Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sisters of St. Joseph: Send Us Good Summer

Our latest edition of Soundings Update is online at:
By the ocean at Mercy Center, Madison, CT
circa 2002
This edition ends our ninth year of Soundings Update. We will begin our 10th year in late August. As we sing in a popular liturgical hymn, "Send us good summer, O Lord!"

This morning someone posted a question asking if we have a place where people can make retreats. Our retreat center has just published its latest online newsletter called Tidings. Just scroll down a bit on St. Joseph Retreat Center website and you can download a copy.

There has been some exciting pre-event press coverage of our Sisters of St. Joseph Federation National Event. You can view a list of this press coverage at:

In particular I'd encourage you to watch the TV segment by Mike Rush at KSDK in St. Louis which tells the story of the hotel's collaboration with the Sisters of St. Joseph Federation and other organizations. The title of the segment is "Millennium Hotel partnering with Covering House to train its employees to spot the signs of human trafficking." We started working on this over two years ago. During this process we became aware of the work of The Covering House. As a result, they too, have become an integral part of this collaboration.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Trinity Sunday and the Rublev Exhibit of Russian Icons

The original Rublev Trinity Icon
In visiting, I learned that many artists have made reproductions over the centuries. Several of these are exhibited elsewhere in the museum.

This week our church celebrates Trinity Sunday. At the heart of our understanding of Trinity is the belief that God is with us, for us, in us. A famous icon by the 14th century Russian icon painter, Andrei Rublev, images our Trinitarian God as a communion of persons – three Persons a dialogue of equals. Last year I posted a reflection on this Rublev's Trinity for Trinity Sunday.

Rublev's Trinity icon has been a favorite of mine since the first time I saw a copy of it years ago. So when I heard that the original was on display at the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, MA, I couldn't wait to go. The exhibit was supposed to stay until July but there was a lot of controversy and it was suddenly packed up and shipped back to Russia. That story was well documented in the newspapers at the time. Fortunately, a friend and I were able to visit the museum while the Rublev exhibit was still there. Here are a few pictures I took during our visit.
This gives  some perspective on how it was displayed at the exhibit

There were many other icons in this traveling exhibit. The detail in many is astionding

Unfortunately the exhibit did not stay until July 25.
This poster shows the home musuem of these icons.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mind the Gap! Campaign

One of my CSSJ Communication colleagues asked if I would post something about the "Mind the Gap Campaign." When I first heard of it, all I could picture were the trains in London.

Have you ever navigated the London subway system? Every time the train door opens, a pleanant voice cautions, "Mind the gap" -- meaning the gap between the train and the subway platform. I found it a bit amusing because, unlike Boston where you could lose your backpack in the gap between train and platform, in London there is virtually no gap.

Howver there is nothing amusing about the injustice addressed by the "Mind the Gap! Campaign" which states,
Many of us may know that there is a large and growing wealth gap between a tiny fringe of super-rich Americans and most of the rest of us. Our entire nation suffers as the gap between those with enormous wealth and most of the rest of the nation continues to widen.
The "Mind the Gap! Campaign invites us all to learn more about the causes and consequences of this huge wealth gap -- and give our input!
Do you want to learn more? Join the Mind the Gap! campaign to educate our entire nation about our huge and widening wealth gap, where it came from, and its impact on all of us.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tell Trader Joe's to stop wasting food!

Can you take a minute to sign this petition?

Every year in America we throw away 96 billion pounds of food. That's 263 million pounds a day. 11 million pounds an hour. 3,000 pounds a second.

This is something that we can change in our lifetime. We imagine a world of empty dumpsters, good food in full bellies, and regular people leading sustainable lives. Send a message to the grocery stores and tell them that you care about the environment, food waste, and hungry people--and they should too!

I really enjoy shopping at Trader Joe's. But this petition is about putting an end to the amount of food they allegedly waste every day.  

