Justice

“We are challenged by the Gospel and by the needs of society to unite our efforts with those around us to attain for all people conditions of life more equitable and more worthy of human dignity.”
—SNJM Constitutions

View our new video about the corporate stands and their impact. 

Corporate Stands

All material goods, all the riches of our minds and hearts, are gifts from God. We receive them with gratitude, as persons who are poor, and use these gifts in the service of others. The limited resources of creation are destined for the entire human family. In a spirit of faithful stewardship, we use them responsibly. (SNJM Constitutions)

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Corporate Stands

The Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Names has adopted three Corporate Stands: one on water as a human right and public good, one against trafficking of humans, and the newest, standing in solidarity with migrants and refugees.

Corporate Stand on Migrants and Refugees (2017)

The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary stand in solidarity with the more than 240 million people who live outside of their country of birth as migrants and refugees and with the many others who are displaced within their country of origin. We also recognize that many of these persons live in situations where their human rights are violated. We, the members of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, guided by faith and our charism, stand with migrants and refugees and in support of human rights. We call for all nations, and most particularly those where there is an SNJM presence, to enforce the implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for all migrants and refugees throughout the world.

We commit to educate, collaborate and advocate for the implementation of these rights.

  1. We will educate ourselves and others regarding the magnitude, causes and consequences of the situation of migrants and refugees wherever we are missioned and in the light of events throughout the world.
  2. We will also educate ourselves and others about the violations of the human rights of migrants and refugees.
  3. We will collaborate with organizations with similar values to the SNJM charism in our respective areas of ministry to determine and implement actions to improve the situation of migrants and refugees.
  4. We will collaborate with others to establish or will ourselves establish welcoming communities in those regions where we live.
  5. Through our NGO affiliations, Development and Peace (Canada), Transformation Resource Centre (Lesotho), and UNANIMA International (the United Nations), the SNJM Justice and Peace Network and our other justice groups, alone and in collaboration with other religious congregations, advocacy groups and nongovernmental organizations, will advocate for policies and programs that address the lack of human rights for immigrants and refugees in countries of origin, transit and destination, particularly in regions where we are located.

Corporate Stand on Water as a Human Right and Public Good (2008)

The Sisters and Associates of the Congregation of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary affirm that:

    1. Water is a sacred gift that connects all life.
    2. Access to clean water is a basic human right.
    3. The value of the earth’s freshwater to the common good takes priority over any possible commercial value.
    4. Freshwater is a shared legacy, a public trust and a collective responsibility.

Therefore, we support actions and policies that:

  1. Ensure universal access to sufficient, affordable, safe water for all people, especially the most vulnerable.
  2. Protect freshwater as a sustainable, renewable resource.
  3. Implement the objectives of the UN Millennium Goals on water.

We oppose actions and policies that:

  1. Endanger the world’s supply of freshwater.
  2. Deprive humans and other species access to adequate, safe water essential for life.
  3. Favor the privatization of water as a commodity to be bought and sold for profit when in reality it is a heritage we all hold in common.

Corporate Stand Against Trafficking in Women and Children (2004)

The Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary stand in support of human rights by opposing the trafficking in women and children for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor.

We will educate ourselves and others regarding the magnitude, causes and consequences of this abuse, both wherever we are missioned and throughout the world. Through our NGO affiliates, the SNJM Justice and Peace Network and our other justice efforts, alone and in collaboration with other religious congregations, advocacy groups and nongovernmental organizations, we will advocate for policies and programs that address the prevention of trafficking or provide alternatives to women and children in danger of being trafficked.

Setting Precedent

Minimum wages, maximum hours: findings by Caroline J. Gleason (Sr. Miriam Teresa)
Photo, above, before she became a Sister

Four years before Caroline J. Gleason entered the Sisters of the Holy Names, she was a social worker and surveyed women’s working conditions in factories, stores and offices. In 1913, those findings became the data for Oregon’s passage of the nation’s first enforceable minimum wage and maximum hour law. As a Sister of the Holy Names, Miriam Teresa continued to help shape Oregon labor law through the social workers she trained. Read more

Supreme Court case: Pierce vs the Society of the Sisters

In 1925 the Ku Klux Klan backed passage of the Oregon Compulsory Education Act, which made it mandatory for children to attend public schools. The Sisters of the Holy Names and an Episcopal military academy challenged the law. In 1925, in Pierce v. Society of Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the education act unconstitutional. That decision upheld the right of private schools to exist and for parents to govern their children’s education. Read more.

Students & Justice

Youth Justice Forum inspires students to make a difference (photo, above)

The SNJM Youth Justice Forum is attended by four-member teams from Holy Names schools located in the United States, Canada and Lesotho in southern Africa. Students learn about SNJM justice issues related to water, human trafficking, immigration and other current social concerns. They get hands-on experience serving people who are poor and marginalized, and they design projects they can take back to their classmates. Read more.

 

Collaborations

Incorporated Province Ministries collaborate with other groups to serve or inform others. For example, students do research and take stands on public issues such as human trafficking, water as a human right and public good, and immigration.

Every year, the SNJM U.S.-Ontario Province funds charism-based projects. Some projects involve teaming up with Holy Names ministries that provide educational or community-development services in historically disadvantaged areas such as the Mississippi Delta. Collaborators have included an organic farm in Northern California (photo, above), social service providers in Appalachia and Haiti, and housing rebuilders in storm-damaged areas of the Gulf Coast.

 

Justice-related Prayers and Reflections

Most prayers include reflection/discussion questions, suggestions for further steps and a user’s guide.

  1. Contemplation in Action: View/download
  2. Dedication to Children: View/download
  3. Dedication to Justice: View/download
  4. Dedication to Women: View/download
  5. Commitment to Liberating Action: View/download
  6. Service to People who are Poor or Marginalized: View/download
  7. The Crime against Humanity (Corporate stand on human trafficking): View/download
  8. Immigration and the Spirituality of Welcoming: Open Wide Our Doors. By Claire Durocher, SNJM. A prayer based on the 34th General Chapter Acts.View/download