VeryTopShalom News North America  

An instrument of hope, formation, and action

concerning priority matters of social justice.

In This Issue
Laudato Si' Reflection
Season of Creation
Sustainable Development Goals
Canadian Religious Speak Out
World Habitat Day
Refugee Crisis
Children Out of School
World Teachers' Day
Abuse of Migrants
Respect Life Sunday
Day of the Girl Child
Eradicate Poverty and Hunger
Fair Trade Month
Day of Nonviolence
Foundation Day
Disarming Our Hearts
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Dear Friend         
How blessed were we to witness the the spirit revealed through the presence and practices of Pope Francis during his recent trip to the United States? What about his words or actions resonated with you in a particular way?

God of love, help us to reflect your spirit in all we do. "Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature."  "Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace." (Laudato Si' - A Prayer for Earth) 
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Integrity of Creation              

Laudato Si' Reflection  
Integral Ecology - "It is a way of loving, of moving gradually away from what I want to what God's world accept the world as a sacrament of communion, as a way of sharing with God and our neighbors on a global scale...our humble conviction that the divine and the human meet in the slightest detail in the seamless garment of God's creation." (9) Encyclical, discussion guide, prayer pull-outs.  
Integrity of Creation              

Season of Creation - Reflection/Action 
While our Season of Creation may be coming to an end on October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, our commitment to living more simply, sustainably, and responsibly with one another and all creation continues - because love cannot wait. As Pope Francis recently reminded us, "When it comes to the care of our "common home", we are living at a critical moment of history." Use this SSND resource for self-reflection and action, follow this link to send a message to Congress urging them to take action.

Integrity of Creation              

Sustainable Development Goals  
Seeking to build upon the progress made through global efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, world leaders have committed to a new set of global goals designed to achieve three extraordinary things - end extreme poverty, address inequality & injustice, and repair & protect the environment - all by 2030. The new targets, known as the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, were formally adopted by the UN on Friday. Never before have world leaders pledged common action and endeavor across such a broad and universal policy agenda. Learn more, take action. Resources for teachers.

Integrity of Creation              

Faith Communities Speak Out on Climate Change, Poverty, and Indigenous Rights  
Canada's faith communities issued a joint statement this week on Climate Change, Poverty, and Indigenous Rights - In our day, the causes and effects of global climate change are becoming more and more visible. (1)  We still see and experience widespread poverty despite the abundant production of food and availability of the basic necessities of life in Canada. (2) Today we understand these twin challenges are linked by a spiritual, moral, and ethical human crisis that can be expressed in this question: How will Canadians act as a good neighbour in both the natural and human communities since in the long run the health of one depends on the health of the other? (3)  Read/reflect on full statement.
Integrity of Creation              

World Habitat Day - October 5  
The United Nations, in designating the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day, invites us to reflect on the state of our towns and cities and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter.  Given this year's theme of Public Spaces for All, perhaps a greater focus should be put on the refugee crisis facing the world and how we as countries and communities are willing and able to provide a welcoming "space for all".   Pope Francis reminds us that others can "no longer be seen as strangers, but as part of a "we" which all of us are working to create."  Laudato Si' 151

Human Life and Dignity             waveofprayer                             

Refugee Crisis     
We are mindful of the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe as so many of our brothers and sisters flee violent conflict and persecution in Syria, Iraq and other places. As we reflect upon the Pope's historic visit to the U.S., we are spurred on by his message to be "'neighbors' of the smallest and most abandoned." Follow Pope Francis' call and do what you can to be a 'neighbor' for Syrian refugees by starting with prayer. Learn more about the refugee crisis and Canada's government and church response, then take action. For those in the U.S., contact President Obama and Congress to urge them to do more.  
Human Life and Dignity               

Conflict Drives 13 Million Children Out of School  
Surging conflict and political upheaval across the Middle East and North Africa are preventing more than 13 million children from going to school, according to a UNICEF report released September 3. The report, Education Under Fire, focuses on the impact of violence on schoolchildren and education systems in nine countries that have been directly or indirectly impacted by violence. Attacks on schools and education infrastructure - sometimes deliberate - are one key reason why many children do not attend classes. Learn more.


Human Life and Dignity               

World Teachers' Day - October 5  
Teachers are fundamental to achieving community education goals, yet they continue to face challenges brought about by staff shortages, poor training, and low status. The UNESCO Institute for Statistics estimates that to achieve the goal of universal primary education countries will need to recruit a total of 12.6 million primary teachers. How will you commemorate World Teachers' Day? Review the latest figures on teachers, watch this clip, send an e-card, offer a prayer.   

