Why Franciscans Participate in Societal Activities

by Sister Julie Ann on January 6, 2011

Because of our God-created social nature, Franciscans along with all human persons have a right to participate in societal activities and institutions that protect the dignity of life and promote the well-being of all.

Franciscan Sister Xaveria Wittmann and Franciscan Sister Anne Therese

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Xaveria Wittmann tutors international students preparing to be teachers while attending Silver Lake College of the Holy Family, Manitowoc, WI.

How do Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity live Catholic Social Teaching? Here are some examples of our contributions to sustain and promote the common good.

  • Sister Xavieria Wittmann, OSF

Social Justice has many avenues of expression. When one cannot go to the less fortunate countries, one can bring the less fortunate countries closer to home. Sister Anna Therese comes from the African country of Uganda. She came to our college with a minimal education and plans to go back to her native country as a teacher of young children. Tutoring on a one-on-one basis has made it possible for Sister to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. It has been a privilege to know I have been a part of making her dreams a reality one day soon.

  • Sister Lorita Gafney, OSF

Woods of Franciscan Sisters of Christian CharityConservation Education, Incorporated of Manitowoc County, was started more than 55 years ago, and is committed to Education on environmental Issues.  We host the Environmental Education workshop every summer, manage Collins Marsh nature Center, participate in local efforts to control invasive species, and foster networking of environmentally concerned citizens.  The annual workshop allows educators and the public to become informed of ecological issues regarding the forest, soil, and water, in order for them to become better citizens and to teach the youth the importance of management of our natural resources. As a Franciscan Institution (Silver Lake College of the Holy Family, Manitowoc, WI), and placing great value on the Integrity of Creation, it is important that we foster practices that promote Stewardship of our resources.

Any further examples or comments?

6 thoughts on “Why Franciscans Participate in Societal Activities”

  1. Sr. Sarah says:

    The teens that participate in the LifeTeen program in Manitowoc have spent the semester learning about, praying for, and promoting through action in Social Justice in the world. I must admit it is eye opening to all of us, not just the teens.

  2. “We have to stop pretending we are individuals who can go it alone.”

    That is why we have committees. As groups we can accomplish much more than an individual can. The transformation of a section of Silver Lake Park from a dangerous pile of broken glass into a dafe, enjoyable place for relaxation could not have been accomplished by one individual.

    “Families are the first and essential cell of human society.” In a way, committees and other groups working together are families and have to exercise the same virtues that families have, for example: forgiveness, sacrifice, faithfulness and giving.

    Lake Associations help enforce noise ordinances, laws that help control spread of invasive species, fish limits, etc. so that not only a few individuals can enjoy natural resources but future generations will be able to profit from these regulations. Both the Park and the Lake Associations are involved in educating not only by enforcing laws but also by instruction as is evidenced by the signage in the park and at the boat landing.

    All these are things that one person would not be able to do, but a group can accomplish them.

  3. Sister Marlene says:

    “We have to stop pretending we are individuals who can go it alone.”

    That is why we have committees. As groups we can accomplish much more than an individual can. The transformation of a section of Silver Lake Park from a dangerous pile of broken glass into a dafe, enjoyable place for relaxation could not have been accomplished by one individual.

    “Families are the first and essential cell of human society.” In a way, committees and other groups working together are families and have to exercise the same virtues that families have, for example: forgiveness, sacrifice, faithfulness and giving.

    Lake Associations help enforce noise ordinances, laws that help control spread of invasive species, fish limits, etc. so that not only a few individuals can enjoy natural resources but future generations will be able to profit from these regulations. Both the Park and the Lake Associations are involved in educating not only by enforcing laws but also by instruction as is evidenced by the signage in the park and at the boat landing.

    All these are things that one person would not be able to do, but a group can accomplish them.

  4. Anne Marie Lom says:

    Sister Pam and I just had our January meeting to explore this community topic. We talked about the family and affirming parents who teach their children the faith and involve them in volunteering in their parish and civic community. We find that sometimes parents don't look at their role or their family life as “holy” and a “spiritual” work. We can easily say to them, “How wonderful that you involve your children in the parish picnic,” or “Good for you that you volunteer as a family at the food pantry.” These affirmations let others know that we notice and that we see their activities as integral to church and society.

  5. Sister Mary Ann Tupy says:

    On January 10, 2011 our Greenwood community gathered to discuss the January section of our Social Justice Book titled Catholic Social Justice: Participataion in Socieetal Activities. After reading the material we made use of the provided discussion questions. One of the challenges facing families today is the over abundance of activites. We find that parents and grandparents feel obligataed to attend all the programs and games that the children are invovled in. As wonderful as these activities may be they take away from family time together. We Sisters need to make sure we don't over schedule school events that add to the burdens of familylife plus we need to encourage families to make time for their core group.
    St. Francis parish and school are unique in Greenwood because we are integrated and exclude no one. One of the funeral directors in Greenwood commented that we are the only integrated church in the area. It is a joy to attend Mass on Sunday and see Blacks, Whites, Asians and Hispanics all gathered together to worship the Lord. And this year to have that same mix in our school.
    Sister Mary Ann Tupy

  6. Sister Eloise says:

    Families are experiencing many challenges today. While we believe that participation in local, state, and national activities is important, we also believe that families need to be encouraged to spend quality time together to strengthen family life.
    Politically speaking, it is difficult to decipher what politicians are truly pro-life since some may be against abortion but do not support policies for the common good of all people, such as health care reform.
    We all have much to pray about.

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