Our Dominican Heritage and our Mission and Vision Statements require us to work for justice, an integral part of our identity as Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa. Our history of justice work began with our founder, Father Samuel Mazzuchelli. His passionate support for the human rights of native people and his strong commitment to quality education for women give evidence that he was a man of justice. This heritage of justice was carried on by our first Sisters and has continued throughout our history.
Today we are challenged to be even more fervent in our work for justice. Our world is much larger, the needs much greater, and the injustices more evident. Using our power of voice through a corporate stance will help create the positive pressure that results in a more holy and just society.
2021 Corporate Stance on Responsible Gun Ownership
Disturbed by the escalating violence in the United States, the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa approved a corporate stance in April supporting responsible gun ownership. A corporate stance is a public statement which is the result of prayer, study, reflection, and discussion by members of the Congregation. In announcing the approval by the Sisters, Peace and Justice Promoter Sister Reg McKillip, OP, said, “Now more than ever, we need voices demanding change in our gun laws. Our corporate stance gives us a vehicle to join the call for change and raise our voices as one.”
THE CORPORATE STANCE READS AS FOLLOWS:
We, the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, are disturbed by the escalating violence in our country and feel called to take action. We stand with those who support Responsible Gun Ownership in the U.S. in order to help reduce the number of deaths and injuries from guns and secure the right for personal safety.
Responsible Gun Ownership includes the following:
|a.||requiring all persons who own guns to be licensed to own guns and register all guns in their possession;|
|b.||requiring all persons who seek a gun license to successfully participate in an approved gun education program which addresses knowledge of gun use, judgment and safe storage in their homes;|
|c.||limiting gun licenses to persons who are deemed qualified to be gun owners after a national background check. The national background database would require national mandatory reporting based on the requirements of the Gun Control Act of 1968;|
|d.||prohibiting persons with a history of domestic abuse, convicted of a violent felony, or adjudicated with mental illness deemed potentially harmful to self or others, from obtaining a license;|
|e.||enforcing the provision of the Gun Control Act of 1968 which
- required a minimum of 21 for a person to obtain a hand gun;
- required all manufactured and imported guns have serial numbers;
- imposed stricter licensing and regulations on the firearm industry;
|f.||requiring all licenses to be renewed every two years only to persons who qualify to continue owning guns based on the updated national background check;|
|g.||requiring persons properly licensed to sell guns to limit their gun sales, including on-line or gun show sales, to persons who are licensed to own guns. Violation of this requirement will result in revoking the gun sales license;|
|h.||prohibiting persons who are not licensed to own guns from accepting guns as gifts;|
|i.||banning the import, manufacture, sale and ownership of assault weapons and bump stock as these are designed for mass killings in a wartime environment.|
An integral part of our identity as Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa requires us to work for justice. Amnesty International1 has accused our country of committing human rights violations by failing to protect its own citizens from gun violence. This crisis impacts every community across the country. Using the power of our voice as Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa through this corporate stance gives us the opportunity to help decrease gun violence. As the Gifford Law Center states, “Our nation’s high rate of shootings can be reduced, but because of weak gun laws riddled with loopholes, too many dangerous people still have easy access to deadly weapons.”2 By becoming educated voters and helping educate other voters, we can elect legislators who will close loopholes and create a standardized system for licensing gun owners, including conducting and enforcing background checks.
WE BELIEVE WE ARE CALLED TO:
|1.||educate ourselves, family, sponsored institutions, friends, neighbors and colleagues about the need to address gun violence through both state and federal legislation that relates to responsible gun ownership by all persons;|
|2.||collaborate with other organizations that are also addressing gun violence;|
|3.||inform ourselves about the positions of political candidates regarding legislation to address gun violence, promote responsible gun ownership, and vote accordingly. We encourage Sisters and Associates to write letters to their state and national congressional representatives in support of legislation consistent with provisions of our stance;|
|4.||recommend that the Congregation purchase stock in gun manufacturing companies for the sole purpose of being a voice of conscience as we engage in shareholder advocacy in collaboration with others.|
2020 Anti-Racism Corporate Stance
Leaders of our Church in the United States of America have proclaimed racism as a sin that blots out the image of God among specific members of the human family (Brothers and Sisters to Us). Twenty years ago, building on previous efforts, Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa formally committed themselves to become an Anti-Racist congregation. Today, standing with Communities of Color across the United States, we join with all those dedicated to eradicating institutional racism and the belief system of White supremacy.
