Our affiliations

Our connection and affiliation with various organizations locally and globally brings our attention to the many needs of our society and how we as a congregation or individually can address them.

Franciscan Action Network (FAN) is described in its website as a grassroots, faith-based civic engagement organization with a growing national base of organizations and persons who are inspired by the witness and example of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi. The Franciscan Action Network is designed to bring a coordinated and effective voice to matters of Justice, Peace and Care for Creation in our world.

Our congregation was one of the original initiators of FAN and continues to be involved.

Learn more about the Franciscan Action Network. >

Take Action: The St. Francis Pledge
The Franciscan Action Network invites you to take the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor. The pledge is a commitment of faith in action by caring for God’s creation and being a voice for the people who face the harshest impacts of climate change.

I/We pledge to

  • PRAY and reflect on the duty to care for God’s Creation and protect the poor and vulnerable.
  • LEARN about and educate others on the causes and moral dimensions of climate change.
  • ASSESS how we-as individuals and in our families, parishes and other affiliations-contribute to climate change by our own energy use, consumption, waste, etc.
  • ACT to change our choices and behaviors to reduce the ways we contribute to climate change.
  • ADVOCATE for Catholic principles and priorities in climate change discussions and decisions, especially as they impact those who are poor and vulnerable.
This nationwide Christian organization addresses global hunger and poverty. As a congregation we participate in the annual Offering of Letters, a letter-writing campaign. Sisters, Franciscan associates and many others take responsibility to write to their legislators for the purpose of ending hunger for all peoples of the world. Find out how you too can do your part to end hunger.

Learn more about Bread of the World. >

ICCR is an association of faith-based institutional investors. It helps members use their investments to advocate for social concerns and it collaborates with investment managers to promote socially responsible investing.

In our effort towards wise stewardship of our resources we use socially responsible strategies that seek to avoid participation in harmful activities while actively pursuing good and using our role as stockholders for social stewardship. Our membership in ICCR assists us in this effort.

Learn more about Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. >

Socially Responsible Investing
As Franciscan women religious we are committed to exercise faithful, competent and socially responsible stewardship in the management of our financial resources. We have relied on the statement of the U.S. Bishops on socially responsible investing and also on our congregational membership in the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility to create and maintain our investment policy.

This policy is guided by two principals

  • We must exercise wise stewardship over our resources.
  • We must exercise ethical and socially responsible stewardship based on Gospel values.

These principals are applied

  • We screen companies to invest in those that exhibit a respect for life, recognize the dignity of all persons, have just labor practices both nationally and internationally, care for the environment and promote a culture of nonviolence. We avoid investing those that exhibit a strong disregard for these values.
  • We seek to influence corporations by share holder activism to improve corporate behavior consistent with this policy.
  • We do social investments which support organizations and communities helping the poor.
Franciscans International is a non-governmental organization that has consultative status at the United Nations. It is a network of Franciscans collaborating on world issues and a forum for the poor and most vulnerable to have a voice.

Learn more about Franciscans International.
Network is defined as a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby organization that educates, lobbies and organizes to influence the formation of federal legislation to promote economic and social justice. Based in Washington, D.C. this group, founded in 1972 by 47 Catholic sisters, now has more than 100,000 members. Network uses lobbying and legislative action as avenues to greater justice and peace. Their site provides educational resources as well as ways to take action on priority issues and current legislation under consideration.

Learn more about Network. >

This national Christian group strives to create a world that reflects the Peace of Christ by exploring, articulating, and witnessing to the call of Christian nonviolence. It promotes nonviolence and seeks to transform structures of society toward peace and away from war. Pax Christi works with its members and cooperates with other groups in working toward a more peaceful, just and sustainable world.

Learn more about Pax Christi USA. >

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is the official organization of the Catholic hierarchy in the U.S. It is a canonical entity governing the church, and a public policy arm. The USCCB connects us to the larger church and keeps us informed as to the current issues being dealt with by and in the church as well as decisions from this body.

Learn more about USCCB. >

Vive, Inc. is a nonprofit humanitarian refugee organization in Buffalo, N.Y. that provides shelter, food and legal assistance to world refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. or Canada. It was begun in 1984 by members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y. as a response to refugees coming from Central and South America. Over the years, our sisters have served on the board or been on staff working directly with the refugees.

Learn more about Vive, Inc. >

One way we make visible our efforts of peace and justice is by designating our grounds as a peace site. We strive to live out this commitment through the peace actions of the International Peace Sites: seek peace within yourself and others; reach out in service; protect the environment; promote intercultural understanding and celebrate diversity and be a responsible citizen of the world. We have peace sites in New York and in Pennsylvania.