You can also learn more about this issue at
This link is about the film, DIVE! The website describes it as follows:

Inspired by a curiosity about our country’s careless habit of sending food straight to landfills, the multi award-winning documentary DIVE! follows filmmaker Jeremy Seifert and friends as they dumpster dive in the back alleys and gated garbage receptacles of Los Angeles’ supermarkets. In the process, they salvage thousands of dollars worth of good, edible food – resulting in an inspiring documentary that is equal parts entertainment, guerilla journalism and call to action.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sisters of St. Joseph Soundings Update 06-08-11

Read about The Literacy Connection's annual celebration of achievement and gratitude as well as news about our CSJ Associates in New Mexico. Eight of our New Mexico Associates visited Boston last week.
The link is available at:
or by opening:

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sisters of St. Joseph collaborate w hotel to address human trafficking

This blog post is much longer than usual. But it's actually a press release that the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph is sending out today. We want you to be aware of it. You are encouraged to follow the links in the press release to learn more.
Human Trafficking is among the many serious issues in need of healing both in St. Louis and throughout the world. While many call it a hidden crime, it exists not only in the St. Louis area, but in virtually every city and town in our country.

After months of collaborative conversation and planning, the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph (CSSJ) is excited that the Millennium Hotel St. Louis is taking the steps necessary to sign and implement the six-point ECPAT-USA Code of Conduct. By signing this code the Millennium Hotel St. Louis will take a stand against the sexual exploitation of children by helping ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking in Children for Sexual Purposes) fight child sex tourism. The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism, developed by ECPAT, sets a standard of responsible business practices that effectively crack down on child sexual exploitation.
Discussions with the hotel about the complex issue of human trafficking began when the Sisters of Saint Joseph first contracted with the Millennium for their national event. In speaking of the process that will culminate in the signing of the ECPAT Code of Conduct, Sister Kathleen McCluskey, CSJ, Executive Director of the Federation says, "As Jesus taught us, it’s all about building relationships of healing in our world. We wanted to host our national Event at a hotel that supports this mission and spirituality. From the moment they became aware of the horror of human slavery and the role that hotels can play in combating it, the management at the Millennium has been eager to learn and take action.

The Sisters of St. Joseph are pleased to have been partners in a collaboration with the Millennium, ECPAT, and Nix Conference and Meeting Management that has brought us to this important moment. In signing the ECPAT Code, developing policies and procedures for the prevention of trafficking, and educating every person on the staff, the Millennium St. Louis demonstrates a true concern for people, surely for their guests, but also for the world we all live in. They are taking concrete steps to combat a degrading and horrible abuse that threatens the whole human community."

Of this collaboration, Nix says, "Nix Conference & Meeting Management is thankful for the opportunity to work with the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Millennium Hotel St. Louis on this venture. We support the commitment of Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph and ECPAT to combat human trafficking. We stand firm in our resolve to protect all children and will unite with others in the industry to bring awareness to the human trafficking issue."

Dominic Smart, General Manager of the Millennium Hotel St. Louis comments, "It is important for all of us to join together to fight human trafficking.~ Everyone~in our hotel will take part in the ECPAT training and be vigilant in helping to keep human trafficking and exploitation of children out of our hotel and our community. Having the Sisters of St. Joseph gather in our hotel brought this issue more clearly to our attention and everyone in the hotel has strong beliefs about it. As a father of three, like any parent, I am sensitive to this cause and feel that every child has a right to a healthy and happy childhood."

The signing of the ECPAT Code of Conduct will take place on July 12, 2011 at the Millennium Hotel St. Louis during the 2011 Event of the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph where close to 900 Sisters and Associates from across the nation and the world will be gathered. Roman Catholic women religious have been key leaders in the national and international movement to stop the demand for human trafficking.


The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph is a dynamic union of all the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the United States who claim a common origin in the foundation at LePuy, France in 1650. Today there are approximately 5,900 vowed members as well as 2,500 Associates in the United States. World-wide there are over 13,000 Sisters of Saint Joseph in over 50 countries.

Background Information
An estimated 850,000 people are trafficked annually worldwide, according to the U.S. State Department, 20,000 of them into the United States. Human trafficking forces men, women, and children into pornography, prostitution and other sexual exploitation, as well as labor exploitation.

In 1998, the realization that trafficking was a growing problem around the world—and that it was being largely unaddressed—led to the formation of a, broad-based coalition of women's organizations, faith-based groups, children's groups, labor groups, and health groups. In 2003 the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops/Migration and Refugee Services began educating segments of the public about the horrors of human trafficking. The effort began with members of women's religious communities who have the potential to educate and influence others on behalf of victims of trafficking.

The Millennium Hotel chain is one of the several hotels working to stop the demand of human trafficking. In signing the ECPAT Code the hotel demonstrates its commitment to create an ethical policy against commercial sexual exploitation of children, to train hotel staff to help identify human trafficking, and to partner with government and social service agencies.