November 07, 2002

Justice Fair and Advocacy Session

One aspect of the direction of the Seventeenth General Chapter (2001) of the Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland and Labrador calls us to provide educational opportunities for ourselves and others around issues of poverty and injustice. In response to this call, two sessions were scheduled during this Fall - a Justice Fair during October and an educational session on Advocacy in November.

Approximately 100 sisters and associates came together for the day-long Justice Fair on October 19. A plenary session, "Healing the Pain of the Earth", was scheduled for the morning, facilitated by Sister Mary Tee. Mary led us through a reflection on the harmony and balance found in nature and then engaged each participant in recalling personal experiences of the earth. We were then led to consider ways that modern industry is upsetting/destroying this sacred balance through animal farming, water pollution, genetic modification, patenting of seeds and the destruction of the ozone layer. Before the close of the session we were encouraged and invited to endorse the Earth Charter, a declaration of fundmanetal principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society in the 21st century. In the afternoon we explored other aspects of injustice through four workshops - Healing the Pain Beyond Our Borders, Healing the Pain of the Homeless, Healing the Pain of Women, Healing the Pain of the Mentally Ill. All of these sessions were very informative, stimulating and challenging.

On November 23, over forty sisters and associates gathered for an education session around advocacy. The purpose of this session was to explore the meaning of advocacy, various approaches and types of involvement, and other issues. We will continue to explore this issue over the coming months.

Most of the planning and organization of these two sessions was carried out by the Social Justice Committee of the Congregation and we avail of this opportunity to express our appreciation.

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