Sunday, October 11, 2020

Climate Reality Globally and Locally in San Antonio, Planting a "Compassion Tree" as symbol of commitment

Overlooking the Headwaters of the San Antonio River, Mayor Ron Nirenberg, UIW President Dr. Thomas Evans, and others symbolically planted a "Compassion Tree"  as part o
f the city Compassion movement. See  They united with the global  Climate Reality Day,  October 10, 2020.  See and listen to the local ceremony in a film created by Alejandro DeHoyos. 

See and learn from the Countdown Global Launch, a call to action on climate change and the first-ever free TED conference, Oct. 10. Presented by TED and Future Stewards.  Concerned people from many countries were speaking including Pope Francis.  He has given an urgent invitation to all people to unite in care of creation in the face of climate change. His writing is call "Laudato Si"      

Dr. Thomas Evans, the president of the University of the Incarnate Word, said: “I would like to thank the City of San Antonio, Mayor Nirenberg, and every organization here today for making this moment possible. At the University of the Incarnate Word, we are guided by a Mission to educate concerned and enlightened citizens within a global community. Here, young people, with boundless potential, discover some of the world’s most pressing needs and how they can contribute to their resolution. Stewardship of the Earth has long been a treasured value at UIW. Catholic Social Teaching tells us that we have a responsibility to love and protect creation. By doing so, we hold sacred that which God has given us and preserve it for future generations. Upholding and serving future generations is at the core of all we do and at the root of who we are.  We at UIW are blessed to work, live and learn closely with other ministries of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. From my office in the Student Engagement Center, I can look out onto the Chapel of the Incarnate Word, the Village at Incarnate Word, the Headwaters, and Brackenridge Villa. Every day, students walk these historic grounds – our Incarnate Word campus – and see the work and effort made by each ministry to live our shared values, to value nature, and today, to plant a compassion tree. What better way to teach sustainability than to model it? I am proud to have shared the stage today with leaders of so many organizations striving to do the same. I always say that though we at the University of the Incarnate Word are many parts, we are One Word. Today, we have shown that while each of us here come from many different organizations with many different goals, we are truly One in our love for our city, our Earth and those who do and will inhabit it. Thank you all for being here with us today. May the planting of this tree at the Headwaters be a symbol of our dedication to the care of creation and our commitment to instilling this value in every student of the University of the Incarnate Word.”  

Steve Lucke, a UIW graduate and leader of Gardopia Gardens, Dr. Chris Pierce, UIW Biology faculty,      Sr. Martha Ann Kirk, IW Sisters Justice, Peace, Creation Committee, James Riggin, a leader in the UIW Pre-dental Club which will care for the new "Compassion Tree"

Dr. Sally Said, secretary of the board of directors for Headwaters at Incarnate Word  explained that it is a non-profit Earth care ministry of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. "It is responsible for a nature sanctuary of 53 acres adjacent to the UIW campus, including the Blue Hole Spring.  The Blue Hole because of its free-flowing spring, was the site of native encampments beginning twelve thousand years ago, according to archeological evidence, and Native groups continue to visit the spring, which they consider sacred, to this day.  During Spanish colonization from the early 18th century, acequias, stone-lined ditches, carried water from the Blue Hole and San Pedro Springs to the civilian community, the presidio, and the missions. After the Texas War of Secession from Mexico, ownership of the headwaters passed to the City of San Antonio, which sold the springs to city alderman J. R. Sweet.  Sweet sold the springs and adjacent land to George W. Brackenridge in 1869.  After the drilling of artesian wells made spring ownership less critical, Brackenridge sold some 283 acres, his Head of the River Estate, to the Incarnate Word Sisters in 1897. Today the Sisters retain about 155 acres, including the campus of UIW; the retirement community; land surrounding the Sister’s offices, chapel, and Brackenridge Villa; and the Headwaters Sanctuary. On July 22, 2020, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word and Headwaters at Incarnate Word signed a conservation easement agreement with Green Spaces Alliance of South Texas.  The easement will preserve in perpetuity a 50-acre natural area encompassing the Headwaters of the San Antonio River and guaranteeing the continued existence of the only nature sanctuary in the urban core of San Antonio.  The tree planted today overlooks the Blue Hole, included in this easement."

Darshana Gupte, a Climate Reality Leader and a Chairwoman of San Antonio Chapter, said: " The Climate Reality Project was founded by former Vice President Al Gore in 2006. Since then, he has trained over 31,000 Climate leaders in more than 170 countries worldwide. Today is a very special day for us, as it begins, 24 Hours of Reality: Countdown to the Future! A Day of Action! For 24 straight hours, Vice President Gore and his trained Leaders will lead Digital Presentations and Discussions across the planet.  They will explore the historic connection of Climate Change, COVID-19, and Systemic Racism that touch our lives. They will highlight, what we can do, to face these challenges and build the better future together? It is a Massive community event intended to foster an urgency to act and push through actions NOW. With the world asking what comes next, this year, we are partnering with the outstanding team of TED for Countdown- Turning Ideas into Action. Also, this year, Climate Reality Project will Plant a tree, around the globe, on behalf of each attendee of the Presentation at North American Branch-California; Africa Branch-Ghana; Canada Branch- British Columbia; Japan, china and Amazon Rainforest. Forests are not just trees; they provide food, water, livelihoods, and employment opportunities while capturing the Carbon from the air. They are imperative to the global ECO system. Locally, our SA chapter is partnering with Compassionate Tree Project to fulfill our Act of leadership & commitment to making San Antonio Green. So far, my team has already planted 239 trees and we are committed to do more. Finally, what do trees, bees, butterflies, and Climate Reality have in common? Well, they are all Nature’s Essential Workers!! So, in addition to this Ceremonial tree planting today, as climate conscious citizens of the world, let us vow to plant as many trees as possible in our lifetime and encourage our friends and family.  My special thanks to Ann Helmke for arranging such a wonderful event. Our host University of Incarnate word (UIW), President, faculty, ground staff and Sr. Martha her relentless work. Last but not least, Mayor Ron Nirenberg for his support and presence at this special event on October 10, 2020" 

