On June 30th, the members of Cabrini of Westchester’s Cultural Awareness Committee organized a Multi-Cultural Celebration to honor the many different ethnic backgrounds of the staff members employed by the nursing home. The festivities began with a parade of flags and traditional wardrobe and ended with a display and tasting of dishes from various countries. Many thanks to the members of the Cultural Awareness Committee and all participants for making the day such a fun, festive and educational experience as we learned about cultural diversity!
On Earth Day, U.S. Bishops
call upon Catholics
to do their part
~ by Brian Rowe, National Catholic Reporter
In the days leading up to Earth Day, several U.S. bishops took to church pulpits and Zoom rooms to call Catholics to do their part in ushering in the societal changes needed to counter climate change and other ecological calamities – and not just on days like Earth Day.
Three bishops over four days spoke out on the need for more than technology and policy to stunt rising global temperatures and slow destruction of ecosystems and species, saying there must be changes in lifestyles and even how living a good life is defined.
Next month, the Vatican is set to launch its Laudato Si’ Action Platform, a global grassroots effort to galvanize wider portions of the Catholic Church to work toward sustainability in the mold outlined in his 2015 encyclical.
Vatican officials have called the worldwide rebuilding effort from the coronavirus pandemic as the opportunity to reorient the globe toward a more just and sustainable future. To read the full account, please click here
Human Selfishness is Creating Millions
of Climate Change Refugees
~ by Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Whether people admit it or not, climate change and environmental destruction are forcing millions from their homes, and Catholics have a responsibility to assist them Pope Francis wrote in the preface to a new document.
“When people are driven out because their local environment has become uninhabitable, it might look like a process of nature, something inevitable,” the Pope wrote. “Yet the deteriorating climate is very often the result of poor choices and destructive activity, of selfishness and neglect, that set humankind at odds with creation, our common home.”
The papal preface appears in “Pastoral Orientations on Climate Displaced People.” A document released March 30 by the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
In addition to offering parishes, dioceses and national bishops’ conferences suggestions for offering pastoral care to people forced to move because of rising sea levels, desertification and increasingly strong storms, the document encourages Catholics to study and track climate change and to change their lifestyles to help mitigate some of its effects.
“The climate crisis has been unfolding since the Industrial Revolution,” Pope Francis wrote. “For a long time, it developed so slowly that it remained imperceptible except to a very few clairvoyants.”
“Even now it is uneven in its impact: climate change happens everywhere, but the greatest pain is felt by those who have contributed least to it,” the Pope wrote. “The huge and increasing numbers [of people] displaced by climate crises are fast becoming a great emergency.”
Responding to the needs of people displaced within their home countries or forced to migrate because of climate related catastrophes is “at the heart of being a credible and witnessing church, a caring and inclusive ecclesial community,” the document said.
Many people either do not know about the human cost of climate change or refuse to believe it, the text said. “Blindness about these issues is widespread and its causes are mainly: a) plain ignorance; b) indifference and selfishness vis-à-vis phenomena that endanger the common good; c) the purposeful denial of reality to protect vested interests; d) misunderstanding.”
“God give the means to see, but human beings must be willing to journey from blindness to awareness,” the document said, which is why many of the suggestions in the text involve education at all levels of the church, ecumenical and inter-religious cooperation in sensitizing people to the issues and in responding to the needs of people displaced by climate crises and listening to and advocating for the real needs of displace people and those threatened with displacement.
To read the complete article please click here
CARA Study Highlights Increasing Diversity in Religious Communities~ by Soli Salgado, Global Sisters Report
As women and men religious in the U.S. become more diverse both culturally and ethnically compared to previous generations, leadership and membership of their religious communities face the challenge of learning how to welcome new members and adjust religious life as they know it to these new cultural changes, according to a recent study.
Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate  conducted a national survey of new religious members, “Cultural Diversity in Vocations to Religious Life in the United States,” which sampled candidates/postulants, novices, those in temporary vows or commitment, and those who professed their final vows or commitment within the last 15 years.
Of the 231 respondents who are not members of their institute’s dominant culture, many elaborated on their observations or the specific challenges they’ve encountered, including “a presumption that the dominant culture is the best”; frequent reminders (though sometimes done endearingly) that one is the minority in the group; the glazing-over of the diversities within the “generic label of ‘Asian’” or Latino; the misunderstanding that comes with one’s background being particularly rigid with rules, which can “come off as being cold or distant or impersonal”; and the expectation that the individual learn about the dominant culture while others are not expected to learn anything about the minority culture.
