A Letter to Our Friends

October 15, 2016

Dear Friends,

The members of the Society are gathering in different ways and places to celebrate the founding feasts of St. Edward and St. Teresa in 1846. We wanted to greet you at this time because you share so much with us.

The Society’s life began with Cornelia Connelly knowing what it was like to feel alien in the increasingly crowded ‘frontier’ of industrial Derby, England. Many immigrants had come there seeking what was dangerous work in the cotton, silk and lace mills and also the new railway engineering works.

The tiny community started a Poor School. At any one time, about sixty girls – who laboured in the factories for nine hours a day – turned up there and two hundred on Sundays. Soon a night school was begun. The spiritual works of mercy were demanding in the middle of the surrounding slums.

170 years later, in the context of the urgent, escalating nature of the global migration crisis, our recent general chapter has called us to make the needs of migrant people* our shared commitment and concern.

(* We use ‘migrant people’ to include migrants, internally displaced persons, refugees and asylum seekers.)

The Society, in its tradition of responding to the wants of the age, has decided to:

– allocate funds for specific projects to help migrants

– encourage those involved in all areas of SHCJ ministry to consider what they can do

– share the reflections of members and others on the migrant crisis e.g. from the viewpoint of theology, spirituality, education, advocacy, relief work…

– pray together for a just, peaceful and compassionate resolution to the situation

Pope Francis has emphasized the need for dialogue and discernment at the frontier. As we know, religious congregations across the world are engaging in such reflection and action according to their charism, inspired and challenged by many other people of goodwill.

With all good wishes and prayer for all that you are involved in,

Veronica Openibo, Pauline Darby, Cecilia Nya and Marie Ursino

Society Leadership Team