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Congregation issues statement following Uvalde, Texas, shooting

 “Love the children first, then teach them.” – Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

Today, we are all residents of Uvalde, Texas, a relatively small community more than 80 miles from San Antonio.

On Tuesday, May 24, the world witnessed another horrific, senseless tragedy as a lone gunman reportedly shot and killed 21 people, including 19 students, at Robb Elementary School, just two days before the end of the school year.

We pray and grieve for all the victims and their families, friends and neighbors in this needless act. We also continue to call for our governments at all levels to take a stand against what is sadly becoming a pattern in our country: The act of gun violence.

As the news began to filter out about the tragedy in Uvalde on Tuesday, May 24, many remembered Dec. 14, 2012, when another lone gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, shooting and killing 26 people. Memories of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, 2018, when a gunman entered the school and shot and killed 17 people, also came back. And memories of April 20, 1999, when two gunmen entered Columbine High School in Colorado, killing 12 students and one teacher, also came back.

According to Education Week, there have already been 27 school shootings in America this year. And we’re only in May, not even halfway through the year. In fact, there have been a total of 251 mass shootings in our country this year and there have been more mass shootings in the United States than any other country in the world.

These should not be acceptable. Children deserve more than accepting this as “normal.” The citizens of the United States deserve better.

Children, teachers and staff should not have to worry about acts of violence while learning in school. They should not be fearful of going to school. Schools should be safe, secure environments where children can learn.

Less than two weeks ago, our country learned of the tragic shooting in a Buffalo supermarket where 10 people were killed. In 11 days, more than 30 people have been shot and killed in these two incidents alone.

These acts of violence can no longer be tolerated. They have to stop. It has to end.

In August of 2019, the Leadership Team of the Sisters of Providence called for an end to gun violence. Less than three years ago, we called for our federal government to take action to prevent this violence. We joined the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in advocating for legislation to ban all assault weapons and for the requirement of universal background checks for all sales of weapons, making trafficking in weapons a federal crime and for more research funding for gun violence prevention.

We still stand by all of this and plead that all continue to contribute to this movement by calling your members of Congress and state elected officials. Take a stand against senseless gun violence. Our future and our children deserve better.

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Sisters of Providence

The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, are a congregation of Roman Catholic women religious (sisters) who minister throughout the United States and Taiwan. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence in 1840. The congregation has a mission of being God's Providence in the world by committing to performing works of love, mercy and justice in service among God's people.

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