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Flashpoints

  • The Religious Sisters of Charity around the world have a double celebration this year. Their Congregation was established 200 years ago in Dublin, Ireland to “give to the poor out of love what the rich can get for money.” The Congregation has spread to Australia, England, Scotland, California, Zambia, Nigeria and Malawi. On 18 March this year Pope Francis declared their foundress, Mary Aikenhead (picture) “Venerable!” We all rejoice with the RSCs!
  • The UN NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security (Stacy Hanrahan CND is the secretary of this committee) co-sponsored a special program with Hillel Schenker (Jewish) and Ziad AbuZayyad (Palestinian), the co-editors of the Palestine-Israel Journal. Representing the moderate voices in their countries, the two men have played a major role in Israeli-Palestinian efforts to promote a just and sustainable peace. Both favor the two-state solution. Ziad, and to some extent Hillel, expressed a serious concern that if the extremist religious ideologues in Palestine and Israel gain ground, there might result a type of “religious war” which puts doctrinal purity over human well-being. They called us to keep our constituencies focused on the current situation and to ask our respective governments and religious leaders to bring about a resolution, saying “The longer this conflict festers the more dangerous it becomes – not only for Palestine and Israel but for the entire region.”
  • Water With Blessings (WWB) is going to Nepal, to help provide safe water for the earthquake victims. Larraine Lauter OSU thanks several UNANIMA communities who have made donations for the water filters and training materials. There were several WWB Water Women in Nepal already trained for the program, and they will form the core of the program there. WWB has also partnered with other religious communities or groups in the area. It is estimated that the dysentery and other water-borne diseases common after a disaster could eventually kill more children than the number who died in the earthquake.
  • Brigidine sister and refugee advocate Jane Keogh CSB was a keynote speaker for the Australian Catholic Communications Congress 2015 in Sydney. The theme of the Congress was: “What is our voice? ‘Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks’ “(Mt 12:34), and it brought together professionals in the media, education, communications, health, welfare and justice. Present government policy and some social responses need a radical “rethink” concerning asylum seekers and refugees. Sister Jane spoke from a grassroots advocacy position, sharing her experiences about #lovemakesaway, a movement bringing Christians together around asylum seeker advocacy.
  • Sisters of Notre Dame of Sion—25 of them, from 14 countries—met in Brooklyn NY in April for a congregational assembly to prepare for their 2016 chapter. They dealt with their own community business, and experienced life in New York City. Ten sisters met at the UNANIMA office to learn about UNANIMA and the UN, and June 5visited the UN as part of an immersion experience. Later two international teams gathered, and Michele met with six of them to introduce them to the UN and the SDG process. From left, Pat Fox NDS (Philippines), Cristina Petrisor NDS (Romania), Angela Bayliss NDS (Australia), and UNANIMA Coordinator Michele Morek OSU.