GENEVA — “Live in the moment” was the message Sr. Denise Boyle, FMDM, executive director of Franciscans International, sent out as her Advent reflection in FI’s December e-letter.
She references a protester wearing a placard that read: “Yesterday, Chernobyl; Today Fukishima and Tomorrow …”
Sr. Denise writes: “We are not a very patient people.” This message resonated with Sr. Denise because she said that most people live online and are always plugged in. We don’t live in the moment, but rather, in the next moment.
“At FI, in our collective work for justice, we are constantly called to be ‘Advent people,’ i.e. people of faith and hope, who are prepared to wait patiently. Sometimes it is hard to believe that our small contribution at the United Nations will effect positive change in the lives of the most vulnerable. But then, who would have believed that a tiny baby born in Bethlehem, God-with-us, would bring new hope to our world?”
Other FI Initiatives
In addition to Sr. Denise’s message, recent issues of the Franciscan Voice, the organization’s e-newsletter, have described its many projects and programs.
• The organization is working to help dispel myths that the poor and marginalized are lazy, irresponsible, indifferent, dishonest, undeserving and even criminal. The FI team is working with Magdalena Sepulveda, the United Nations special rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, to develop the “Draft Guiding Principles on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty” that will be presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council this year. This partnership was formed after Sr. Denise read an address Sepulveda gave at the U.N. on Oct. 25, 2011.
• From Nov. 1 to 7, 2011, staff participated in the 3rd Continental JPIC Congress of the Americas — “Environmental Justice and the Challenge of the Amazons” — in Quito, Ecuador. Participants discussed how economic gain often supersedes respect for the planet, especially in the Amazon region. Fr. Mike Lasky, OFM Conv., was the presenter for FI.
• FI also encourages its supporters to become a fan on Facebook and to consider being a contributor. Just $5 per month can support the organization’s global ministry.
• “Human Rights in Papua” was issued following the violent dispersal by Indonesian security forces of the Third Papuan People’s Congress in October 2011 in Jayapura. FI’s Nov. 2 report confronts the Indonesian government’s human rights abuse in West Papua.
• FI and the Association of the Franciscan Family of India organized three workshops in October on the UN Universal Periodic Review in India. More than 90 participants, including Franciscans and other faith-based organizations, attended the meetings in Bangalore, Raipur and Guwahati, which focused on key justice issues surrounding food and water security, contemporary forms of slavery, Dalits, tribal groups and environmental protection. The participants drafted a report to address these issues for FI to submit to the United Nations.
• A meeting was facilitated between Franciscans working at the grassroots level and UNICEF on the United Nations’ recommendations related to the issue of ritual infanticide, a practice still carried out in Northern Benin.
— Wendy Healy, author of Life is Too Short: Stories of Transformation and Renewal after 9/11, is a frequent contributor to HNP Today.