Friday, October 9, 2020

God's Creatures and Care of Creation, Presentations to Invite the World to "Climate Reality"

                                                  Evelyn Mantalvo and Sadie

October 10, 2020, is Climate Reality Day. tn San Antonio, Texas, at the Headwaters of the San Antonio River, the Mayor and University of the Incarnate Word President Tom Evans are speaking.  In the Countdown Global Launch, a call to action on climate change and the first-ever free TED conference, from 11am - 5pm ET. Presented by TED and Future Stewards.   Pope Francis is speaking.  In preparation for this on October 4, UIW had a gathering.   

Since the mid-1970’s, at Incarnate Word College, community members have gathered near the Headwaters to remember St. Francis of Assisi (1182 - 1226), patron saint of ecology, and to have a blessing of animals.  The pandemic kept people from gathering outside, but online connections made it possible for one of the founders of the tradition at Incarnate Word to virtually attend, Kim Brinster.  She now lives in New Zealand and shared stories of roosters on their island. This 2020 celebration in front of screens included guinea pigs, cats, dogs, and about 50 two legged creatures.  Students, families, friends, and retired faculty from New Mexico and around the San Antonio area came.   Yesenia Caloca and Alyssa Kennedy shared prayers. Sr. Martha Ann Kirk noted that while people were killing each other during the Crusades, Francis bravely went to the Muslim ruler to talk about stopping the violence. All  watched images and listened to song by her friends Jesse Manibusan and Bro. Rufino Zaragoza ofm. She had been invited to help them find pictures of peace makers.  "The Spirit of Assisi: We come only armed with love"  Can I learn to “come only armed with love”?    Am I willing to take down “the walls of hate and fear”?  To live with mercy and compassion so that peace can come? 

Kassandra Luna, a sophomore, majoring in Security Systems, said,  “The Blessing of the Animals and Celebration of Creation event brought me a few tears of joys. I am an animal lover, more towards dogs because they match my crazy energy. I loved seeing everybody's animals on screen, I honestly wanted to hug them because they were so cute.  I loved the way everyone was so proud to show off their animals as if they were their own children. The best part was when they acknowledged that were not perfect and that is what loved them even more.  I enjoyed the second part of the event because we were covering plastic pollution. We know that plastic pollution is a main contributing factor to the the destruction of our green planet so to see this organization bring awareness to the topics and give us the sources in order to participate in making a 180 is very inspiring.”

Louis P. Lubbering (1944-2020), beloved art teacher at IWHS and UIW, compassionately cared for God's creatures

Lauren Chavez, Sophomore, Nursing Major, noted that this was “such an inspiring event to attend. It was so nice to see every animal owner show off their beloved pet. You could really see in each owner’s eyes how much they loved and cared for their pet and how proud they were to show them off. Being able to pray and bless all of these animals was very special and I know it meant a lot to all the owners.  During the second half of the event, we were all able to share and learn about issues that are happening on our Earth. This was very eye-opening and gave everyone an opportunity bring awareness to these topics as well as learn about what we could do to help try and resolve these issues.”

Madison Tulaba, Junior, Theatre Arts Major, wrote,  “Getting to see so many animals grace my computer screen and their owners smiling faces was incredible. Hearing the stories and prayers shared at this event really meant a lot to me.  I learned a lot from this event. Being able to work with such a great team and learn more about plastic pollution was incredible. To be honest, I did not have much knowledge on plastic pollution beforehand so being able to do research on such an important topic helped me learn a lot more on how not only myself but others can help the earth. Hearing my fellow classmates presentations taught me a lot as well. I was excited to see what everyone had worked so hard on and learn more about sustainability.”

Maia Smith, a Sophomore, Nursing Major, wrote that the gathering “was a wonderful opportunity to spread love, educate each other, and do our part to protect our precious Earth. Seeing everybody's animals during the first half of the event brought a smile to my face during these uncertain times. It's hard not to feel joy when you see a happy animal being loved and cared for by a happy owner!  The second half of the event was very informative. I learned a lot about my group's topic, plastic pollution, through my research and the contributions of my teammates. Issues addressed by other groups included greenhouse gasses, energy conservation, and the declining polar bear population. It gave me hope to see so many people coming together to create a more sustainable future for all.” 


