Sisters of Providence Support Seeking Justice and Denounce the Violence Inflicted on Black Americans since the Birth of This Nation
The Sisters of Providence leadership team and the Providence Community strongly condemn the heinous violence against and ultimate murder of Mr. George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. We mourn with the Floyd family as yet again another unarmed black man’s life is snuffed out by individuals sworn to serve and protect all persons. Therein lies the problem. Do we really mean all persons? Are we ready to examine the structural roots of racism in our nation?
We believe the tone and intensity of public gatherings across this country are an urgent plea for genuine effective work to eradicate both individual and structural racism. The nonviolent protests, rallies, prayer vigils, and clean-up crews all share a desire for healing across racial divides. We join persons across the nation gathering in streets and public places to say, “End White Silence” and “Black Lives Matter.”
Moreover, we are saddened by the violence in our streets these past few days. At the same time, we recognize the depth and breadth of violence inflicted upon Black communities since before we were an independent nation. The violence of racism can and must stop. And the violence in the streets can and must stop. The voices that decry racist attitudes and actions must be heard and heeded. We are all made in the image and likeness of God. We know this to be true and commit to work towards ending the individual and structural racism that has provoked the violence.
As a predominantly white community of Roman Catholic women religious, we know we have work to do. We commit to further exploring our White privilege and understanding the intersectional nature of racism across the systems of power in our society. Fr. Bryan Massingale has described racism as a soul sickness. We declare ourselves sick as a nation. We are beginning to see White privilege as a source of that sickness. We urge community leaders to come together with clear intention and readiness to work towards eradicating racism in our society.
The path ahead will require all our efforts. All of us will, at times, be uncomfortable. And we know as people of faith that our God wants us to succeed. We are all created in the image and likeness of God. Indeed, all God has created is holy. Let us move forward together and let the light shine into the darkness we are now experiencing, “trusting in that Providence that so far has never failed us.” *
Dawn Tomaszewski,SP, Lisa Stallings,SP, Mary Beth Klingel, SP,
Jeanne Hagelskamp, SP, Jenny Howard, SP
Leadership Team of the Sisters of Providence, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana
*Words of our foundress, Saint Mother Theodore Guerin
Thank you for your bold statement and challenge to face the racial injustice that has marked our nation from the beginning. May we be brave enough, holy enough to step outside our comfort zones to do whatever is within our powers. I am grateful to the Indianapolis police, some of whom have literally embraced their sisters and brothers of color as they march for justice.
Again and again you ask us to stop, think, pause and pray….to stretch ourselves. The SP dedication to knowledge and love through education and behavior is ever present. We can heed the words of warning from Matthew Morrison and Oscar Hammerstein (South Pacific 1949) …here’s a snippet from their lyrics……..
You’ve got to be taught, to be afraid — Of people whose eyes are oddly made
And people whose skin is a different shade — You’ve got to be carefully taught
Our Lady of Providence, Queen of the Home, please pray for us.