“Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.”
— Pope Francis, Angelus, September 1, 2013
The Congregation of St. Joseph, in solidarity with the members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), of which we are a part, and the global community of faith, stand in the shadow of the horrors initiated on October 7, 2023, in Israel and Gaza. As women of the Gospel who move always toward profound love of God and neighbor without distinction, we grieve with those who grieve and seek release of those held captive. We recognize the root causes of violence as well as the urgent call for the use of all possible resources to stabilize the Middle East, secure refuge for those in humanitarian crisis, and negotiate peace that will last.
United with the interfaith community, we take seriously our responsibility to protect the safety of all people of faith throughout the world. We stand united with leaders of other faiths, intolerant of any form of hate or violence towards places of worship, and ready to witness to the transformation of consciousness necessary for sustainable peace.
Together with LCWR, we are compelled to work toward a world where reverence for all living beings finds expression in a life of nonviolence, and where all may be one with God and one another. We stand in solidarity with the victims of brutality and with leaders as we heed the Gospel call to follow Jesus’ way of nonviolence, reconciliation, and care for the most vulnerable across lines of division.
We commit ourselves and the members of our religious community to choose the peaceful path of Jesus and exercise our rights and duties as citizens to urge our leaders to act as responsible members of the world community. We join our prayer with those of people of all faiths who recognize that war is not the solution, and we commit ourselves to the belief that peace is possible.
We call upon world leaders and the United Nations to activate the processes necessary for an immediate ceasefire and the negotiation of peace. We are each responsible to be aware, to be informed by factual information, to look at root causes, and to reject rhetoric that fuels violence.
We will continue to speak on behalf of the truth of faith, the strength of prayer, and the power of nonviolence, and the only pathway that will provide a future for our children – peace.