction of plants and animals. The five-week program for individuals or groups connects Christ’s suffering 2000 years ago with his suffering today “in ten thousand places” (G. M. Hopkins) so that we respond not only to Jesus’ suffering and death but also to the suffering and death within creation where God lives and acts. Designed by Terri MacKenzie, SHCJ, Creation Covenant is a timely response to what Pope Francis wrote in Joy of the Gospel: “God has joined us so closely to the world around us that we can feel . . . the extinction of a species as a painful disfigurement. Let us not leave in our wake a swath of destruction and death which will affect our own lives and those of future generations. The resource is available at: Creation Covenant Lenten Reflections 2015
Celebrating Earth Day: Catholics are called to respect God’s creation and deal with environmental issues, particularly as they affect the poor. Vatican and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ statements have highlighted the moral imperative for Catholics to care for God’s creation and its impact on those least able to respond. Learn more about how you can celebrate Earth Day on April 22 or visit the following websites for information and resources which can be used personally or with SSND community, parish or other groups: Catholic Climate Movement and Catholic Climate Covenant.
2014: Advent in the New Universe Story is a four-session resource from Terri MacKenzie for those interested in deepening their understanding of the Christmas/ Incarnation reality in the context of the new creation story. The Incarnation is a Mystery that a lifetime of contemplation would not exhaust, and yet we are continually called to explore this Mystery, especially during Advent. These reflections will facilitate that exploration. Useful for individuals but designed for groups, the weeks’ topics include the following:
- New Consciousness, New Christian Understanding
- The Cosmos Prepares for New Life
- Evolving Understanding of Humanity’s Place in Creation
- Incarnation Revisited
This 10-page resource is available free: 2014: Advent in the New Universe Story
Spirituality and the Natural World
The Awakening Universe. This 15-minute DVD, based on The Universe Story by Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme, moves from the birth of the Universe, through the formation of galaxies, stars, and planets, to the emergence of life on Earth and finally the evolution of human consciousness. Destruction by the human is sobering and heartbreaking, but the potential to move forward, mindful of our place in the web of life, is hopeful and inspiring. A Neal Rogin film, 2007.
Christ in a Grain of Sand – An Ecological Journey with the Spiritual Exercises, Neil Vaney, SM. This is a unique prayer resource connecting the Exercises with ecology. Neil Vaney invites the reader/prayer on a journey of discovery and a challenge to look for Christ in all things and to find him everywhere, even in a grain of sand. A great source of raising awareness of the intimate bond between spirituality and the natural world. Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame IN. The book is available on Amazon.
Ecology at the Heart of Faith: The Change of Heart that Leads to a New Way of Living on Earth by Denis Edwards: As the ecological crisis deepens, religious faith has an increasingly important contribution to make to the ecological movement. Denis Edwards shows that humanity and the world are together being made into the image of God. He points out that the Christian belief in the Incarnation at the heart of our faith is deeply connected to creation and therefore to the care and preservation of Earth and all its creatures. He echoes Pope John Paul II’s insistence that care of creation is a moral issue and calls for an “ecological conversion.” This is a beautiful book for prayer as well as study. Orbis Books, 2006.
Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth is an excellent collection of essays of the voices of those who have gone deep to understand the nature of the relation of the human with the Earth. The essays by these renowned pioneers present a foundation for re-discovering, re-feeling, and re-connecting with nature as sacred and for recognizing our current ecological crises as essentially spiritual in character. The essay format of this book, as well as its content, makes it quite as effective for a book club discussion as it is for personal use. Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth, edited by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, The Golden Sufi Center, Point Reyes, CA, 2013. For more information, visit the Spiritual Ecology website.
Destruction of Creation
Fracking, a simplified term referring to hydraulic fracturing, is the high-pressure injection of water, chemicals and sand into shale deposits, 6-12 thousand feet below us, to release the gas and oil trapped within the rock. Today many of our states across the nation are affected by fracking operations or by the mining of sand that then affects wild life and the people living in the area. Sister Ethel Howley, SSND, social responsibility resource person for the SSND Cooperative Investment Fund, has provided an analysis of the issue with suggestions for reflection actions you can take: Fracking and the Earth Community 2014.
