8th Day Center for Justice celebrating 40 years in September
The 8th Day Center for Justice, based in Chicago, will recognize its 40th anniversary with a celebration from 2 to 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 20.
The event, “Revel in the Revolution: We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest,” will take place at the Jean Marie Ryan Center, Misericordia Campus, 6300 N. Ridge Ave., Chicago.
The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind., were one of the six founding congregations of 8th Day Center for Justice in 1974. The Sisters of Providence are now a sponsoring member.
The celebration will feature Jose Lopez, the executive director of the Juan Antonio Corretjer Puerto Rican Cultural Center. Lopez will share his thoughts and views on how social movements and communities can continue to harness energy to move toward true justice and equality.
In addition, 8th Day Center will honor Rasmea Odeh as its fourth Mary Elsbernd, O.S.F., award winner.
Odeh is a lifetime activist in the Palestinian community. She was born in Palestine and raised in the context of displacement and occupation that began in 1947. As a 21-year-old student, Odeh was arrested, tortured and imprisoned by the Israeli government. She was released through a prisoner agreement and eventually came to live in the United States. Once settled in the states, Odeh became an activist again on behalf of the Palestinian people, particularly women.
In October 2013, Odeh was arrested by Department of Justice officials at her home, and was charged with unlawful procurement of naturalization for allegedly omitting that she spent time in prison in Israel.
Odeh has never been secret about her arrest and imprisonment and even testified in front of a United Nations special committee in 1979 about her experiences.
Odeh will go to trial in September in Detroit, Mich. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison and deportation.
Officials with 8th Day Center said Odeh will receive the award because she “reflects the qualities and spirit of Mary Elsbernd, O.S.F., a life-long educator and advocate for social justice, who was renown for her passion, sense of relationship and visionary imagination.”
The 8th Day Center for Justice was founded with the hope that religious congregations could join together their resources to have an office that could promote the social teachings of the church.
Sister Dorothy Gartland was the first Sister of Providence to serve on the 8th Day Center staff. Currently, Sister Kathleen Desautels represents the Sisters of Providence at 8th Day Center, and has since 1986.
The 8th Day Center’s mission is to address the root causes of societal injustices. The organization’s mission statement reads, “Impelled by the belief that all creation is sacred and inter-related; imbued with the principles of nonviolence, mutuality and cooperation, 8th Day Center for Justice, a coalition of Catholic, religious congregations, commits to act as a critical alternative voice to oppressive systems and to work actively to change those systems.”
About the Sisters of Providence
The Sisters of Providence, a congregation of 214 women religious, with 300 Providence Associates, collaborate with others to create a more just and hope-filled world through prayer, education, service and advocacy. The Sisters of Providence have their motherhouse at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, located just northwest of downtown Terre Haute, Ind., which is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1840. Today, Sisters of Providence minister in 13 states, the District of Columbia and Asia, through works of love, mercy and justice. More information about the Sisters of Providence and their ministries can be found at SistersofProvidence.org.