The study found a high correlation between ethnicity and the likelihood of having grown up outside the United States. A total of 64 languages were reported when respondents were asked their first language. Nearly 80% said English, 6% said Spanish, and 4% said Vietnamese. Three in ten respondents speak two languages fluently, while nearly 1 in 10 speak three or more languages fluently.
Though half said they live in a community with members of a variety of cultural/ethnic backgrounds, the 7% of respondents who are the sole member of their ethnic background within their community, the survey found, are especially likely to report feeling “somewhat” or “very” challenged in the following ways:
Members with whom they live not understanding their culture (49%)
Not feeling understood by other members of their institute (32%)
Feeling isolated or lonely (28%)
Feeling they are asked too much to accommodate their culture to fit in with the dominant cohort (23%)
Their food preferences not being welcome in their community (23%)
Others reported more openness, with 9 in 10 respondents saying their communities are either “somewhat” or “very open” in welcoming those of different backgrounds in initial formation as well as in recruiting candidates from different cultures and accommodating families visiting from their respective cultures. To learn more click here
At the end of a decade of steady entrances to religious communities, the NRVC has released its 2020 Study of Recent Vocations to Religious Life. This study comes 11 years after the first study completed in 2009. This latest research provides information on those men and women who entered religious life from 2013 – 2018. The NRVC states that “they are mindful no study can point to just one reason why a person responds to God’s call to enter a community.” There is a mystery in the call and an unpredictability in the response. The grace of perseverance is the essence of religious life with both our oldest and newest members serving as influential role models of courage, compassion and competence. In this week’s edition and in the upcoming weeks we will share some of the findings of the study.
Religious life in the U.S. todayOver 700 diverse religious institutes exist in the United States. They vary in spirituality, charism, and mission as well as size, composition, and presence of new members. The diversity of sisters, brothers, and priests is one of the hallmarks of religious life today.
On average, roughly 200 people a year take final vows, and around 400 to 500 begin the process of formation.
Many newer members see community life as what is distinctive and most attractive about religious life. What incoming members seek in community life is praying together, celebrating holidays and feasts together, living with other members and sharing meals together.
Additionally, living at or near a ministry site and living simply, in solidarity with the poor and marginalized is ranked “somewhat” to “very” important. The younger a respondent is, the more likely he or she is to prefer to live in a larger community, especially one with at least eight members. This is consistent with findings from the 2009 study of newer members.
Newer members prefer living with members of different cultures (four in five) and newer members themselves reflect the racial and ethnic changes in the United States toward more people who claim an identity outside of European white culture. Catholics, along with the rest of the country, are increasingly Hispanic.
While age presents challenges for communities when inviting young people to join, it has not deterred those who entered from doing so. Thirteen percent of perpetually professed are younger than 60, and the identical proportion are aged 90 or older.
In ranking their attitudes about various aspects of communal life, new members give their religious institutes the highest ratings on their care and support of the elderly members. Most newer members prefer to live in communities with members of different ages (93 percent).
It was the 80 year-old [sisters], the wisdom figures of the community
[who] were always the first in the chapel and the last at the dining room table.
They were always there, you could always count [on their presence].
Prayer and Spirituality
Personal private prayer characterizes the regular prayer life of the majority of sisters, brothers and priests in almost all responding institutes. Daily Eucharist and Liturgy of the Hours are almost as common, reported by nearly nine in ten responding institutes.
As I was growing in my prayer life, I realized that I really wanted my whole life
to be that intimate communion with God. And the more that desire grew,
the more I saw the way it’s lived out in religious life.
The majority (95 percent) of perpetually professed religious have a college degree. The majority of newer members come with considerable education as well as ministry and work experience. Seventy-one percent of new members had at least a bachelor’s degree before they entered. Eight in ten were employed, usually in a full-time position, and slightly more than half were in engaged in ministry, a quarter on a full-time basis and about three fifths on a volunteer basisCharacteristics of Younger Members
Characteristics of Younger Members
The study revealed many facts about newer members:
One-third of newer entrants (34 percent) have a relative who is a priest, deacon or religious sister or brother.
