Peace Tree 2020
Each year as darkness shortens daylight hours, the Sisters of St. Agnes light a Peace Tree at their motherhouse to display during the Advent and Christmas seasons. This year, these times, have been especially dark, but the darkness does not overcome the light.
As you gaze at the image, we invite you to pray for peace.
Come, Lord Jesus,
come, touch us with love, life-giving as light,
to quiet our anger a little,
and gentle our desperation.
To soften our fears some,
and soothe the knots of our cynicism,
to wipe away the tears from our eyes
to ease the pains in our bodies and souls.
To reconcile us to ourselves
and then to the people around us,
and then nation to nation,
That none shall learn war anymore,
but turn to feed the hungry,
house the homeless,
and care compassionately
for the least of our sisters and brothers.
Reshape us in your wholeness
to be persons of peace and light, loving Jesus.
We make this prayer in your name, Jesus, our life, our light, our way.
(Adapted from Guerillas of Grace by Ted Loeder)
Reading: Ephesians 5:8
“Once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true."
Blessing of the Tree:
O ever-living and ever-loving God, we praise you for the light of creation:
the sun, the moon, and the stars of night.
We praise you for the light of Israel:
the Law, the prophets, and the wisdom of the Scriptures.
We praise you for Jesus Christ, your Son:
who is Emmanuel, God-with-us, Prince of Peace, Light of the World
who fills us with the wonder of your love.
God who dispels the darkness, let your blessing come upon us as we contemplate this tree.
May the light and cheer it gives be a sign of the joy that fills our hearts. May all who delight in this tree come to the knowledge and joy of salvation. We ask his through Christ our Lord.
CSA's Commitment to Peace and Non-Violence
During the civil war in Nicaragua in the 1990s, three members of the Congregation of St. Agnes were killed. These tragedies, together with the 9-11 terrorist attacks on USA soil, heightened the Sisters’ consciousness of violence both at home and abroad. Instead of retaliation, they expressed their belief in nonviolence and committed to become peacemakers (like Jesus and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.).
The congregation released its Stance on Peace and Non-violence on January 20, 2002 to coincide with the feast of their patroness, St. Agnes, and the national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his commitment to nonviolence. They committed to living the gospel values of love and forgiveness, to be peacemakers, and to promote justice.
In addition to living out these values in their own community and personal relationships, sisters and associates have participated in peaceful demonstrations, vigils, and some in non-violent civil disobedience.
More information on peace and nonviolence can be found at the following websites.
Pax Christi USA — Catholic Peace and Justice Movement
Fellowship of Reconciliation — An interfaith organization
Friends Committee on National Legislation — A Quaker social justice group
Pace e Bene — an independent, non-denominational organization
Washington Peace Center — organizing group for economic and social justice
Peace Pulpit: Bishop Thomas Gumbleton — blogs regularly for the National Catholic Reporter