Hope for Creation
Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken: Despite sad and sobering events in our human history and present realities, the author estimates that there are well over one million organizations working toward ecological sustainability, social justice, and the welfare of all of Earth’s life-forms. As Bill McKibben comments, “This is the first full account of the real news of our time, and it’s exactly the opposite of the official account.” Millions of people are passionate and active! Penguin Books, 2007.
Living Beyond the “End of the World” – A Spirituality of Hope by Margaret Swedish, Orbis Books. Margaret Swedish lays out a series of interconnected forces which are undermining life as we know it: global warming and climate change; the depletion of petroleum sources; the exhaustion of natural resources; the collapse of the world economy; and the escalation of global violence. While not at all sugar-coating these growing threats, Swedish presents them as a challenge to people of faith. She asks us what kind of human beings we will be as we live through this difficult and frightening period of human history. She outlines the values, vision and spiritual resources that might nurture a new human community and ensure a future for future generations. A “must read” for us as we live out our call to facilitate the transformation of all creation! The book is available on Amazon.
Ecological Resources Available
The EDGE (Education Dreams for a Green Era), an ecological ministry inspired by the science and spirituality of the evolving Universe Story, closed its doors on June 30, 2015, due to budgetary considerations.
However, The EDGE is offering sample programs which its staff designed and sponsored throughout its history as Sunseed/The EDGE. The programs are free of charge. Just click the links below to download the pdf documents.
THE BROWN BAG BUZZ PROGRAM
The area of ecological awareness is an exploding field. Hosting programs such as this one will surely bring inspired people together and promote cutting edge solutions to care for our Earth. As an organization leader, you have the vision, the knowledge, initiative and experience to help pave a positive road for our future. Whether you feel it or not, you are helping to bring about new and healthy perspectives energized by the universe story/evolutionary consciousness. The resource is available at: The Brown Bag Buzz Program Resources
LESSONS FOR CHILDREN
These lessons can be used in a day school setting, in a religious education class, as part of a summer camp experience or any other gathering of children. The resource is available at: Lessons For Children Resources
EARTH DAY PROGRAM
Purpose of Earth Day Program:
- To celebrate Earth Day with people all over the world who are also honoring this day.
- To bring all participants to a greater awareness of the beauty and fragility of our Earth systems.
- To emphasize that all species are interconnected as one living whole and that what we do to other Earth systems, we also do to ourselves. The resource is available at: Earth Day Program Resources
SEED STARTER PROGRAM
This lesson will demonstrate the growth process of nature around us. The benefit of growing plants from seeds at home can also give you more control over the plants health and longevity. The resource is available at: Seed Starter Project Resources
WINTER SOLSTICE PROJECT
Purpose of Celebrating The Winter Solstice:
- To honor the turning of Earth in relationship to the sun
- To help all participants realize we live as part of a fragile Earth system, the “blue marble” in space
- To celebrate with all peoples of the northern hemisphere the birthing of light and what it means to our food supply, our sense of hope, our need for warmth
- To provide all who participate with a deep sense of quiet, of the significance of darkness and light—that even in the deepest darkness, a light is born. (i.e. Many religions such as Christianity have sacred holidays around this time to honor this very value.) The resource is available at: Winter Solstice Resources, Winter Solstice Resources B
WORLD WATER DAY
Purpose of World Water Day (The official day is March 22nd but celebrations can be held anytime around that date.)
- To help all who participate realize that water is sacred
- To remember that water is used in many religious ceremonies (i.e. baptism)
- To help all participants become aware that water is a resource that needs to be protected
- To realize how we are polluting or wasting water while at the same time to know of
- innovative adaptations to preserve and honor it
- To consciously join with others throughout the world who are also honoring water on this day
- To be aware of island peoples, particularly, who have lost their homeland because of rising ocean waters; to learn of harmful corporate interests which sabotage people’s right to water; to know the effects of ballast waters, invasive species, global climate. The resource is available at: World Water Day Resources