Sunday, May 4, 2014

Meeting the President of ECOSOC

Thursday was the day for us to go into New York City and meet with the Austrian ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Martin Sadjik, who is the president of ECOSOC (The Economic and Social Caouncil).  We began the day with rain, fog and a bus delayed by 1½ hours because of mechanical problems.  Everyone was in good spirits while we waited for the bus, and Griselda, who had organized everything, adjusted the time schedule with the help of friends.

Sr. Griselda introduces Austrian
Ambassador Sadjik
The sun greeted us in New York City where we met with the president of ECOSOC  who spoke with us about the post-2015 UN agenda.  He began by noting that the economic divide between the developed and developing countries is narrowing while the economic divide between the wealthy and the poor in developed countries is widening. This economic inequity is one issue which cries out to be addressed.  He then went on to say that with the 2015 deadline to reach the Millennium Development Goals fast approaching, the UN is looking to the next steps.  An open committee has gathered priorities for the following 15 years, which embrace many needs not addressed by the MDG’s.  These include such things as urban development, life-long education and energy from sustainable sources, as well as many of the issues addressed in the MDG’s.  The areas of concern looking to 2030 will be 15 or 16 and articulated in what will be called Sustainable Development Goals and include many concerns left out of the Millennium Development Goals. 
Sr. Patty presents the Statement to the

After the talk by the Austrian ambassador, Patty Johnson presented the Statement of the Congregations of St. Joseph at the UN on Engagement in Action for Systemic Change with a view to sustainable development and gave Mr. Sadjik a copy.   Following this, during lunch, many of the group took advantage of his presence
Sr. Susan, Australia, speaks about
issues in East Timor
for informal conversation with him.  

On Tour at the U N
In the evening there was a little time to
walk around and explore New York
Later in the afternoon we had the opportunity for a guided tour of the United Nations, where we learned once again about the history and the work of the UN, while visiting the chambers where much of the work is done.  After the day of rich experiences we returned tired but happy to our Brentwood “home,” ready for some rest as we prepared for our last day together.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

From Contemplation to Action

Sr. Mimose from Haiti lights the candle
Sr. Griselda shows us the weaving
we have put together over the days
Wednesday morning was a time for the JPIC group to reflect on what they had heard and how their   Gathered around symbols which reflected the process of weaving a fabric from threads of different qualities and colors, Gloria Philip and Griselda Martinez Morales reflected on the great wealth of our diversity, which is both a challenge and a blessing.  After joining in a song from the Saint-Vallier community which was a call to be one, the group was invited to enter into their hearts while moving around the symbols   This was followed by an hour of silent reflection followed by a time of sharing what each held in her heart.
in silence. Then those gathered were led in a dance of weaving, hand to hand and eye to eye.
hearts were speaking.

Gathered around the computer from left
to right are Srs Rita (Argentina), Sr Jeannette
(Algeria), Sr Marie Pierre (Haiti) and Sr.
Graziella (Italy)
Sr. Jeannette from Algeria addresses
the group
In the afternoon, the group, gathered in language groups, addressed the question of what they as a  Every group had its own individual process and focus, with great variety in ideas while some suggestions were common to several groups.  Among the needs that were articulated were:  communication both within the group and with a broader public, a co-ordinating group to organize and carry the work forward, a kind of structure that would lead to action, greater collaboration and formation for our sisters in justice issues.  One table raised a question regarding how those gathered understood the concept of “working together.”  Does it mean collaborating on a single project, strategizing, developing documents and addressing together a single issue?  Or does it mean each one working in her own way, in her own context on a single topic the group has identified?
group needed to be for the life of the world.

These questions and insights will be brought to the table on Friday, when the threads will be drawn together and plans for the work of JPIC will be drawn up.