                                     Victoria Velasquez and her animal friend

Victoria Velazquez, a Junior Sociology Major, said, “The Blessing of the Animals and Celebration of Creation event was an incredible experience. I learned of the beauty there is in coming together in celebration and unity that left a lasting impact on me. This event was beautifully enriched with diverse forms of life and creation. There was a great deal to be appreciated. Within my group and others, there was an excellent conversational exchange to the various critical concerns impacting our Earth. Personally, the preparation involved in working with my group created an immense care and concern toward promoting sustainability for all creation. Having the opportunity to share on the topic of Earth justice related to plastic pollution cultivated a united effort. Specifically, it advocated for the sanctity of creation that could be achieved individually, locally, and globally. Additionally, the St. Francis of Assisi prayer was inspirational to reflect on each significant word that we so desperately need to embody in this critical time. It is essential to discover the ways we may work together toward a sustainable future.”

Evelynn Montalvo, a Sophomore who is majoring in Nursing Major, wrote, “I appreciated the opportunity as I got to see so many animals in loving homes, as well as the people that loved them. Getting to view the value people give to their pets made it more apparent that life is something we should treasure and celebrate. I enjoyed first being able to see the community connect with one another over the things we love, then getting to put all of that into perspective during the second half of the event when everyone got a chance to hear about global crises affecting all of us. It was nice to see that so many people showed up to the event. The large group that gathered with us on October 4th showed me that people still care and are willing to listen and educate themselves. There was a great sense of unity, and unity is something we will certainly need as we tackle to issues discussed during the second half of the event.”

Alyssa Kennedy had spoken of and shown her dog Gabbi who had medical challenges and could barely use her legs.  The gathering ended with an inspiring film of Gabbi’s friends and how people love and care for dogs who are differently abled

Brittany Edwards explained their group's presentation, “The Earth is continuously warming and with this, marine life is dying, pollution is rising, and only so much is being done to address this advancement. The Cypress Creation Community focused our initiative on Greenhouse gas emissions, their impact on the atmosphere in local and global aspects, and what can be done to improve the quality of the air that we breathe. Climate equity is an ever-present topic in our communities, and it is a primary area of concern in our city's climate action plan and efforts to positively impact our environment will cultivate a healthier future for generations to come.”

Safietou Dorsey noted, “Our presentation was about ocean conservation. Our oceans sustain life and it is our duty as people to preserve them. Currently, with climate change and global warming as a direct result of pollution, we have seen a drastic change in Ocean life. It is important to promote ocean sustainability and eliminate the problems that are negatively affecting our oceans.” Their group recommends    and,get%20caught%20in%20plastic%20litter  and

Maia Smith said, “We researched plastic pollution, specifically single-use plastics. We emphasized the issues of mass production and wasteful packaging and stressed the importance of government action in addition to individual choices. We explained the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act and encouraged individuals to contact their representatives.” The recommend: Summary of the 2020 Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act:  Letter of Support:    Single Use Plastics: 

Evan Rey Santos said, "The Willow group had the honor of sharing the seriousness of energy conservation, especially in the United States. Not only does saving energy save money, but it also protects the environment we all live in. We exposed how our main sources of energy aren’t renewable and how we, the human race, should consider the needs of future generations. Our team’s presentation brought to light several easy ways we can be energy efficient, either at home or on the road. The website below offers reasons homeowners should look at energy efficiency. If you still need some more convincing on why conserving energy is crucial to sustainability then this is the source for you.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Resources - Reflections | Our Citizenship

Here are some resources that can help us in our reflections on the upcoming elections in the United States. 

Towards a More Perfect Union: 2020 Election Reflections by LCWR.  As women religious, we are called to bring our faith and our voices to the public square. While that is a daily responsibility, our presence and voices have never been more needed. How do we even begin to create communion in the face of a divisive climate in a polarized society? How do we enter into dialogue when so much of the public conversation about policy and politics, the direction of our country, and the 2020 election is filled with anger and disrespect? How can we possibly contribute to the work of building “a more perfect union"? We believe that LCWR’s challenge to contemplative dialogue, deep listening and mutual respect are the prophetic actions that we can offer in these difficult days of discernment. We invite you to join LCWR on a journey of faith and dialogue over a period of eight weeks as we explore some principles of our faith and ideals of our democracy by participating in three ways.

1. Pray with the weekly reflections that are available for download below.

2. Gather groups of sisters, friends, colleagues, or neighbors for some virtual conversation about the state of our democracy. Stretch beyond your comfort zone. Invite those who don’t normally sit around your table. The greater the diversity, the more fruitful the dialogue. As you develop your groups and consider your guest lists, it may be helpful to consider some of these questions:

Whose voices are we including? Whose are missing from the table? Who else should be invited to the conversation? Are we hoping to facilitate greater understanding, or simply convince others of the rightness of our positions? What will help us center the human dignity of each person and deescalate the situation when we feel ourselves become tense?

3. Capture stories of what occurs as you have these conversations. How is your conversation impacting the lives of those participating? What change has occurred within your local area or city as a result of the dialogue you are hosting? (We will provide more information on what do with these stories.)

In a document that can be downloaded below are resources prepared by other organizations including voters’ guides, strategies for resisting voter suppression, civility pledges, and voter registration and “get out the vote” materials.