- We will live this by:
|•||to remove language, attitudes, assumptions and behaviors within ourselves that offend the dignity of others|
|•||to create positive, informed conversations with a strong bias toward action that introduce and sustain Anti-Racist ways of living|
|•||to stand up and speak the truth in the presence of racism|
|•||to pray intentionally for justice and healing among all people|
- Advocating for legislation which:
- Affirms civil rights for all and eliminates discrimination based on race
• Promotes just and fair access to housing, education, health care, employment, financial services, and voting rights
Sisters Approve Corporate Stance
The following corporate stance on climate change proposed by the Sinsinawa Dominican Care of Creation Committee was voted on in December 2018 by 309 of the Congregation’s 400 Sisters. In agreement with the stance were 307 Sisters; two Sisters neither agreed nor disagreed and accepted the majority vote. The corporate stance passed since two-thirds of those voting agreed and a simple majority of vowed members agreed.
We, the Dominican Sisters in Committed Collaboration* (OP-SCC) in partnership with the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, believe that our present relationship with Earth and the resources provided by Earth are grievously imbalanced and harmful to the planet itself. The impact of human action stresses and overwhelms the self-sustaining and self-correcting capacities of our environment, narrows biodiversity, and threatens the capacity of Earth to support future generations.
We recognize that the reality of global climate change negatively impacts the community of life in ways that go well beyond our understanding. We recognize that the negative impact on the human community is experienced more forcefully and comprehensively by persons who are living in poverty, living close to the land, and living in fragile ecological ecosystems.
We believe that we are called to protect the vitality, diversity, and uniqueness of Earth and the community of life sustained by Earth. This call compels us to act individually, communally, and systemically on behalf of Earth, the community of life, and all future generations within this sacred community.
|1.||We commit to lending our individual and collective voice to those efforts, consistent with our Catholic faith and the Dominican search for truth, that seek to mitigate the effects of climate change.|
|2.||We commit to changes in lifestyle individually and collectively that will reduce our carbon footprint upon the planet and encourage others to do the same in our homes, at places of work, at the institutions where we have influence, and in our communities of worship.|
|3.||We commit to educating ourselves, family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues about global warming and ways to address this challenge.|
|4.||We commit to joining like-minded groups to mobilize awareness and action toward a more sustainable future by working for systemic change and legislation to protect the environment and the community of life.|
|5.||We recommit to responsible investments, supporting the development of sustainable energies and advocating for more environmentally responsible corporate policies and practice.|
The following actions will take place in the near future:
|•||Reg McKillip, OP, our peace and justice promoter, will be in touch with Didi Madden, OP, the peace and justice promoter of the OP-SCC to plan a formal announcement of the corporate stance partnership between Sinsinawa and the OP-SCC.|
|•||Our elected officials, both federal and state, will be informed of our action.|
|•||The Care of Creation Committee will work with the Sisters of OP-SCC to plan a joint educational session for the congregations.|
*The OP-SCC includes Dominican congregations of Amityville, Blauvelt, Caldwell, Hope, and Sparkill, along with Maryknoll. The Sinsinawa Dominican Care of Creation Committee decided to collaborate with OP-SCC as they were researching and developing a climate change corporate stance. The Care of Creation Committee believes that signing onto an already-strong stance with the OP-SCC will strengthen the Congregation’s commitment and witness to the kind of interdependence and collaboration that will be necessary to respond to climate change.
2015 Corporate Stance on Hydraulic Fracturing
Joining our voices to the many now raised in concern, we, the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, state our opposition to the practice of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas (“fracking”) and we support a moratorium on current and future operations.
