A Call to End Violence
As part of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes joins in the call to end the killing.
Our hearts and prayers go out to those parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, and uncles who lost their precious children and to all who have been touched by the massacre at Robb Elementary School.
Unfortunately, their heartbreak has become all too familiar to students, teachers, and parents across this country. The Washington Post reports that since the attack at Columbine High School in 1999, nearly 300,000 have been on campus during a school shooting. In 2020 firearm related injuries surpassed automobile accidents as the leading cause of death among children and adolescents according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Where is the outrage? How many more children are we willing to sacrifice?
We mourn with the people of Uvalde even as we continue to grieve for those lost to gun violence in Laguna Park, Buffalo, Parkland, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Orlando, San Bernardino, Charleston, Newtown, Columbine, and in countless other cities and towns across this nation. We mourn the senseless killing made easy by the proliferation of guns and the pervasive culture of violence which plague our communities.
While there is much to grieve, we know that mourning is not enough. Prayers and condolences, as important as they are, are not enough.
It is well past time that our elected officials stopped listening to the gun lobby and heeded the cries of the people of this nation. It is well past time that we enacted sensible gun violence prevention legislation.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious calls on Congress to immediately take up legislation that:
- requires universal background checks and mandatory waiting periods for all gun purchases;
- bans civilian ownership of high-capacity weapons and magazines; and
- provides funding to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct public health research on firearm violence prevention.
We pledge to stand with all who seek to put an end to the epidemic violence in our land and to follow the path of peace. Let us never doubt that the deep darkness of these days can be overcome by the radiant light of our lives and actions lived in love.
The Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes released the following Statement of Belief on Peace & Nonviolence on January 20, 2002, to coincide with the feast of our patroness, St. Agnes, and the national holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., and his commitment to nonviolence. In it, we wish to share who we are and what we believe.
- We are women committed to living the gospel values of love and forgiveness.
- We are women committed to being peacemakers.
- We are women who have lost three of our members to acts of violence in Nicaragua, yet remain committed to nonviolence.
- We are women who believe, as citizens of a democracy, that it is our responsibility to add our voice to the public discourse.
- We are women who protest our government's training of terrorists and have demonstrated and advocated for closing of the School of the Americas now known as Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC).
- We are women who believe we are called to treat all people with value and dignity.
- We are women who pray for our country, our leaders and for all the victims of terrorism and their families.
- We are women who pray for our enemies and seek deeper understanding of the struggles that generate enmity.
- We are women who believe the United States needs to assess those foreign, economic and ecological policies that continue to widen the gap between the wealthy and the poor.
- We are women who believe our nation spends too much on making war possible and far too little on creating and empowering just societies in the world.
- We are women who strive to hear the cry of the poor and respond globally, nationally and locally with our presence and our resources.
- We are women who are committed to the social justice teachings of the Catholic Church and engage in legislative advocacy to promote the common good.
- We are women who embrace diversity of race, gender, religion, culture and work to eliminate prejudice and discrimination, both locally and globally.
- We are women who join with people of goodwill to pray for peace and to become peacemakers.