PDF icon 11.03.20 Election Day

PDF icon 10.27.20 Love

PDF icon 10.20.20 Contemplative

PDF icon 10.13.20 Common Good

PDF icon 10.06.20 Stitching

PDF icon 09.29.20 Soulful Politics

PDF icon 09.22.20 Shared Heartbreak

PDF icon 09.15.20 Out of Many One

PDF icon Election Resources - updated 09.09.20 

PDF icon 2020 Voter Guide - LCWR Region 7 

Monday, October 5, 2020

San Antonio Challenges of Discrimination, Poverty, Education, Health Care, Environment, and Immigration Revealed in Murals


                                                                                                                                                                  San Antonio challenges of discrimination, poverty, education, health care, environment, and immigration are revealed in murals in west side San Antonio.   Community members compassionately and creatively tell their stories.  San Anto Cultural Arts Center has led people to gather and to create.  The problems are not unique to San Antonio.  When the U.S. is compared to other countries through the Social Progress Index, national weaknesses are apparent. As people learn of weaknesses, they can improve. This is a time of opportunity for improvement. 

 A graduate of Incarnate Word High School, Adriana Garcia, created two of the murals shown in this 12 minute film, "Brighter Days," and "De Todos Caminos Somos Todos Uno" in English, "From All Roads We Are All One."   She was selected and recognized as part of the Americans for the Arts 2019 Public Art Network (PAN) Year in Review (50 projects were selected out of 361). The mural is part of  the San Pedro Creek improvements project.

 Arts have been an important part of education in Incarnate Word schools. Sister Maria del Socorro Lazo, CCVI, (1893-1956) from Chihuahua, Mexico, started teaching at Incarnate Word College in 1941. She was highly respected as an outstanding artist in Texas.  

Friday, October 2, 2020

Vow of nonviolence

Our Congregation, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, signed up to the 'Call to Nonviolence and Just Peace' in 2017, committing ourselves to promote the understanding and practice of active nonviolence on the path to just peace, with a desire to be authentic disciples of Jesus, challenged and inspired by stories of hope and courage. During 2017 the Sisters reflected on the culture of peace and nonviolence, and one of the first actions they took through their Life and Mission Groups was their vow of nonviolence. Today, on the International Day of Nonviolence, we invite you to make and/or renew your vow of nonviolence.

We offer this as a focus for prayer and reflection to help individuals and communities affirm their intention / commitment to live a nonviolent life. It was created in the United States by Eileen Egan and Rev. John Dear. It can be used privately, with a local peace community, as part of a parish liturgy, or any other way that suits you. Many have used the prayer at the start of each year as part of their New Year observance.


Recognising the violence in my own heart, yet trusting in the goodness and mercy of God, I vow to practice the nonviolence of Jesus who taught us in the Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons and daughters of God... You have learned how it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy,’ but I say to you, ‘Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. In this way, you will be daughters and sons of your Creator in heaven.”

by striving for peace within myself and seeking to be a peacemaker in my daily life;

by refusing to retaliate in the face of provocation and violence; by persevering in nonviolence of tongue and heart;

by living conscientiously and simply so that I do not deprive others of the means to live;

by actively resisting evil and working nonviolently to abolish war and the causes of war from my own heart and from the face of the earth.

God, I trust in Your sustaining love and believe that just as You gave me the grace and desire to offer this, so You will also bestow abundant grace to fulfill it. 


Renovando nuestro voto de no violencia:

Congregación, Hermanas de la Caridad del Verbo Encarnado, firmó su adhesión al 'Llamado a la No Violencia y Paz Justa' en el 2017, comprometiéndose a promover la comprensión y las prácticas de la no violencia activa en el camino hacia la paz justa, con el deseo de ser auténticas discípulas de Jesús, desafiadas e inspiradas por los relatos de esperanza y valentía. Durante este año las Hermanas reflexionaron sobre la cultura de paz y la no-violencia, y una de las primeras acciones que realizaron a través de sus Grupos de Vida y Misión fue su voto de no violencia. Hoy en el Día Internacional de la No violencia, te invitamos a realizar y/o renovar tu voto de no violencia.

Ofrecemos esto como un recurso de oración y reflexión para ayudar a los individuos y comunidades a afirmar su intención y compromiso de vivir una vida no violenta. El texto integro del voto fue creado en los Estados Unidos por Eileen Egan y John Dear. Puede ser usado en privado, con una comunidad de paz local, como parte de una liturgia parroquial, o de cualquier otra manera que le convenga. Muchos han usado la oración al comienzo de cada año como parte de su observancia de Año Nuevo.


Tomando conciencia de la violencia que existe en mi corazón, y reconociendo la bondad y misericordia de Dios, por un año entero prometo de seguir la noviolencia de Jesús que nos enseñó en el Sermón de la Montaña:

“Bienaventurados los que trabajan por la paz, porque serán llamados hijos de Dios...Habéis oído que se dijo: Amarás a tu prójimo y odiarás a tu enemigo. Pues yo os digo: Amad a vuestros enemigos y rogad por los que os persigan, para que seáis hijos de vuestro Padre celestial”.