One in ten report that they entered another religious institute before the congregation to which they currently belong.
Seven in ten considered religious life by the time they were 21, with half doing so by the time they were 17. Female respondents are more likely than male respondents to have thought about a religious vocation at a young age, that is, before the age of 14 (30 percent compared to 16 percent.). Men were a little more likely to first consider religious life when they were college-age. (30 percent of men compared to 23 percent of women.)
Most newer members (74 percent) participated in a “Come and See” experience(s) before they entered their religious institute.
Almost half of those in initial formation (48 percent) were born in 1990 or later.
The average age of entrance is 28 for men and 29 for women. This is a little younger than the average age of entrance in 2009, which was 30 for men and 32 for women.
The majority of newer members experienced support in their consideration of religious life: 80 percent found support from priests and religious. Around 7 in 10 reported that friends and parishioners were a significant source of support. The large majority of parents and siblings (95 percent) expressed support ranging from “somewhat” to “very much.”
The majority (60 percent) of religious institutes have at least one person in initial formation. About 20 percent currently have more than five people in religious formation.
Attraction to Religious Life
Newer members are likely to say they were attracted to religious life by a desire for prayer and spiritual growth and by a desire for a deeper relationship with God. To only a slightly lesser degree, most new members also say they were attracted to religious life by a sense of call to consecrated life, a desire to be of service, and a desire to be part of a community.
They were attracted to their particular religious institute by its prayer life and mission, followed by community life and the example of its members. Although the ministries of the institute are also important to most new members, they are less important that those previously-listed factors.
Newer members in religious life first became acquainted with their religious institutes in different ways. As in NRVC’s 2009 Study on Recent Vocations, the most common way to meet a religious community was in an institution such as a school, where the members served. Besides institutional settings, other relatively common ways of becoming acquainted with the Institute were through their own Internet search of websites, through a relative or friend in the Institute, through working with a member of the Institute, or through print materials.
“I started thinking about religious life because
living on my own, it just felt like something was
missing. I was attracted to living in community
with other people with the same charism, with the
same spirit, with the same hopes for the world with
our differences. I wanted to be in community.
That was really important to me.”
In his 2019 World Day of Migrants and Refugees message, the Holy Father called on Catholics to welcome, protect, promote and integrate not only migrants and refugees but “all those living in the existential peripheries.”
The United States annually celebrates National Migration Week each year in January.
A Mass at Holy Name Cathedral on January 5, feast of the Epiphany, highlighted the ethnic diversity of the Archdiocese of Chicago through multilingual readings and music. The Mass included Spanish, Polish and Filipino choirs from different parishes. Immigrants representing more than 30 countries participated in their traditional attire. Intercessions were offered in six languages, with Sr. Cathy Fedewa, CSFN from Cabrini Retreat Center, offering the English prayer.
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago stated, “These days also highlight how the world’s refugees in our day experience the same struggles of the Holy Family, who had to flee violence and travel to a foreign land
Fully Alive is a weekly radio broadcast of the Archdiocese of Chicago, focusing on issues of human dignity and solidarity. On December 4, 2019, Sr. Cathy Fedewa, CSFN, of the Cabrini Retreat Center, joined staff from the Archdiocesan Office of Human Dignity and Solidarity in sharing two major events being sponsored by that office in December and in January, bringing awareness of the conflicts but also the beauty of the diversity of cultures shared in the city in its immigrant population.
Information and understanding of the events were shared with the audience regarding the Fourth Annual Posada to be held on December 13 on the streets of downtown Chicago.
The procession follows the same dynamics as a traditional posada, but instead of stopping at homes in their neighborhood, Joseph, Mary and their companions stop at various immigration-related locations in the city, such as the ICE Office and Immigration Court, and recall the difficulties immigrants encounter and the need for immigration reform. The procession ends at St. Peter’s Church in the heart of the city where all are finally welcomed and given hospitality….and a traditional celebration takes place.
