American nuns tell Bush they oppose his policies

 The US Federation of Sisters of St Joseph, meeting in Milwaukee, sent the following letter to President Bush last week, when they learnt that he was also visiting the city. In it they express their opposition to his policies on 'the war, human rights violations, immigration enforcement and environment.' The Federation represents 23 member congregations in the US, including nearly 7,000 Sisters of St Joseph and 2,500 associates. The Federation also enjoys NGO status in the United Nations. Dear President Bush, Nearly 1,100 US Sisters of Saint Joseph and Associates are meeting at the Midwest Airlines Conference Center in Milwaukee. We are joined by more than sixty sisters from Latin America, Canada, Europe, India, Japan, Africa, Egypt, and Australia. The mission of the sisters is one of unity, reconciliation, and witnessing to God's active inclusive love. Fundamental to our mission is the belief that all life is interconnected in the global neighbourhood, and that decisions we make now affect not only the present, but also future generations. We are compelled to speak publicly to you as we find ourselves in Milwaukee at the same time and place. As we meet with our sisters from across the country and across the world, we are keenly aware of the common human and spiritual aspirations that unite us all. We know ourselves as connected and interdependent across all borders. As we consider the neighbourhoods in which we live and minister, we are alert to the effects of policies and actions that cause enormous suffering for the people with whom we minister and people all over the world. Such policies have far reaching, costly, and unacceptable implications for the peoples of the world and for the planet we call home. We strongly oppose the policies of your administration that continue the war in Iraq, that violate human rights along our borders, that intensify poverty, that pollute our earth, and that deny our interdependence with all peoples. Committed to relationships grounded in compassion and love, we call upon you and your administration to change your policies and practices. We urge you to work for peaceful solutions to world problems, promote economics that serve humanity, strive for relationships characterised by mutuality rather than power, cooperation rather than competition, and respect rather than fear. Only in this way will we achieve the peace, justice, and freedom which will enable all the peoples of the earth to live in dignity and security. Therefore, Mr. President, this afternoon as you arrive in Milwaukee, we will pause for a time of silent prayer, join together in a dance of universal peace, and pray for continual conversion of your heart. Eleven hundred strong, we will pray that you will come to value the global neighbourhood and promote a viable future for all its creatures. As voting citizens of the United States of America, we expect you to represent and support the deep convictions expressed in this letter. Sincerely, The Sisters of Saint Joseph and Associates gathered in Milwaukee Pat Kazak, CSJ and Janet Fleischhacker, SSJ, Co-Chairs of the Leadership Council Kathleen McCluskey, CSJ, Executive Director

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