Prometo poner en práctica en mi vida, el amor y ejemplo de Jesús:

Esforzándome para tener la paz interior y buscando ser un trabajador de la paz en mi vida cotidiana;

Rechazando reaccionar ante provocaciones y violencia, perseverando en la noviolencia de la palabra y del corazón;

Viviendo en forma consciente y simple sin privar a otros de los medios para sobrevivir;

Resistiendo activamente al mal y trabajando de forma noviolenta para abolir la guerra y las causas de la guerra de mi corazón y de la faz de la Tierra.

Señor, confío en el sostén de Tu amor y creo que de la misma manera en que Tú me diste la gracia y el deseo de ofrecer este voto, así me darás la gracia necesaria para realizarlo.


Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Taylor Robinson of Incarnate Word Academy Featured in the International Day of the Girl

Taylor Robinson, a senior at Incarnate Word Academy (IWA) in Saint Louis, MO used her unique voice to empower others to recognize the importance of equal representation of women and fair treatment of all humanity.

In the Untied Nations Sustainable Development goals,    Goal 5 notes “empower women and girls.”   The International Day of the Girl was established nine years ago to further that. Normally the Girls Summit would be held at the United Nations, but with the pandemic, an online event is being held.  Taylor Robinson's film,  among submissions from all over the world is one of the entries selected to be featured on their website, social media, and in the virtual celebrations.

The international organizers wrote to her: "We are very excited to include your inspiring piece. Thank you very much for the time and energy you put into creating such outstanding material. Your submission will be posted on the Day of the Girl  Website  and posted from the Day of the Girl social media accounts. Your submission will help elevate the conversation about girls' human rights around the globe. The International Day of the Girl 2020 is being observed Oct. 9 to 11.  Join us on Friday, October 9th for a Virtual Field Trip to the Girls' Rights Townhall in partnership with the United Nations. Then join us on Sunday, October 11th for the 9th annual Girls SpeakOut on Youtube!  On October 9th we will be hosting a virtual Girls' Rights Townhall where girl activists will come together with UN policymakers to talk about building equity for girls. Watch the event on our website  and prepare ahead of time with our curriculum .  

On October 11th, the Girls Speak Out will premiere on Youtube  throughout the day. Find your timezone and language here  Hear from girls around the world about what building equity means to them through music, poetry, and art. Viewers will have the opportunity to join the dialogue through a live chat – ask questions and share your experiences!" 

Taylor Robinson currently serves as an Officer of IWA’s Diversity Club where she is constantly promoting and celebrating each individual voice. When Taylor learned of the amazing opportunity to use her voice to showcase her boldness, she happily agreed to provide a creative submission to the International Day of the Girl program. Taylor stated, “I decided to do the video because in today's chaotic world, it is hard to find your voice and project it to the point where it actually is heard. I was luckily granted the opportunity and took advantage of it."


When asked, what do girls need to have to build equity in  their lives, education, and communities, Taylor eagerly responded with, “representation and fair treatment.” Representation to Taylor means representation in the classroom, government, leadership, and in her community. It was important for Taylor to empower girls to realize that they can succeed in their community and in the world. Similarly, fair treatment involved promoting fair and equal treatment with law enforcement so that her community could feel safe. She shared that
representation and fair treatment needed to unite so that girls can come together to be the change that this world so desperately needs. See her contribution: 

The principal of Incarnate Word Academy Katie Wilson and the Director of Equity and Inclusion Jordan Watson  encouraged Taylor to  be a part of this international effort after receiving the invitation from Sr. Martha Ann Kirk, Chair of the Incarnate Word Sisters Justice, Peace, and Creation Committee. Incarnate Word Sisters have come many countries including France, Germany, Mexico, Canada, Switzerland, Slovakia, and Ireland. Taylor carries forward the international tradition. 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

“Forced like Jesus Christ to flee” : A prayer guide

We have prepared this prayer inspired by the Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for the 106 World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2020. 
Here you can download the guide: Prayer guide

