My latest Global Sisters Report column has been posted. This time it is an open letter to House Speaker, Representative Paul Ryan, sharing my concerns about the proposed federal budget.
Here’s a snippet:
In your conversation with Sister Erica on CNN, you shared your appreciation for the model of Catholic organizations that help the poor. You expressed that they do a “fantastic job in spite of government doing wraparound benefits for the poor to make sure that they get to where they are — from where they are to where they need to be.”
My religious congregation, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, sponsors and supports nonprofit services for low-income women in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Seattle with a similar model. Both the York Street Project and Jubilee Women’s Center provide such wraparound services, treat the whole person, and assist the women they serve on their journey to self-sufficiency.
I found it interesting that you referenced the year 1985 in your response to Sister Erica, because that is around the time my sisters started both these innovative programs.
I agree with you that we need to encourage and support such programs, but as partners with government, not replacements for our civic duty to promote the general welfare. Such programs do not do a fantastic job in spite of government, but in tandem with life-giving government programs like the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which are in jeopardy in the budget proposals under consideration. At the York Street Project, for example, CDBG funds support the job readiness program at Kenmare High School, helping women who previously dropped out of the public school system to find jobs that will support their families.
Today’s Gospel tells the story of the syrophoenician woman, whose persistent faith led to the healing of a loved one. I was inspired by the Gospel, and by current events, to create this video reflection praying with persistent Gospel women.
The women speak out and act for healing, for justice, for compassion, and for love.
Grant me justice
Even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs
I will be made well.
They have no wine.
May they inspire us, strengthen us, pray for us, be with us.
May be be blamed for persisting as well, for the sake of the Gospel
Martha was indeed real, living in a world where some things just needed to get done, even if her sister Mary was too busy to help. She also lived in a world where the people she loved were suffering. I suspect there may have been times when she too wanted to hide under the covers.
Martha certainly had her own doubts about what was possible in such a world. When Jesus asked her to roll away the stone from her brother’s tomb, she warned him that the smell would be overpowering given that her brother had been dead for four days.
Yet Martha — worried, anxious and doubting as any real woman would be in the face of such stark realities — also listened to the hope and promise of Jesus. She made a home for hope in her heart. She helped to roll away the stone, and her brother Lazarus came out, ready to be unbound and free. We have a lot to learn from Martha, who in the end engaged in hopeful action in the midst of her own anxiety, worry and grief.
As I prepare for my oral comprehensive exams for my MA in Theology which are in three weeks, I am revisiting much of my research and writing from my courses these past two years in ethics and spirituality. Last year, I researched the phenomenon of the feminization of migration for my course on Women, Poverty, and Global Justice. Right now I’m engaging with the ethical reflection work I did on this reality, focused primarily on kinship and solidarity as ethical responses and ways toward immigration justice.
I was also reminded last night, re-reading the work of Gustavo Gutiérrez: “From the perspective of the option for the poor, theology is done not only about the migrants and their situation, but from their situation.” So what is the situation of the feminization of migration? What can we learn from the experiences of women migrants themselves? I am sharing below two infographics I made last semester as part of my own research and ethical reflection on this reality. If you find them helpful or engaging, please feel free to use them. My nerdiness is at your service, or really, in the service of justice for all God’s children. If you do end up using them, please let me know.