Get involved

For more information about peace and justice initiatives and how to get involved, contact sisters@sosf.org

Peace and Social Justice

As Catholics and Franciscan women, we are compelled to support these social principles:

  • Respect for Human Dignity and Equality
  • Respect for Human Life
  • Right of People to shape their lives and societies in which they live
  • Preferential Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
  • Commitment to the Common Good

Statement about George Floyd Killing

The Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities condemn the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and the institutional racism throughout the United States that his murder represents. Mr. Floyd’s death is another link forged in the chain of inhumane and cruel treatment of people of color. Violence and disrespect by individuals who swear to protect and serve all citizens is especially egregious; the Minneapolis officers’ blatant disregard for Mr. Floyd’s horrific suffering causes pain to us all. We mourn for his loss and grieve with his family. Like our founder, St. Francis of Assisi, we believe that all men and women — indeed, all of creation — are our brothers and sisters. It is our mission statement to “serve all with reverence, justice and compassion.” As a community of more than 300 sisters, we acknowledge our role in institutional racism; we ask forgiveness of our sisters and brothers of color; and we pray for our nation’s healing. As we lament the death of George Floyd, we recommit ourselves today to work for an end to systemic racism and to advocate for social justice. We call on our family, friends and supporters to join us in this challenge. We ask God’s blessing on the struggle that lies ahead.

Laudato Sí After Five Years: Hearing the Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor

On Friday, May 29, 2020 at 6 AM HI time, the Catholic Climate Covenant offered a webinar on the topic listed in the title. Participants included Cardinal Peter Turkson, Dan Misleh, Kim Wasserman and Christina Zenner, each of whom have intimate connections with the theme.  I was especially interested in Bishop Peter Turkson who visited Kalaupapa this past year or so. The exchange was excellent. This link will enable you to view the webinar and experience the whole exchange. Kim Wasserman, founder of The Little Village in SE Chicago, was able to get 95,000 people of opposing ideas to eventually agree [over 10 years] on the negative impact of two coal mines on the community, which eventually shut down. The starting place was not “climate change” but basic needs: safe water to drink, safe air to breathe and food to eat. They present facts and let people make their own decisions. Cardinal Turkson, head of the Dicastery for Human Development in Rome, made many fine points. One was that Christian non-violence and peace means not only stopping the negative actions, but providing the conditions for thriving. Dan Misleh, founder of Catholic Climate Covenant-if we want young people to come back to the Church, we need to address care of creation as a faith community. Christina Zenner, a college professor, learns from her students. Students are able to name reality the way older people are not. They don’t see problems; they see reality. There is so much more in the hour-long sharing. Perhaps Sisters interested in this webinar might want to view it together and discuss ideas that inspired them. It may stimulate some creative thought in our Franciscan approach to relating in a more positive way to all of creation.

Sister Barbara Jean Wajda

The Unconditional Love of Mother Marianne

When St. Marianne Cope served the people of the Sandwich/Hawaiian Islands, she was affectionately known as Mother Marianne, a name still used today by the remaining patients and Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities.  Mother Marianne’s multiple virtues can all be summed up in one phrase — unconditional love of God and neighbor. The unconditional part is reflected in the particular virtue of inclusion, something sorely needed today as there are so many rifts in relationships at every level.

Simply put, Mother did not push people away nor did she build fences to keep people out. She welcomed, listened to, invited, supported, interacted with and served anyone in need. Her inner eye picked up the subtlety of a person’s need. From her spiritual and character treasury, Mother withdrew the gifts of graciousness so that she could meet those needs without diminishing the integrity and dignity of the individual she served. Even in dealing with troublesome or serious situations, she took care not to fracture the personal self-respect and self-esteem of the other, even if it meant subjecting herself to criticism or diminishment in the eyes of others. She did the right thing without concern about the personal cost to herself. She empowered others but preferred to remain in the background, unnoticed.

In light of all the dissent, protests, frustration and uneasiness that grips our world, I couldn’t help but wonder if unconditional love expressed as respectful inclusion could be a healing antidote to the rage and anger pouring out of so many. Mother Marianne…St. Marianne Cope, intercede for us as we try to become sensitive to the needs of others in these times of upheaval. Help us to empower those who are most vulnerable and have had their voices muffled in the face of power. Give us the insights we need to perceive all as our brothers and sisters, and include them in our circle of love.

Sister Barbara Jean Wajda