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 congregation sets guidelines for living, priorities and investment decisions that have far-reaching effects.
During 2020-2021, our Leadership Team issued the following statements in response to the life and times in our world.
We pledge to hold the needs and concerns of all in a contemplative space, in the heart of a loving and ever faithful God.
Our directions in ministry guide our Congregational Mission and Communal Life 2021
Our hearts are heavy and outraged at the death of Patrick Lyoya. For the first time in thirty years, this month many religious traditions are celebrating their major feasts at the same time. These faith communities, which are an integral part of our Grand Rapids civic community, honor and ritualize significant traditions which speak of freedom, peace, equality, love, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, unity, and non-violence. We, Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids, in our Catholic Christian tradition, preach the message of Jesus Christ who commanded his disciples to love one another as he loved, who responded to violence by giving his life for all, and who, after his resurrection from the dead, proclaimed and offered the gift of PEACE to his followers and all humanity. This gift has been passed down to future generations of Christians since that first proclamation of peace from our Risen Savior.
In this context, we raise our voices in response to the violent killing of Patrick Lyoya on April 4. We offer first our prayers and condolences to his family, friends, and all who knew him and loved him. Our hearts break that this immigrant’s journey from his homeland of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the United States has ended here in Grand Rapids in such a brutal and senseless way.
Secondly, we call for accountability and full transparency of the Grand Rapids Police Department, which must commit to transforming the policing culture that tolerates violent responses, especially in non-violent situations. Read More
Urge Support of Funding to Protect Michigan Water and People
We Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids are horrified at the murder of Mr. George Floyd. We grieve with his family and those who loved him. We hold in prayer the people of Minneapolis – its citizens, elected officials, and those who are called to serve and protect the community. We stand with all who are 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 self-determination is threatened by hate and violence.
The video demonstrating the treatment by police of yet another unarmed African American man is just one more concrete example of the injustice inflicted upon our African American sisters and brothers. Coming on the heels of the recent death of Mr. Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Mr. Floyd’s cry, “I can’t breathe!” is a cry echoing across the centuries of our nation’s historical treatment of African Americans through slavery, countless lynchings, and now through police brutality as evidenced by the video. Like the COVID-19 coronavirus that hinders the breathing of many of those infected, racism in all its forms infects the fabric of our being as a nation, hindering our very life-breath. It is a virus that threatens the values we hold high – life, liberty, and the pursuit of justice. As a nation that desires to be a beacon for human rights, we urge our fellow citizens and elected officials to cry out, “Enough! Enough of this injustice! Enough of this brutality! No more!”
“We, as Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids, see first the common ground of our humanity and allow our differences only to enrich, not to disparage. In all of our undertakings, we will notice first and foremost the human person before us.”
AND SO WE PLEAD with all of our elected leaders, beginning with the President,
to do two things:
You can lead by example – a good example. See the human persons before you!
This is why you were elected. This is what your positions demand. This is what our nation and our world deserve.
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)
We recognize, as a moral obligation, the need to protect children fleeing violence or oppression in their homelands. We commit ourselves to act as their advocates in local, national, and international communities. Two of the strategies to accomplish this are to advocate for government policies that protect the health and wellbeing of children, particularly in providing them access to status as asylum seekers, and to collaborate with others in the education, economic, ecclesial, social, and legal communities to assure the safety and security of children. (Read entire Stance)
We call upon the United States government to lead the way for global abolition of nuclear and all weapons of mass destruction by adopting a plan to lock down, dismantle, reduce, and eliminate nuclear and all weapons of mass destruction. We believe all creation, including Earth itself, to be sacred and we stand in witness to the triumph of life over death, love over hatred, and hope over fear.
Our commitment is to collaborate with the Grand Rapids Coalition to End Homelessness in their efforts to end homelessness in Kent County through ongoing efforts to increase awareness of the issues surrounding homelessness, and through personal and systemic ways that contribute to its eradication.
We commit to: Educate ourselves and others about the ongoing realities of homelessness — problems, concerns reasons for homelessness in our county and how it affects people and families; engage in the work of empowering families to grow and succeed by helping families through personal support while they are getting back on their feet after an episode of homelessness; and find ways to be personally engaged with people who are homeless while finding ways to raise awareness about the plight of people living on the margins.
The Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental principles for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society in the 21st Century. It seeks to inspire in all peoples a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the wellbeing of the human family and the larger living world. It is an expression of hope and a call to help create a global partnership at a critical juncture in history. We aspire to the principals found in the Earth Charter. By endorsing the Charter, we challenges ourselves to deepen our commitment to its principles and place ourselves in solidarity with people throughout the world who seek to live the values the principles embody.
Read more about our Congregation’s Care of Earth positions, partners, and initiatives.
We support a moratorium on the planting of genetically engineered crops pending environmental and human safety studies. Until such time as this technology is proven safe, all foods containing genetically engineered ingredients should be labeled.
We declare ourselves to be opposed to our country making preemptive strike against Iraq, taking us into an immoral and unjustified war. We further oppose the continuation of sanctions against Iraq that continue to impose genocidal suffering against helpless people. (Corporate Stance Against Iraq War)
Our stance commits to make public proclamations for life when and where they are needed and to preach the justice of our commitment. We will be called upon to work in coalition with other groups, to speak out at times of executions, to promote study and prayer in places of our ministry, as well as among ourselves, and to call each other to needed and creative responses.
We believe that the normative, common element in the human family is our humanity. We affirm that all with whom we come in contact are entitled to the basic rights that come with our common humanity, and be entitled to be treated with dignity and respect. We pledge to see first the common ground of our humanity, and to allow our differences only to enrich, and not to disparage us. In all of our undertakings, we will notice first and foremost the human person before us.
Note: Full text of our Directions, stances, and commitments can be requested from the Congregation Justice Promoter or Archives.
As we take inventory of the condition of our world, we raise our voices to say that the people among us who are the most in need, who are most vulnerable, need to have our attention and they need to have supportive resources. We pledge to hold the needs and concerns of all in a contemplative space, in the heart of a loving and ever faithful God. We recommit ourselves to the Gospel call to welcome the stranger, care for creation, establish economic justice, abolish every form of modern-day slavery, and promote non-violence and just peace– and we pledge to continue to work together with all people of good will to build God’s beloved community in this place we call home.
A corporate stance is our Congregation’s public response to an issue of basic human rights, civil rights, and/or global concern. Sisters may propose a stances to redress an injustice, which is then put through an established process of study, reflection, prayer, discussion and vote. When approved by at least two-thirds of the Sisters, these positions are shared with the public as a way to witness to our faith and our discipleship in Jesus and to educate and provide support to address the injustice. Our Constitution and many Church documents support our active involvement in response to injustices. Since this process was adopted nearly twenty years ago, the Congregation has also developed commitments and statements that reflect application of our values to critical issues of our world and time.
Direction Statements guide our congregation in setting guidelines, priorities, and investment decisions that have far-reaching effects. As Christians and as Dominicans, we are called to:
Holding to these principles of Catholic Social Teaching, we accept the challenge to examine the causes of deprivation and injustice that exist at home and around the world by: