Justice workshop held in Asia
by Sister Bernadette Shilpi Rebeiro, CSC, and Sister Florence Deacon, OSF
Sisters, candidates and discerners from the Area of Asia participated in a Justice Committee workshop in early October at Holy Cross Convent, Dhaka, Bangladesh. The workshop was facilitated by Sister Bernadette Shilpi Rebeiro, CSC, Congregation Justice Committee representative in Bangladesh, and Sister Florence Deacon, OSF, Congregation justice coordinator.
The three-day event was filled with prayer, presentations, videos, group work, song and laughter. Presenters at the workshop included Sister Mary Turgi, CSC, director, Holy Cross International Justice Office; Dana Taylor, assistant justice coordinator; Sister Shilpi Rozario, CSC; Sister Florence Deacon, OSF; and Dr. Benedict Alo D’Rozario, member of the South Asian International Executive Board of Caritas Asia.
Pre-recorded video presentations from Sister Mary and Dana opened the workshop offering an overview of the Congregation’s historic commitment to justice, and explanations of the Carbon Footprint Reduction Fund and integral ecology, a method of analysis introduced by Pope Francis. These video presentations were followed by a beautiful reflection by Sister Shilpi on climate change and its effects on all of God’s creation. Dr. D’Rozario’s presentation included an overview of human trafficking from a global perspective and the root causes of human trafficking.
After reflecting on what the bishops have called “Our Vocation to Pursue Justice,” presented by Sister Florence, the attendees spent the next two days analyzing the phenomena of global migration. They watched video clips of experiences of refugees and migrants from around the globe, then organized group studies on the root causes of global migration.
The sisters felt they needed more time for group discussion and sharing, so they appreciated working together to analyze and chart the phenomena through the lens of integral ecology, ending with group theological reflections on migration. After each topic was discussed there were creative group presentations. These sessions were very helpful and educational for the whole group.
The issue of migration was particularly timely for the workshop participants, as over a half million Rohingya refugees had fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh in the previous six weeks, and thousands more were arriving daily. As the sisters reflected on the causes and results of global migration, they realized that both charity and justice were needed to address this complex human issue.
All the participants were very happy and thankful for the workshop and expressed their commitment to address the issues through prayer, education and action.