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Peace & Justice

Listen to witness on Earth and listen for God’s voice on our hearts about matters of the world.

Listen to witness on Earth and listen for God’s voice on our hearts about matters of the world.

We embrace our Dominican charism of Veritas (“Truth”) which compels us to search for and preach truth as it impacts the lives of people and planet—to be a voice that focuses attention on the cry of Earth and the cry of the poor.

As vowed women religious and as a Congregation, it is the Gospel and Catholic Social Teaching that call the Dominican Sisters~Grand Rapids to bear witness to the dignity of every human person.

Dominican prayer, study, community, and service are pillars, guideposts, of how we choose to be present in the world. This means that we remind ourselves to pray about, study, contemplate, and dialogue in community about social justice issues of this time and place in the history of the world. It is in this way that we seek Truth, by listening to witness on Earth and listening for God’s voice on our hearts about matters of the world.

Individual responses to the call to justice are very personal. We respect that the ways of justice preaching and teaching are as varied as each Dominican Sister, each Dominican Associate, and all persons.

Change the World with Your Presence

Be who you were meant to be and you will change the world. ~ Catherine of Siena

Our patron St. Catherine of Siena wrote: “Be who you were meant to be and you will change the world.” Her message wasn’t just intended for vowed religious. It was intended to encourage and empower every individual.

As vowed women religious, Sisters of the Dominican Order of Preachers, have spent lifetimes delving deeply into being present. Our desire is for our presence to nurture hope in the world. For hope is that aspect of faith which makes us certain that the world is cared for and loved by God. Hope obliges us to work toward the realization of the promises found in Jesus: freedom, peace, justice, and reconciliation.

Our Approach to Justice

Address injustice in a spirit of respect, compassion, and solidarity. 

Holding to our Congregation Constitution and the principles of Catholic Social Teaching, we stand in solidarity with all peoples, recognizing the bond of interdependence among us. Our Directions in Ministry, Statements, Stances, and Commitments guide our congregation in setting guidelines, priorities, and investment decisions that have far-reaching effects. We always strive to address injustice in a spirit of respect, compassion, and solidarity.

We rely on a process that, through dialogue and courage, leads us to a deeper understanding of complex areas of injustice rooted in racism, sexism, poverty, and oppression that give rise to violence. Listen to those who are oppressed, economically poor, and living on the margins.

Seek to understand the interconnected realities that are the roots of injustice and conflict. Work with others to challenge and change the systems that perpetuate the harm that is being done. Address injustice in a spirit of respect, compassion, and solidarity.

Individual responses to the call to justice are very personal. We respect that the ways of justice preaching and teaching are as varied as each Dominican Sister, each Dominican Associate, and all persons.

How to Become Involved In Justice Response Teams

The ministry of the North American Dominican Justice Promoters is to encourage all vowed members of the Order of Preachers and their Associates to embrace a deepening of the Dominican charism to search for and preach TRUTH as it impacts the lives of people and planet. Our commitment since 2017 is “to promote the call of Gospel Justice and help guide the study of and advocacy for human rights and climate justice in our world today.”

If you are feeling drawn to engage with others in Justice matters, Sisters, Associates, and Friends are welcome to engage on three levels of commitment: PRAYER, ALERTS & STUDY, and ACTIVE COMMITTEE WORK. Key Justice issues (in collaboration with the North American Dominican Justice Call to Action) include: Peace and Non-violence, Immigration, Human Trafficking, Economic Justice, and Care of Earth.  To learn more about how to get involved, contact our Congregation Justice Promoter.

“Our vision of a just society is one where all of humanity can realize Jesus’ dream that all may have life and have it more abundantly.”

John 10:10

Statement Against Racism, Hatred, and Violence

The Leadership Team in 2015, affirming our 1999 Direction Statement on Racism, issued the following statement:

The Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids condemn racism. Hate and discrimination diminish us all. We grieve with the citizens of Charlottesville and with all of us who are also harmed by racist words and actions anywhere. We mourn with those who have lost loved ones, with all who live in fear, and with all whose dignity is threatened by hate and violence.

The Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids stand against harmful rhetoric and actions that result in fear and evoke hatred in our cities and neighborhoods. Racism afflicts our country. Any conversation or activity that contributes to division, hatred, violence, or disrespect of another human being hurts all of us as a human family. We pray that people relate to each other with dignity and respect.

We, as Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids, see first the common ground of our humanity, and allow our differences only to enrich, and not to disparage. In all of our undertakings, we will notice first and foremost the human person before us. (DSGR Statement Against Racism 1999)

Economic Justice

Moved by the Prophets, inspired by Jesus, and guided by Catholic Social Teaching, we claim the truth that the fruits of creation and all that is produced from them have a universal destination – they are meant for all. The economy, enlivened by a healthy cooperation between private initiative and government, is to be at the service of the common good. We denounce global economic systems that value money and profit over the dignity of human beings and the life of the planet.

Our call is to examine economic structures and systems in terms of how they hurt people with the least resources; to change our own practices that contribute to this; and to advocate for policies that promote more equitable sharing of Earth’s abundance.

A major endeavor undertaken by the Dominican Sisters Grand Rapids is Socially Responsible Investments. We are members of the Coalition of Responsible Investors of Michigan and Indiana (CCRIM) with a membership from eleven religious congregations.) Through CCRIM we are affiliated with the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility and with them are able to co-file resolutions and enter into dialogues with corporations where we are shareholders. Our Economic Justice response teams respond to federal and state budgets, the Affordable Care Act, work and labor issues and the like.

Human Trafficking

There is the sociological and economic truth of the deplorable worldwide industry in human trafficking. For purposes of slave and sex labor, desperate men, women, and children are drawn into a vortex of degradation. We denounce the consumerist mentality by which human beings are turned into mere instruments of satisfaction and profit.

Our call is to expose the truth about modern-day slavery and advocate for substantive laws that protect victims and hold accountable all who facilitate and enable human trafficking.

Commitment to Immigrants and Migrants

Our call is to welcome the stranger, to speak the truth of the roots of our own immigrant nation, and to advocate for just immigration policies and practices.
In 2014, our Congregation made a corporate stance to act as advocates for unaccompanied children at the border in local, national, and international communities.

Additionally, our response team has responded to alerts for comprehensive immigration reform, protection of DACA, continuation of ITP status for Haitians and Hondurans. We participate in local demonstrations, marches, etc. We work with the West Michigan Coalition for Immigration Reform, Michigan Immigration Rights Center, the MICAH Center/Workers Rights Center. Members of our response team provide ESL and citizenship programs as well as tutoring services for immigrants.

Peace and Security for All Life

We extol the dignity of every human life, made in God’s image, a truth revealed in Genesis. To live that truth we take a stand, by preaching and action, against all threats to human well-being. The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties” of all people – of those threatened by war abroad or gun violence at home, of prisoners, of the sick, of children in the womb, of mothers in crisis – these too are our “joys and hopes … griefs and anxieties.” (Cf. Gaudium et Spes, #1.)

Our call is to see the face of God in the whole of life, to embrace the tenets of nonviolence, and to practice loving our enemies.

Members of our response team have been national leaders in nuclear disarmament movements. Locally we have collaborated with the Institute for Global Education. We have responded to alerts and initiatives on gun violence, death penalty, prison reform, police/community relations, civil discourse.

News & Events


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Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids Sign Pax Christi USA Letter Regarding Israel/Palestine)

We are horrified by the atrocities of the current war in Israel-Palestine and join in…
May 9, 2024 Read More

Dominican Preaching Network Submits Proposal Recommending Lay Catholic Preaching at Eucharist

Grand Rapids Dominican Sisters Barbara Reid, OP,  and Megan McElroy, OP, participated in a Dominican…
April 5, 2024 Read More

WE RAISE OUR VOICES for Annunciation House in Texas

We Raise Our Voices - February 2024 RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHERS We commit ourselves to encountering…
February 27, 2024 Read More

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