Justice and Peace

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Reflection on Justice

Sr. Marta Elena Vélez, delegate of Justice and Peace - Spain.- The reality of our broken world demands of us a response to justice, which becomes a continuous and intense search for causes. In every General Chapter, Provincial Chapter, Enlarged General Council (EGC), this theme resounds with demanding generosity, reaffirming our commitment to JUSTICE, PEACE AND INTEGRITY OF CREATION, to combat against all forms of violence, poverty and to defend above all the dignity of the human person, giving priority to the option in the peripheries, where "life cries out".

We enter into the heart of the Congregation, and Marie Poussepin allows us to look into the soul of a woman matured in suffering, in family and social responsibilities faced with courage, with severe intelligence and reflection that made her love and admire by her contemporaries. In 1696 she left her homeland in Dourdan and moved to the small village in Sainville, 17 km away. The journey way is open. Let us discover the project, it is a real process which is becoming a reality and at the service of God's project in the history of her time. She opened new paths by levelling education, opening schools for boys and girls, she broke structures to give work possibilities, she took the direction of the industry, silk weaving by hand was not prospering, but she had a vision of the future and continued to weave silk and woollen stockings with machines.

Many young apprentices, almost children, benefited from the intelligent charity of Marie Poussepin, who was capable of foreseeing, organising and who knew how to go beyond Christian justice, to the point of not charging for their teaching and providing them with room, laundry, food... all from a sense of Providence, she established among them a healthy emulation in paid work, a pedagogy unknown in her time, this is true justice. She does not stop with just the techniques, she goes further and acquires new commitments with the most fragile and teaches them to read and write, and even more, she does it at the personal and group levels. Honestly, she produces what it needs to live on, and it she is worthy of admiration for the training and human promotion plans for young apprentices, charity through work is already its magic formula which is equal to justice in the service of the most disadvantaged. Honest work, the heritage and hallmark of her family, has already opened up a path in her life, work as an instrument in the service of justice through her immense charity. She continues to dream, she sees the possibility of establishing more schools, a dispensary, rooms for weaving, and she clearly says: for the benefit of the parish, the instruction of the youth and the service of the sick poor, she has a broad mind to respond justly to the needs with all that charity can inspire in her.

Sisters, we are urged to work for equality so that women can develop their abilities and put them at the service of others, let us not pass by and let us dwell on the parable of the Good Samaritan who always gives of himself (Lk 10, 33-34), who is moved, draws near, sympathizes, consoles, heals, cures, loves, these are acts of suffering with the other, he becomes close, he assists him, he carries him, he cares for him, the Samaritan goes down and here it happens that a descent takes place that carries a deep meaning for a liberation, Jesus emptied himself taking the condition of a servant, he humbled himself to the point of death and death on a cross (Phil 2,6-8). Christ's compassion is inserted into the heart of the wounded human being.

We need to become agents of change, and we need to participate in movements that generate awareness, we enter with Laudato Si, in that environmental awareness. We need a change of heart to confront resistance and to look gratefully at creation, to let ourselves be touched by its broken reality, without fear, to make changes in our way of life and to be where life and justice cry out.

Let us try to repair the damage done to the most vulnerable and to the earth itself.

Let us try to re-establish broken relationships and be open to dialogue to work with others.

Let us try to value what we have received and learn from so many of our sisters and others with whom we share the mission, to transform our existence in order to preserve the gift of life.

Marie Poussepin "saw what was right in the eyes of the Lord and did it", consistent and worked 100% for the dignity of the poorest. Her relationship with God, with creation and with others was sincere, daring and generous.

Let us act justly in the face of migration, displacement, human trafficking, inequality, slavery of women, euthanasia, for impoverished and exploited peoples, for economic impacts that do not prioritise life.

Let us try to preserve, repair, welcome, any risk that could violate human rights.

The Congregation is involved in the task of justice, there are many sisters and collaborators who accompany communities in the process of development with multiple projects where vulnerability prevails, where we try to protect, welcome, promote sustainability as an essential condition for the future, where justice and peace open possibilities for peace processes, facilitate mediation and be able to reach a reconciliation with God, with nature and with others, heal the wounds of great suffering, break down borders to bring us closer together.

We have inadequacies, let us recognise them. Our union with Him allows us to "make all things new". (Rev 21,5)

We need to speak often of God and with God, to renew frequently the intention to do everything for his glory, and to rescue our brothers... Everything at the service of the most disadvantaged, seeking with them and providing what is necessary without being assistentialist, unwavering in faith, firm in hope and generous in compassion in justice, even in scarcity do not cease to do charity; in conversations at work today this is not a routine but a pressing need.

How not to end this reflection by recalling: "I desire and recommend with all my heart that you maintain zeal for the instruction of poor children, both spiritually and temporally, the spirit of poverty and the love of work" (Marie Poussepin Testament). 

Books and articles consulted: "Mujer Camino", "Marie Poussepin or The Exercise of Charity" and 
"Mujeres de compasión, comprometidas con el sufrimiento de todo lo creado" de P. Mauro-Giuseppe Lepori, OCist (Newsletter 173 UISG).