Every year since 1914, the last Sunday of September our Church celebrates the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WDMR). In the light of the tragic events that have marked 2020, the Holy Father has chosen “Forced like Jesus Christ to flee as the theme for this year to focus on the pastoral care of internally displaced people (IDPs). He calls us to recognize the realities of internally displaced persons, and to embrace all those who are experiencing situations of precariousness, abandonment, marginalization and rejection as a result of COVID-19. 
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 
When we talk about migrants,
immigrants, refugees and displaced persons,
all too often we stop at statistics.
But it is not about statistics, it is about real people!
Creator of life, we want to know in order to understand.
All: Give us your grace not just to know about them, but also, to be available to understand them.
May our fears not distance us from others, 
may nothing stop us from "being a neighbor" 
and to serve with love.
Creator of life, we want to be close in order to serve
All: Give us your grace of readiness to draw near and to serve lovingly beyond a mere sense of duty.
Open our ears, mind, and heart to listen 
to the plea of the vulnerable, 
the displaced and our seriously ill planet. 
Creator of life, we want to listen in order to be reconciled
All: Give us your grace to be reconciled with neighbors, with all those who have been “discarded”, with ourselves and with You.
The pandemic has reminded us 
how we are all in the same boat. 
No one can be saved alone. 
Creator of life, in order to grow, we want to share
All: Give us your grace of learning to share in order to grow together, leaving no one behind. 
The pandemic has reminded us 
of how essential co- responsibility is, 
and that only with the contribution of everyone 
– even of those groups so often underestimated– 
can we face this crisis. 
Creator of life, we want to be involved in order to promote
All: Gives us your grace to find the courage to create spaces where everyone can recognize that they are called.  May we create new forms of hospitality, fraternity and solidarity.
Building the Kingdom of God is a duty common to all Christians, 
and for this reason, it is necessary that we learn to cooperate, 
without yielding to the temptation to jealousy, discord and division. 
Creator of life, we want to cooperate in order to build
All: Gives us your grace to commit ourselves to ensuring international cooperation, global solidarity and local commitment, leaving no one excluded. 
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit…
During the flight into Egypt, the child Jesus experienced with his parents the tragic fate of the displaced and refugees, “which is marked by fear, uncertainty and unease. Unfortunately, in our own times, millions of families can identify with this sad reality. Almost every day the television and papers carry news of refugees fleeing from hunger, war and other grave dangers, in search of security and a dignified life for themselves and for their families.” In each of these people, forced to flee to safety, Jesus is present as he was at the time of Herod. In the faces of the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, strangers and prisoners, we are called to see the face of Christ who pleads with us to help. If we can recognize him in those faces, we will be the ones to thank him for having been able to meet, love and serve him in them. Displaced people offer us this opportunity to meet the Lord, “even though our eyes find it hard to recognize him: his clothing in tatters, his feet dirty, his face disfigured, his body wounded, his tongue unable to speak our language.” 
Extract of Pope Francis’ Message 2020
ACTION: Each person lights a candle and then places it around the image of St. Joseph.
Father, you entrusted to Saint Joseph what you held most precious: 
the child Jesus and his Mother, in order to protect them from the dangers 
and threats of the wicked.
Grant that we may experience his protection and help. 
May he, who shared in the sufferings of those 
who flee from the hatred of the powerful, 
console and protect all our brothers and sisters driven 
by war, poverty and necessity to leave their homes and their lands 
to set out as refugees for safer places.
Help them, through the intercession of Saint Joseph, 
to find the strength to persevere, give them comfort in sorrows 
and courage amid their trials.
Grant to those who welcome them some of the tender love 
of this just and wise father, who loved Jesus as a true son
 and sustained Mary at every step of the way.
May he, who earned his bread by the work of his hands, 
watch over those who have seen everything in life taken away 
and obtain for them the dignity of a job and the serenity of a home.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, 
your Son, whom Saint Joseph saved by fleeing to Egypt, 
and trusting in the intercession of the Virgin Mary, 
whom he loved as a faithful husband in accordance with your will.
Praised be the Incarnate Word!

© All prayers and readings are inspired, adapted and selected from the Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2020. 

This prayer resource has been created by the Congregational Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Office. A ministry of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word [World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2020] Free Resource

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

23 de septiembre: Día Internacional contra la Explotación Sexual y la Trata de Mujeres, Niñas y Niños

El Día Internacional contra la Explotación Sexual y el Trata de Mujeres, Niñas y Niños se evoca cada 23 de septiembre. Fue instaurado por la Conferencia Mundial de la Coalición Contra el Tráfico de Personas, en coordinación con la Conferencia de Mujeres de Dhaka, Bangladesh, en enero de 1999. 

El Protocolo de Palermo define la trata de personas en su artículo 3 como: “la captación, el transporte, el traslado, la acogida o la recepción de personas, recurriendo a la amenaza o al uso de la fuerza u otras formas de coacción, al rapto, al fraude, al engaño, al abuso de poder o de una situación de vulnerabilidad o a la concesión o recepción de pagos o beneficios para obtener el consentimiento de una persona que tenga autoridad sobre otra, con fines de explotación. Esta explotación incluirá, como mínimo, la explotación de la prostitución ajena u otras formas de explotación sexual, los trabajos o servicios forzados, la esclavitud o las prácticas análogas a la esclavitud, la servidumbre o la extracción de órganos.”

Como Congregación de las Hermanas de la Caridad del Verbo Encarnado desde nuestra misión de actualizar el amor salvador y misericordioso del Verbo Encarnado promoviendo la dignidad humana, “afirmamos la dignidad y los derechos de todas las personas y denunciamos la Trata de personas y los sistemas económicos y sociales que lo propician” (Postura Corporativa, 2015)

Aquí les dejamos un recurso para orar: En comunión con todas las Santas y Santos 

Con respecto al tema, el Protocolo de Palermo, tiene como objetivo: prevenir y combatir la trata de personas, con especial atención a las mujeres y los niños. Proteger y ayudar a las víctimas de dicha trata, respetando plenamente sus derechos humanos. y promover la cooperación entre los Estados parte para lograr los fines. Dicho protocolo fue ratificado por varios países de América Latina. México fue uno de los primeros en adherirse a la Campaña Corazón Azul para prevenir, sancionar y erradicar la Trata de Personas.