These operations pose many dangerous risks, known and unknown:
|•||The destruction of valuable Midwest farm land in mining for silica sand which is essential to the fracking process|
|•||Depletion of groundwater (at a time of drought in many areas)|
|•||Extreme toxicity of the chemicals used in the fracturing fluid, which to date, has resulted in 1,000 documented cases of water contamination.|
|•||Difficulty of treating wastewater safely|
|•||Increased incidents of air pollution affecting humans and animals, including high level emissions of ozone and methane|
|•||Alarming lack of any federal regulatory provisions|
|•||Reckless disposal of radioactive filter waste|
|•||Dangers of transporting the products and bi-products of fracking via pipelines, train lines, barges, and highways|
|•||Extreme impacts on local communities resulting in discord among home owners and concerns over an influx of temporary laborers|
|•||In many places, fracking disproportionately impacts communities of color and all those caught in the cycle of poverty|
“The Land in which we dwell together becomes a strong bond of union between us…”
Samuel Mazzuchelli, OP
Indebted to the Fox and Sac Peoples whose lives tended lovingly the Mound earth and whose deaths made it hallowed, the Sinsinawa Congregation has valued Earth and her resources from its founding. Over many years this value has been expressed in various Chapter statements. In 2004, the Chapter stated that “. . . compelled by a growing understanding of our oneness with creation, and in solidarity with people who work the land, we commit ourselves to responsible land stewardship at the Mound.” The recognition of humanity’s interdependence with all of creation was deepened and affirmed in the commitment of the Chapter of 2011 to be “in partnership with others to seek and foster right relationships among all of God’s people and with Earth that sustains us.”
Going forward, we believe it is imperative for society to transition away from dependence on fossil fuels. We support a comprehensive reshaping of U.S. energy policies, built on conservation, efficiency and renewables. We are committed to work actively toward ecological sustainability by:
- Making an effort to learn more about mineral extractions in our locale or region and raising our voices to oppose harmful practices.
- Reducing our personal and congregation use of all fossil fuel energy resources by examining our transportation, housing and consumption practices.
- Deepening our understanding and appreciation of the interdependence of creation through study of these issues as well as by taking time to contemplate the beauty, the sights and the sounds of our bioregions.
- Investing as shareholders in alternative energy companies who actively integrate the Ecological Principles of Networks, Nested Systems, Cycles, Development and Dynamic Balance.1
- Being mindful of the products we purchase as to their source and their biodegradability
1 The Center for Ecoliteracy describes these Ecological Principles at: http://www.ecoliteracy.org/essays/ecological-principles
2013 Corporate Stance on Just Immigration Reform Stance
The Sinsinawa Dominican sisters support just and compassionate immigration reform that includes:
||an immigration process that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants;|
||family-based immigration reform which assures the unity of families;|
||the restoration of due process protections for immigrants;|
||human rights protections for undocumented workers; and|
||policies which address the root causes of migration.|
The history of the Sinsinawa Dominicans is rooted in the immigrant experience beginning with our immigrant founder Father Samuel Mazzuchelli and the founding sisters. Our corporate stance flows out of our lived story. As members of the human family, in a globalized interdependent world, we want our laws to reflect our rights to control our borders in a just and humane way and to recognize our obligation to share our resources with our sisters and brothers throughout the planet. The United States of America has always depended upon and continues to depend upon immigrants to participate in US American life in artistic, cultural, scientific, religious, economic, political and sports aspects of life. We acknowledge our need for immigrants and their need for us. All religions and beliefs hold the tenet of welcoming the stranger and extending hospitality, realizing the value of each individual person.
We are committed to work actively for just immigration reform by:
||finding ways to reach out to and welcome the immigrants in our local communities;|
||educating ourselves on the issues of immigration reform;|
||advocating for immigration reform in our ministries and with other concerned groups;|
||supporting the enforcement of employment and labor rights for immigrant workers; and|
||lifting our voices on behalf of immigrants in political process to bring about just and compassionate legislation.|
2008 Corporate Stance on Human Trafficking
The practice of human trafficking exists worldwide. It is violent, inhumane and incompatible with the values of the Gospel. We, the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, in accordance with our commitment to the building of a holy and just society, oppose the trafficking of human persons.
Trafficking of human persons is the buying, selling, and transporting of people for any purpose, including sex, prostitution, forced marriages, servitude and forced labor. It is exploitation and a violation of human rights and human dignity and is intrinsically evil. Approximately 600,000 to 800,000 victims annually are trafficked across international borders. The U.S. Government estimates that between 17,500 and 18,500 people, mostly women and children, are trafficked each year into the United States which has one of the largest demands for this criminal activity.