The broadcast then continued with comments on National Migration Week being celebrated in the archdiocese, as it is around the country, on January 5, with a special liturgy in Holy Name Cathedral. A procession of nations in native dress (representing many of the diverse cultures in Chicago) begins the celebration. Diversity is also clear in the readings, intercessions and music, presented in varied languages. ~ submitted by Sr. Cathy Fedewa, CSFN, Cabrini Retreat Center
The Youth on a Mission group offers this reflection on the graces of their time in Chicago while being at Cabrini Retreat Center in Des Plaines, IL:
In a week where ICE raids loomed and harmful rhetoric about immigrants seemed heightened, one of the most meaningful moments of our trip was the opportunity to welcome a refugee family being re-settled. Through Exodus World Service, we arrived at the refugee family’s apartment before them and spent the afternoon getting it all set up: beds made, shower curtain hung, furniture assembled, pantry stocked. When the six refugees arrived, we cheered and greeted them with warmth and excitement. For our youth to be able to say things like “we are so glad you’re here!” and “our country is better with you as our neighbors!” meant a great deal to us, and helped us live into the country we long for.
Exodus staff ended our day with dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant where we celebrated the birthday of one of our youth participants who is from Ethiopia.
The Youth on a Mission group includes youth and chaperones from many different countries – which reflects the make-up of our faith community in Virginia. Each night our group gathered to pray and reflect on the experience of the day.
We spent the week exploring big conversations of our time, learning what it means to educate ourselves and respond to the needs of the world as the Gospel propels us to. We engaged in interfaith dialogue, visited Viator and Bethany Houses of Hospitality (which provide compassionate accompaniment to young men and women seeking refugee status in the United States.)
At Bethany House we participated in an active bystander training which prepares individuals to not only witness a situation, but to speak up or step in to shift away from a negative or threatening focus.
We wish to extend our thanks to all the wonderful people we met and especially to the Missionary Sisters and staff who said “welcome!” in so many ways to us during our stay.
Back in January on the feast of the Epiphany, those of us at the Cabrini Retreat Center shared with you the Archdiocesan celebration of National Migration Week at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. As part of that celebration the Office for Immigration chose to extend that celebration with an international “pot-luck” dinner for the numerous participants representing the diverse cultures of immigrants here in the archdiocese.
On Sunday, June 16, those participants gathered at Casa Italia to share fellowship and their national cuisine with one another. When registering, participants were asked to list the name of the dish they would bring and what nationality it represented. Sr. Cathy Fedewa, CSFN, from Cabrini Retreat Center, in Des Plaines, IL, listed her country as U.S.A. and so brought a typical picnic dish, pasta salad.
It was a great celebration, and the foods from Guatemala, Philippines, India, Mexico, etc. were a big hit with all the participants and an opportunity to share their diverse cultures from a different perspective. It was also a meaningful way to begin the week celebrating World Refugee Day on June 20.
The following letter to the campus community was written by Dr. Donald B. Taylor, President of Cabrini University, in response to the current White House decision regarding the DACA program and the resulting uncertainty regarding the future of these young people.
Dear Cabrini University community,
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) allows individuals who entered the U.S. prior to their 16th birthday to register to remain in the country and to be eligible for work permits. As you may have heard, President Donald Trump has decided to end the DACA program, and has placed the future of DACA recipients in the hands of Congress.
Cabrini University believes that DACA should be renewed to protect the nearly 800,000 DACA recipients who would be at risk of deportation without DACA protection. Having been raised and educated here, most DACA recipients consider America their home, and uprooting these young people would cause them irreparable harm.
Be assured, Cabrini University will do whatever we can to protect all of our students and we will continue to update the campus as we learn more in the weeks and months ahead.
For students who have specific concerns about their DACA status, consider visiting Cabrini’s Center on Immigration webpage at cabrini.edu/immigration for more information, or reach out to the Center’s Director, Abel Rodriguez, at email@example.com.
In October (date/time to be determined), The Center on Immigration and the Wolfington Center will host a Know Your Rights workshop for the community. The workshop is designed to provide information to assert one’s rights in encounters with law enforcement. This event is free and open to the public.
There are also a number of resources on campus to provide support, including the Wolfington Center, Campus Ministry, Counseling and Psychological Services, and, of course, Cabrini’s faculty.
It is important to remember that our University is named for the Patron Saint of Immigrants, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, who along with her Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus were tireless champions of immigrants from all walks of life. Today, the Missionary Sisters continue that work and have a corporate stance calling for “Just Policies for Immigrants, Refugees, and Asylum Seekers.” Please join me in praying that our country does the right thing and will soon give permanent legal status to all DACA recipients.
Donald B. Taylor, PhD