Aquí algunos evento entorno a este importante día de reflexión y lucha contra la trata de personas:

Organizado por la Confederación de Vida Religiosa en América Latina. Aquí los detalles del Evento

Organizado por el Ministerio del Interior del Perú. Aquí los detalles y más eventos en Perú

11 años de Talitha Kum -Vida Religiosa contra la Trata de Personas. Aquí para ver Mensaje de la Coordinadora de la Red Rahamim México

Oración Comunitaria organizada por Red Kawsay Perú. Más información aquí

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Una oración por la Jornada Mundial del Migrante y del Refugiado 2020

Hemos preparado esta oración inspiradas en el Mensaje de Su Santidad el Papa Francisco por la 106º Jornada Mundial de los Migrantes y Refugiados 2020. 
Aquí puedes descargar la guía: Oración

Cada año desde 1914, el último domingo de setiembre nuestra Iglesia celebra la Jornada Mundial de Oración por Migrantes y Refugiados. A la luz de los trágicos acontecimientos que han marcado el año 2020, el Santo Padre ha elegido como tema de este año "Forzados como Jesucristo a huir" para centrar la atención en la pastoral de los desplazados internos. El Papa Francisco nos llama a reconocer el drama de quienes experimentan el desplazamiento y a abrazar a todas las personas que están experimentando situaciones de precariedad, abandono, marginación y rechazo como resultado de COVID-19. 
En el nombre del Padre, del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo...
Cuando hablamos de migrantes,
inmigrantes, refugiados y desplazados,
demasiado a menudo nos detenemos en las estadísticas.
¡Pero no son números, sino personas! 
Creador de la vida, que al conocer pueda comprender.
Todas(os): Danos tu gracia no sólo para saber sus historias, sino también para estar disponible para comprenderles.
Que nuestros miedos no nos distancien de los demás, 
que nada nos impida "ser prójimo" 
y de servir con amor.
Creador de la vida, queremos hacernos prójimo para servir
Todas(os): Danos tu gracia de estar disponibles a acercarnos y servir va más allá del estricto sentido del deber.
Abre nuestros oídos, mente y corazón para escuchar 
el grito de los más vulnerables, los desplazados 
y de nuestro planeta gravemente enfermo. 
Creador de vida, queremos escuchar para reconciliar
Todas(os): Danos tu gracia para reconciliarnos con nuestro prójimo, con todos los "descartados", con nosotras mismas y contigo.
La pandemia nos recuerda 
cómo todas las personas estamos en un mismo barco. 
Nadie puede salvarse de modo aislado. 
Creador de la vida, queremos compartir para crecer.
Todas(os): Danos tu gracia para aprender a compartir y crecer como una sola familia humana, sin dejar a nadie atrás. 
La pandemia nos ha recordado cuán esencial 
es la corresponsabilidad y 
que sólo con la colaboración de todas y todos 
incluso de los grupos a menudo subestimados
es posible encarar la crisis. 
Creador de la vida, queremos involucrar para promover
Todas(os): Danos tu gracia para tener el coraje de crear espacios donde todas las personas puedan reconocer su llamado, y permitir nuevas formas de hospitalidad, hermandad y solidaridad.
La construcción del Reino de Dios
es un compromiso común de toda persona que cree en Jesús, 
y por eso se requiere que aprendamos a colaborar, 
sin dejarnos tentar por los celos, las discordias y las divisiones. 
Creador de la vida, queremos colaborar para construir
Todas(os): Danos tu gracia para comprometernos en asegurar la cooperación internacional, la solidaridad global y el compromiso local, sin dejar fuera a nadie
Gloria al Padre, al Hijo y al Espíritu Santo…
En la huida a Egipto, el niño Jesús experimentó, junto con sus padres, la trágica condición de desplazado y refugiado, «marcada por el miedo, la incertidumbre, las incomodidades. Lamentablemente, en nuestros días, millones de familias pueden reconocerse en esta triste realidad. Casi cada día la televisión y los periódicos dan noticias de refugiados que huyen del hambre, de la guerra, de otros peligros graves, en busca de seguridad y de una vida digna para sí mismos y para sus familias». Jesús está presente en cada uno de ellos, obligado como en tiempos de Herodes a huir para salvarse. Estamos llamados a reconocer en sus rostros el rostro de Cristo, hambriento, sediento, desnudo, enfermo, forastero y encarcelado, que nos interpela. Si lo reconocemos, seremos nosotros quienes le agradeceremos el haberlo conocido, amado y servido. Los desplazados internos nos ofrecen esta oportunidad de encuentro con el Señor, «incluso si a nuestros ojos les cuesta trabajo reconocerlo: con la ropa rota, con los pies sucios, con el rostro deformado, con el cuerpo llagado, e incapaz de hablar nuestra lengua». 
Extracto del Mensaje del Papa Francisco, 2020
GESTO: Cada persona enciende una vela y luego la coloca alrededor de la imagen de San José.
Padre, Tú encomendaste a San José lo más valioso que tenías:
el Niño Jesús y su madre, para protegerlos de los peligros
y de las amenazas de los malvados.
Concédenos experimentar su protección y su ayuda.
Él, que padeció el sufrimiento de quien huye
a causa del odio de los poderosos,
haz que pueda consolar y proteger a todos los hermanos y hermanas que,
empujados por las guerras, la pobreza y las necesidades,
abandonan su hogar y su tierra,
para ponerse en camino, como refugiados, hacia lugares más seguros.
Ayúdales, por su intercesión,
a tener la fuerza para seguir adelante,
el consuelo en la tristeza, el valor en la prueba.
Da a quienes les acogen
un poco de la ternura de este padre justo y sabio,
que amó a Jesús como un verdadero hijo
y sostuvo a María a lo largo del camino.
Él, que se ganaba el pan con el trabajo de sus manos,
pueda proveer de lo necesario a quienes la vida les ha quitado todo,
y darles la dignidad de un trabajo y la serenidad de un hogar.
Te lo pedimos por Jesucristo, tu Hijo,
que San José salvó al huir a Egipto,
y por intercesión de la Virgen María,
a quien amó como esposo fiel según tu voluntad.
¡Alabado sea el Verbo Encarnado!
© Todas las oraciones y lecturas están inspiradas, adaptadas y seleccionadas del Mensaje de Su Santidad el Papa Francisco por la 106º Jornada Mundial de los Migrantes y Refugiados 2020. 
Este recurso de oración ha sido elaborado por la Oficina Congregacional de Justicia, Paz e Integridad de la Creación. Un ministerio de las Hermanas de la Caridad del Verbo Encarnado [Jornada Mundial de los Migrantes y Refugiados 2020] Libre para ser compartido

