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Sisters of Providence provide hope and healing in a broken world

Sisters of Providence demonstrate and pray during an execution in Terre Haute.

The world is broken. I think we need to be bold enough to admit that the world is broken. 

Our political and social discourse has become dysfunctional. Friendships and families are suffering from the large gash of political, ideological and religious division.

One hundred thousand Americans died of opioid overdoses last year. The suicide rate in our country went from 18 per 100,000 to 22 per 100,000 over the last 20 years. Men and women in this country without a college degree are dying earlier than in the past. Even before Covid, life expectancy, conditional on making it to age 25, has declined over recent decades.

For many of our sisters and brothers, life is harsh and short, filled with little joy, but with lots of anguish and despair. 

The war raging in the Ukraine, mass hunger and starvation in Afghanistan, massive human rights violations in Saudi Arabia and in China, an exploding worldwide refugee crisis with over 80 million people worldwide on the move to find shelter from the chaos. 

Not alone

How are we, whose lives are relatively stable, dealing with this suffering? Sometimes I feel that I am drawn into despair and hopelessness amidst all the suffering around us. A few years ago, the Sisters of Providence organized a Saturday workshop on “Talking across the Divide.” They recognized that our political and social discourse needed healing. And they took action. The workshop they organized helped me feel part of a community where I could feel safe and comfortable, where very difficult issues could be explored and discussed in a most respectful manner. I felt a glimmer of hope that I am holding onto even today.

Our criminal justice system has turned into a penal system with often draconian sentencing. It metes out cruel and unusual punishment, trying juveniles as adults, allowing sexual abuse of women prisoners and condemning convicted felons to death.

The Sisters of Providence were instrumental in organizing vigils on the nights of the executions in the Federal prison in Terre Haute. I attended one of these vigils. I felt a part of a wider community that takes seriously Catholic social teaching with its strong emphasis on the dignity of all life. Working for social justice on my own often does feel overwhelming. The Sisters of Providence have been very supportive and made it easier for me to stand up for justice for the least of our sisters and brothers.

In this together

Sisters of Providence have always gone out of their way to treat all God’s children with respect and dignity. They have always exemplified for me what it means to be a member of the Body of Christ. The Sisters of Providence are a force of healing and a beacon of hope for me and for the world. My wife and I have chosen to support the sisters and their ministries financially through their GEM (Gives Every Month) program. Our consistent donation to help the Congregation, and our ongoing prayers for a hurting world, are just two of the many actions we take to help those most in need.

Originally published in the summer 2022 issue of HOPE magazine.

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Gerhard Glomm

Gerhard Glomm was born in southern Germany. He currently resides in Bloomington, Indiana, where he has settled by way of Kansas, Minnesota, Virginia and Michigan. Gerhard is a Professor of Economics at Indiana University.

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