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Bending the Arc

"the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." - MLK 

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Note: The ideas and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author's and should not be ascribed to the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes or its members. On August 5, 2021, we archived old blog posts. You can find the archive by clicking here.

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Archive for the "Homelessness/Inequity (UNANIMA International)" Category

UNANIMA International News from the UN and Around the World

May 18, 2023
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

The May 2023 Newsletter UNANIMA International (UI) is now available and can be accessed through the website: You can also sign up to receive these newsletters in your inbox every two months in one of four different languages. 

The staff LOVE to hear from its members. Please feel free to drop Jean, Eliza or Lara a message to complement the amazing work they are doing. Emails can be sent to

REMINDER! Please consider nominating a woman for the annual Woman of Courage Award. Each year UNANIMA International presents this award, which honors women from around the world who have exhibited exceptional courage and leadership to make a difference in their communities, especially for the betterment of the lives of women and children. Nomination guidelines are here.

Little Free Library Celebrates 11 years

May 18, 2023
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

The nonprofit, Free Little Library, celebrated its 11th year on May 17th. Most likely you have seen a library in your neighborhood. If not, you can view this World Map to locate one near you.

You can also join the network of more than 100,000 libraries and start your own! Watch this 30-second Introduction to Little Free Library. 

In April 2022, CSA put up their own Free Little Library just before Earth Day. Several Sisters and Staff gathered to bless the library and add their first donation of books. The books have been continuing to be replenished ever since by donations made to the JPIC Office, books shared from the Motherhouse Library, or just random passersby wishing to take a book and/or share a book. Some are making donations to celebrate their personal birthdays. Books for children and youth are very popular with St. Mary's Springs Academy right across the street.

We are dedicated to furthering diversity, equity, and inclusion with the books we share. By providing greater, more equitable book access in our neighborhood, we work to strengthen our community and influence literacy outcomes.

The Free Little Library is available year long. Next time you’re in the area, please bring a book to donate, or feel free take a book. You will notice the beautiful way the library is painted by Sister Doris Klein, CSA.


Executive Actions Taken to Strengthen the Care Economy

April 19, 2023
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

Tuesday, April 18, 2023, President Biden announced the most comprehensive set of executive actions any President has ever taken to improve care for hardworking families while supporting care workers and family caregivers.

The Executive Order includes more than 50 directives to nearly every cabinet-level agency to utilize existing funding to:

  • Make childcare and home care more affordable.
  • Make it easier for caregivers to access federal programs.
  • Improve access to care for veterans.
  • Ensure care jobs are good jobs.
  • Lift up Black, Indigenous, and other women of color who are most affected by the care crisis.

Read the full statement here or watch the video below.

Thanks to those of you who have fought for this kind of transformative action to a better care future for all of us. Continue to urge Congress to pass the budgets and laws that continue to support the dignity of others.

Call your Senators—find yours here.

Call your House Rep—find yours here.

CSA joins Network’s Thriving Communities Campaign

April 19, 2023
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

Pictured at right are Sisters Jean, Sue, Julie Ann, Clare and Eddie at a tour stop in Madison in 2016. 

From now through the end of May, NETWORK’s “Thriving Communities Campaign” is advocating to ensure that Congress rejects cuts to Medicaid, housing, and food programs—or the implementation of new bureaucratic hurdles to these programs—in any budget negotiations, and we need all hands on deck to make sure that all lawmakers, Republicans and Democrats alike, hear this message.

CSA joins these efforts. We call for federal policies that dismantle systemic racism, eliminate wealth and income gap, improve the wellbeing of our communities, and allow all people to thrive - especially those most often left out: women, people of color, people on the economic margins, and those at the intersections of these identities.

We encourage others to consider possible actions they can take to participate from this Thriving Communities Toolkit. There are call-in scripts, sample Letters to the Editor, social media graphics and sample posts, resources for a prayer vigil, and so much more!  

We know that we cannot balance a budget on the backs of poor people. We also know that if corporations and the ultra-wealthy paid their fair share of taxes, and if the Pentagon cut wasteful spending, we would have more than enough money to provide health care, housing, and food for all those in need. Join NETWORK today in calling on Congress for a moral budget that promotes the dignity and flourishing of all of us…no exceptions! Visit for more information.

NETWORK advocates for Catholic Social Justice. One of their most notable efforts is Nuns on the Bus. CSA Sisters and Associates have been involved with Nuns on the Bus for many years, speaking up for justice and advocating for adequate federal policies. Pictured here are CSA justice promoters at a tour stop in Madison, WI in 2016.