We stand in solidarity with all who work to eliminate this tragic evil. We pledge ourselves to these actions:
- Through prayer and study, we will educate ourselves regarding the magnitude, causes and consequences of human trafficking.
- Through our preaching and teaching, we will educate others about this terrible abuse.
- Through collaboration with others, we will work for change in society by supporting anti-trafficking legislation.
2006 Corporate Stance on Iraq
In light of the recent election and the establishment of a permanent government in Iraq, aware of the ongoing violence suffered by the Iraqi people, and in view of the recent statements by President George W. Bush about the presence of U.S. and coalition military forces in the country, the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, WI, in concert with the Iraq Coordinating Committee, have adopted the following position on the situation in Iraq.
We continue to hold President Bush and the United States Congress accountable for the ongoing killing of members of the military forces and of innocent Iraqi civilians. We urge President Bush to withdraw U.S. military forces from Iraq and yield authority to the Iraqi people, their police, and military forces at the earliest possible moment. Furthermore, we urge the president and the congress to withdraw U.S. military bases which have been established and to meet moral and financial obligations to rebuild the country.
We strongly recommend that the U.S. government collaborate with the United Nations and the international community to work with the Iraqi government on issues of national security, humanitarian aid, and reconstruction of the country. We continue to urge the United Nations and the Iraqi government to protect the rights of women and religious minorities.
We call on the North American Dominicans to continue their support of our Dominican Family and the people in Iraq as they seek to rebuild their country. More than ever, the conflict in Iraq needs our prayers. We encourage the continued prayers of the Dominican Family for all those involved in this conflict: our brothers and sisters; the people of Iraq; the U.S. occupying forces, Iraqi and international troops; the humanitarian workers; and the political leaders of the United States and Iraq.
2002 Corporate Stance against the Death Penalty
We, the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, oppose the use of the death penalty in the United States. We believe in the dignity of human life and in the merciful and forgiving God who opens the way for redemption, conversion, and growth.
1986 Corporate Stance on Nuclear Weapons
The Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation calls for a halt to nuclear weapons systems, including a call for a test ban treaty, deep cuts in the arsenals of the super powers, control of the arms race, and negotiations to halt testing, production, and deployment of nuclear weapons systems.
Because the nuclear issue has gained new urgency, the Federation of Dominican Sisters USA has called on United States congregations to affirm a corporate stance against nuclear weapons. While the Sinsinawa Dominicans' 1986 Corporate Stance wording is slightly different, we endorse and align with the 2007 Federation statement which follows.
As women religious, Dominican Sisters believe all life including Earth itself to be sacred and we stand witness to the triumph of life over death, love over hatred, and hope over fear. Humanity has lived in the shadow of nuclear weapons for too long. Land itself has been desecrated by nuclear testing and dropping of bombs. Nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction continue to pose a threat to all life.
We believe that our country cannot rightly seek to halt the spread of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction while at the same time maintaining our current stockpile of weapons and developing new weapons capabilities.
We stand with scientists and military leaders who believe that eliminating nuclear weapons will make our country and world safer. The first step in making our world safer is to develop a detailed plan to lock down, reduce, and eliminate nuclear and all weapons of mass destruction.
Dominican Sisters, therefore, call upon the United States government to lead the way for the global abolition of nuclear and all weapons of mass destruction by adopting a plan to lock down, reduce, and eliminate nuclear and all weapons of mass destruction. We call for immediate development, adoption, and implementation of a plan that will ensure that there will be no new nuclear weapons, no new materials for nuclear weapons, and no testing of nuclear weapons. We will work with all people of goodwill until there is no chance that a nuclear weapon or other weapon of mass destruction can come into the hands of anyone wishing to do harm.
1986 Corporate Stance on Apartheid in South Africa
The Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation condemns apartheid, calling for pressure on the South African government to end this evil system.
1986 Corporate Stance on U.S. Policy in Central America
The Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation calls for non-military solutions in Central America, including no direct military intervention but instead diplomatic efforts to cease hostilities.
CORPORATE STANCE PROCEDURE
A corporate stance procedure was adopted in November 2001. If you would like a copy of the procedure, contact the Peace and Justice Office at firstname.lastname@example.org