Our mission as The Sisters of St. Joseph calls us to work for unity and reconciliation. Accordingly, “We work with others to alleviate the conditions which cause ignorance, poverty, suffering and oppression.” ― (CSJSSM Constitution Article 9:12.)
Faith, trust, compassion, respect and the gospel imperative to act justly underlie the ministry of The CSJ SSM Faith and Justice Office. We support the work of, and collaborate with, the Federation Office of Systemic justice www.csjfederation.ca/justice which represents three Canadian Congregations of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Our shared priority issues are: Poverty, Ecological Justice and Human Trafficking. Additional areas of collaborative work for the Faith and Justice Office are Development and Peace www.devp.org; Kairos: www.kairoscanada.org; and the Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation Office of the Canadian Religious Conference; www.crc-canada.org/eng. In Kairos and the CRC JPIC the work is particularly focused on Justice and Right Relations with Aboriginal Peoples.
This internationally recognized criminal activity is an assault to the dignity of any trafficked person whether they are subjected to this abuse for sexual purposes or for labor. Pope John Paul II said: ‘Human trafficking constitutes a shocking offense against human dignity and a grave violation of fundamental human rights.’ Letter to Archbishop Tauran for the International Conference on Human Trafficking: “Twenty-First Century Slavery –the Human Rights Dimension to Trafficking in Human Beings.”
All Creation is forever sacred from its beginning over thirteen billion years ago. Dignity rightfully belongs to all creation. Indigenous peoples have long believed this. Ecological justice requires that we recognize and respect that dignity within every human person, every blade of grass and every part of the cosmos including the earth itself and every living being. It requires that we work to ensure just, fair and equitable treatment for all.
Poverty not only creates human suffering, it also denies human dignity. In Catholic Social teaching the person is primary. “Persons are not for the service and development of the economy, a nation’s or the world’s: the socio-economic order is to serve persons.” (Do Justice! The Social Teaching of the Canadian Catholic Bishops edited by E.F. Sheridan SJ 1987 p 39)
Poverty, a basic lack of resources including food, shelter, water and finances affects individuals, communities, countries and the well-being of the entire globe. In Canada the gap between those who have wealth and those who live in poverty is rapidly increasing. The 2013 United Nations Report on the Millennium Development Goals states the following on the goal to eliminate hunger by 2015:
The hunger reduction target is within reach. The proportion of undernourished people in developing regions decreased from 23.2 per cent in 1990–1992 to 14.9 per cent in 2010–2012. Given reinvigorated efforts, the target of halving the percentage of people suffering from hunger by 2015 appears to be within reach. Still, one in eight people in the world today remain chronically undernourished. (Ban Ki-Moon, General Secretary, United Nations, stated in the forward of the Millennium Development Goals Progress Report 2013.)