Sister Eileen Mahony, CSA, also recalls a bus stop near her home in Tucson and her meeting with Sr. Simone Campbell, former Network Executive Director who has been instrumental in the Nuns on the Bus movement. Sister Eileen shares: “From approx 2010 to 2015 many Church groups in Tucson had study- action groups to reflect on justice issues largely related to economics. When Sr Simone and the Network team visited Tucson, representatives of these many groups gathered to learn from the Network team and to learn how to reinforce each others’ good efforts.  The team’s broad US perspective helped strengthen, broaden  and deepen our efforts. 

My particular Tucson parish about that time expanded to include immigration and sanctuary issues as well as preparing and serving food to the homeless nightly from October through April.”


UNANIMA International’s Woman of Courage Award

April 19, 2023
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

CSA is a member congregation of UNANIMA International (UI), an NGO that advocates on behalf of women and children experiencing extreme poverty and homelessness / displacement, and bring the voices of refugees, migrants, the homeless, and victims of human trafficking to the United Nations, with the aim to educate and influence policymakers at the global level. 

Since 2008, UI has presented an annual “Woman of Courage Award,” which honors women from around the world who have exhibited exceptional courage and leadership to make a difference in their communities.

We are very excited to share that UI’s 2018 Woman of Courage, María Herrera Magdaleno, has been selected by Times Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2023! You can read the Times article here.

We would also like to share that UI’s 2023 Woman of Courage Award goes to Sr. Anna Balchan, a theologian, therapist, and social activist who stands up for the rights of survivors of human trafficking. Anna is a Sister in the Congregation of the Sisters of Mary Immaculate, working in Katowice, Poland. Sr. Anna has over 19 years’ experience working with victims of human trafficking— working on the streets, and helping the homeless, addicts, and sex workers. She is one of the founders of the Association and Care Centre, where she helps victims of human trafficking and domestic violence.


Criteria for Selection
Awardees are selected annually according to the following criteria: 

  • That the awardee be a woman
  • That she has demonstrated courage in the face of adversity (e.g., from government, popular opinion, leaders) 
  • That her actions reflect and support the values and principles promoted by the UN 
  • That her display of courage relates to one of the major areas of concern for UNANIMA International (UI) 
  • That she be nominated by one or more of the UI member congregations 
  • That awardees collectively represent diverse geographical regions 
  • That she can be from a UI member congregation, but must be nominated by a member of a different congregation 


Please email for a nomination form.

You are invited to subscribe to UI’s newsletter and follow them on social media for updates on the Woman of Courage and more. Visit:

UNANIMA International Needs Your Grassroots Stories

April 06, 2023
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

The Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes (CSA) is one of 22 congregations worldwide who belong to UNANIMA International (UI). Tracy Abler, CSA JPIC Coordinator, represents the congregation on the UI Board of Directors. At the February 2023 Board Meeting, Tracy was elected to the Executive Committee and serves as Secretary. Tracy provides UI updates and writes of her experience:

“It is an absolute honor to represent CSA at UI. I continue to be in awe and wonder of the work that the very small staff (of three) do from their tiny office in the Church Center building overlooking the United Nations headquarters in New York City. With the amazing leadership of Executive Director, Jean Quinn, DW, UNANIMA International has a high public profile at the United Nations. Jean and her Executive Assistant, Lara Hicks, are very active with other NGO working groups and committees. Please take a moment to read Jean’s latest (and very impressive) newsletter here.

Image of Tracy with St. Agnes statueA highlight of my recent trip to New York, for a UI board meeting, was touring the United Nations. While walking through the wing dedicated to the Permanent Disarmament Collection, I was shocked to discover a statue of  St. Agnes that stands in the center of the collection. The damaged statue was found in the ruins of a Roman Catholic Cathedral in Nagasaki, Japan in 1945. The Cathedral was completely destroyed when the atomic bomb exploded half a kilometer away. While I did not get a picture of the back of the statue, the charring and mottling were an astonishing result of the intense heat and radiation.  

UI advocates on behalf of women and children experiencing extreme poverty and homelessness/displacement, and brings the voices of refugees, migrants, the homeless, and victims of human trafficking to the United Nations, with the aim to educate and influence policymakers at the global level. UI gets the attention of UN leaders because of their knowledge and expertise that comes from research and grassroots stories of their members. With a current focus on homelessness/displacement, I am urging anyone who has a story, or knows someone with a story of homelessness, displacement, migration, or trafficking to please consider sending it to me at 

You can get a good idea of the types of stories we are looking for by viewing any one of the many UI publications on homelessness and trafficking. These and more can be found on the UNANIMA International website.  While there, please also consider signing up for their e-newsletters, which are published once every two months.“

TAKE ACTION: Submit a story idea on the topics of homelessness, displacement, migration, or trafficking to 


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