Human Life and Dignity               

New Report Highlights Abuse of Migrants by Border Patrol  
Over several months in early 2015 the Kino Border Initiative and Jesuits of the USA and Canada undertook an investigation of migrants regarding how they were treated by USA customs when apprehended at the border. A third of surveyed migrants reported having been victimized by U.S. Border Patrol.  The report also found that current Border Patrol practices have led to the systematic separation of family groups apprehended while traveling north together, with 64.6% of migrants who traveled with immediate family members reporting having been separated from these family members. Learn more, take action.   
Human Life and Dignity               

Respect Life - "Every Life is Worth Living"  
October 4 is Respect Life Sunday, a day when the focus often centers almost exclusively on opposition to abortion.  But respect for life has much broader dimensions.  This day is also the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, whose love of the poor and of all creation was expressed in word and action.  Pope Francis reminds us that "human life is grounded in three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships: with God, with our neighbor and with the earth itself" and "every act of cruelty toward any creature is contrary to human dignity".  Laudato Si' 66, 92    
Human Life and Dignity               

International Day of the Girl Child - October 11   
First observed in 2012, the International Day of the Girl Child was established for promoting the rights of girls and addressing the unique challenges they face.  It's a day when groups come together under the same goal to highlight, discuss, and take action to advance rights and opportunities for girls everywhere. Learn more, explore ways to get involved, take action, offer a prayer.   

Human Life and Dignity               

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty -
October 17   
Last week, Pope Francis spoke to Congress about poverty: "The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes."  Take time to reflect on poverty in Canada, the U.S., and around the world. Make use of this reflection resource and prayer service about the growing issue of hunger and food insecurity. Offer a prayer and take action - contact Prime Minister Harper, Congress, and/or your local newspaper.    
Human Life and Dignity               

October is Fair Trade Month    
Fair Trade guarantees that farmers are paid a living wage for their products as well as improved working conditions and standards of living. These economic benefits are critical to the elimination of child labor, whose root cause is poverty.  Help celebrate this month by adding another product to your Fair Trade shopping cart. Are you a photographer who enjoys Fair Trade products?  Join the Fair Trade PhotoFest 2015. Consider this reflection on Fair Trade, Catholic Social Teaching, and Halloween.    
Peace and Non-Violence              

International Day of Nonviolence - October 2   
This date was chosen because it is the birthday of Mohandas Gandhi, a pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence.  The day represents an occasion to disseminate the message of non-violence and the desire to create a culture of peace, tolerance, and understanding.   Quoting Gandhi, "Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind.  It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man." Prayer and reflection resources.

Peace and Non-Violence              

Foundation Day - SSND and the UN  
Each year, October 24 brings to mind Foundation Day for SSNDs (1833) and the UN (1945). Since our beginnings SSNDs have been challenged by social and economic crisis of our times. You Are Sent reminds us (C26) to "recognize our obligation and opportunities to develop a world vision and a sense of global responsibility."  UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon has said "At this critical moment, let us reaffirm our commitment to empowering the marginalized and vulnerable. On UN Day, I call on governments and individuals to work in common cause for the common good."  This year on Foundation Day, let us take time to reflect on the new UN Sustainable Development Goals through one of our traditional lenses - the eyes of women and girls.

Peace and Non-Violence               

Disarming Our Hearts -
October 24-30 
Disarmament Week was established by the UN in 1978 to promote the reduction, control and abolishment of weapons of mass destruction.  The goal is to create awareness about the dangers of the arms race and how it affects the environment as a whole.  While little progress has been made nationally or internationally in this effort, perhaps our goal can be to focus first on disarming our hearts. Click here for resources to mark this week. Consider joining our CMSM brothers in asking President Obama and Congress to end the arms trade and abolish nuclear weapons.

The SSND International Shalom Network witnesses to the Gospel with audacity and hope as we collaborate to build just relationships and respond to the urgent needs of our times. 

Shalom LogoShalom News North America is an e-publication of the Shalom North America Contacts (SNAC) of the School Sisters of Notre Dame - Arlene Flaherty, Allyn Horton, Ethel Howley, Jeanne Wingenter, Rose Mary Sander, and Tim Dewane. Your comments, suggestions, and feedback are always welcomed. Email us at

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