Imago Dei Statement of Sisters of Charity of Our Lady, Mother of the Church
The Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady, Mother of the Church rejoices in the truth that every human person, from the moment of conception, is created by God in His own Image (Gen 2:26-28), and for that reason is to be revered. Each person, regardless of age, health, race, color, creed, economic status, political persuasion, cognitive ability, or physical limitations of any description, is worthy of respect and honor and has the right to life without judgment or fear of harm.
The Sisters of Charity of Our Lady, Mother of the Church cherish the privilege of ministering to others with respect, compassion, understanding, care, education and housing using the means at our disposal in each situation. We grieve discrimination whether in subtle or visible forms, on any grounds, for the pain and diminishment it causes in another human being.
Every form of intolerance must be eradicated. Retalilation, on the other hand, only serves to prolifierate the violence that destroys the human person—both the victim and the perpetrator—from within and causes the destruction of the society which is meant to prosper its members in the pursuit of liberty and the fulfillment of their God-given purpose.
The eradication of intolerance, prejudice and violence will not happen as long as diversity is seen as a threat. When one seeks to destroy by any means that which is not a reflection of oneself, the only result can be injustice, causing a wound to the heart of the family of humanity that cannot heal without the love of God. Both as a Congregation of women religious and as individuals we proactively seek ways to put an end to the fear and the ignorance that engender prejudice and the violence that ensues. Jesus’ message of peace and of love for one another must be heard, and if it is to be heard, it must be preached (see Romans 10:14). No matter how beautifully this message may be preached from the pulpits of our churches, however, it will always lack the transformative power of conviction unless it is seen in action in the marketplace, lived in the hearts of each Catholic family (the domestic church) including ours, and revealed to all peoples by the holiness of the lives of every disciple of Jesus.
The privilege of evangelization is a sacred task entrusted to our Congregation to be carried out in the day to day encounters we experience among ourselves in our local convents and among all those whose lives touch ours through the ministries we undertake in the name of the Lord Jesus. At this moment in the history of our nation when so many innocent people have been wounded by those who have failed to reverence the Image of God within them, we, the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady, Mother of the Church, pause to acknowledge our own failures and humbly ask forgiveness for having turned a blind eye, often because of ignorance or complacency, to any structures of discrimination. We recommit our resources, our educational and social institutions, and our very lives to protect the victims of intolerance, injustice or misunderstanding and to stand with those who seek to transform our society into a culture of life rather than death.
Finally, may the tragic images of hatred, anger, murder, injustice and retaliation burned into our minds these dark days be replaced in every corner of our country with the Image of God written clearly on the soul of every sister and brother given to us by Divine Providence in the family of peoples.
We call upon the Holy Spirit to set our hearts on fire with the fullness of conviction that peace and loving reverence must become a reality in our own day. May Jesus Who gave His life for every person, even His enemies, so that sin and its ghastly consequences may be overcome, give us wings in the pursuit of personal holiness that we may be icons of mercy for every human being, created in the Image of God. And may Mary, Mother of the Church, our model of peace and reverence, hold us in the crossing of her arms as we seek to be a blessing to our world.
May we hear in the stillness of our hearts the words of Jesus,
“Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12),
and shout them from the housetops
by the influence of our lives.