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Above in the photo: Our Sisters Mary Brigid Clingman and Orlanda Leyba share with Sr. Arlene Flaherty, Dominican Sisters ~ Blauvelt, and friends.

This week, social justice promoters from congregations of women religious gathered at River’s Edge Retreat Center in Cleveland, Ohio for a the first-ever national convocation. Srs. Mary Brigid Clingman and Orlanda Leyba joined over 150 participants representing more than 100 congregations from 26 states and one Canadian province at “Entering the Transforming Future: Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Ministry in the Coming Age of Religious Life.”

The justice promoters met to strengthen their work on critical global and national issues. They shared innovative strategies and best practices to respond more effectively to issues that affect the lives of people and the planet. The justice promoters also established a network for intentional collaboration and to share prayer, education and action resources.

Keynote Speaker Marie Dennis, co-president of Pax Christi International, challenged participants to work toward the New Creation. “Work for peace is like that – slowly pushing back the fear, the terrible threat of violence, the reality of social injustice to make room for life. Effective peacemaking acknowledges the interdependence of communities around the world. The fact that our security is intrinsically interconnected with that of the families in that little village in Afghanistan is crucial. In the soil surrounding the village are planted the landmines of further violence and the seeds of peace. But to understand that fact and to discern how we as individuals or nations might nurture the seeds of peace and snuff out the roots of violence, we have to get close enough to such marginal places – from where the world looks entirely different – to understand.”

“A highlight of the Convocation was the affirmation given to the Justice Promoters by Marie Dennis. She held up for us the skills and attitudes she has seen in us. She first cited our experience of exploring together both from our future cosmic visioning as well as from our rootedness in the many familiar justice issues we have embraced for years and years. That embrace includes our presence with and for the people who make the justice issues real to us. Other gifts she noted are our communal life styles, our credibility, our prophetic stances. Marie’s affirmations were consoling and challenging as we carry forward the actions of our sisters who gifted us in the past and leave behind us a legacy of joyful endurance and hope.” — Sr. Mary Brigid Clingman


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