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Restorative Justice, Compassion, Nonviolence: Peruvian and US Anniversaries


Bishop Luis Bambarén, who was the official observer on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Peru, spoke to a UIW Study Tour that included Incarnate Word Sisters in 2002.  

The Peruvian and US Anniversaries on August 28, 2020, were invitations to reflection and conversion. Peruvians observed the 17th anniversary of the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission  which had been accepted by the government on August 28, 2003.  The nine-volume report on human rights abuses estimated that over 69,000 people had been killed in the last two decades of 20th century.  

In the 1980’s as injustices in Peruvian society were publicly pointed out, groups began to turn to violence.  Then the government responded with more violence rather than efforts to listen and respond to the roots of the problems.  With groups, like Sendero Luminoso and with government forces, violence was used more and more.  

While the government may not have killed quite as many people, their approaches fueled ever more violence. Seventeen years ago, the Peruvian government accepted the report of the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” not denying guilt. 

Monsignor Luis Bambarén Gastelumendi, Bishop of  Chimbote and President of the Episcopal Conference of Peru, was the official observer on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  He is a friend of the Incarnate Word Sisters. Sisters continued ministering during the challenging years of violence. See articles that include some on the Sisters and ministry in Peru "Danger Did Not Drive Us Out of Peru"   and in English  "The World Will Be Saved By Beauty"  "Washerwoman God"  

August 28, 2020, was the 57th anniversary of the “March on Washington” in which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a speech “I have a dream.” He had said if there was not a movement towards justice, unrest would continue in the U.S.  That has proved true and thousands marched on Washington for the 57th anniversary.  They lamented the murder of another Black person and the patterns of racism. 

In San Antonio, Texas, considering the killing of George Floyd, on June 7, 2020, people of many faiths gathered in a Prayer Vigil for #BlackLivesMatter  which  was livestreamed by  from in front of San Fernando Cathedral and many people participated virtually. 

The mayor and religious leaders spoke and faculty and students of the University of the Incarnate Word contributed a litany of people of color who had been killed.  Dr. Danielle Alsandor, Ms. Brandi Coleman, Ms. Casey Ogechi Iwuagwu, Sr. Martha Ann Kirk, Michael Mercer, Darcy E. Renfro, Dr. Ronald Washington can be seen sharing the Litany for Racial Justice 

To see the text of the litany go to

While great challenges continue in Peru in the face of poverty and in the face of corruption, yet people of the US could learn something from Peruvians, as from South Africans and Rwandans.  A society cannot find “easy reconciliation.”  Deep efforts are needed to unveil truths of violence and oppression.

As more truth is discovered, all sides, all groups need ongoing formation in restorative justice.   Retributive justice, looking back and trying to “even out violence” cannot create a positive future.  For people to go into a brighter future, to forge respect and bonds, restorative justice is needed.  Transformative education is needed for the children of victims and the children of the perpetrator to learn to live together and co-create a flourishing society.

Educational movements are growing.  The Charter for Compassion encourages education at all levels. Compassionate Integrity Training is spreading globally and their manual in Spanish, in English, and in German can be downloaded  Pace e Bene, founded by Franciscans offers extensive resources, classes, and invites all to Campaign Nonviolence. These can further transformative education and reconciliation rather than ongoing circles of violence.

Thirty some Incarnate Word Sisters, friends, and co-ministers from Mexico, Peru, and the US participated in the 2020 Campaign Nonviolence educational events remembering the 75 anniversary of the nuclear bombs. They attended the August 6 Vigil, the August 7 Nonviolence Training, and/or the August 8, 2020 large conference. Recordings of all of these events can be seen in English.  Pace e Bene has had classes and resources in Spanish and is working to get more and more available.

In the face of systemic racism, ongoing efforts for “truth and reconciliation” are urgently needed. Each person is encouraged to disarm her or his heart.  All are encouraged to listen to each other.