The Dominican Sisters of Houston, along with Dominican Congregations throughout North America, give priority in our ministry to the justice areas described below. We recognize that all justice issues intersect and are rooted in racism, sexism, poverty, and oppression that give rise to violence. These root causes of injustice inform our study and search for truth. Such study helps guide us to commitments in areas where we can be most effective individually and collectively.
We acknowledge the theological truth that creation, the common home for the whole of life, is God’s; the scientific truth that human behavior is causing grave harm to the environment and changing the climate; and the moral truth that we individuals, groups, and nations have a duty to reverse this destructive trend. Pope Francis, in Laudato Si’ Care for Our Common Home and in his 2015 address to the United Nations, gave voice to the rights of Nature. Among other initiatives, we participate in the Catholic Climate Covenant programs.
Migration and Immigration
According to the United Nations, there are over 60,000,000 displaced people in the world today. Recent Popes and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops have repeatedly defended the right of people to migrate whether they are fleeing poverty, escaping conflict and war, political or religious repression, or violence. They call upon wealthier countries, like the United States, to open their doors to receive those coming to them in need. Our call is to welcome the stranger, to speak the truth of our own immigrant nation, and to advocate for just immigration policies and practices. Our community partners include Fiel Houston, Casa Juan Diego, Fe y Justicia Workers Center, Living Hope Wheelchair Association, Justice For Immigrants, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Human trafficking is modern day slavery. Victims of human trafficking are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of sexual exploitation and/or forced labor. We denounce the consumerist mentality by which human beings are turned into mere instruments of satisfaction and profit. Our call is to expose the truth about modern day slavery and advocate for substantive laws that protect victims and hold accountable all who enable human trafficking. We promote the purchase and use of fair-trade products, which ensure fair prices, living wages, safe and healthy working conditions, and community benefits for farmers, workers and their families in developing countries. The benefits of fair trade include better education, health care, and environmental sustainability. Our community partners include United Against Human Trafficking, Houston Rescue & Restore Coalition, Fair Trade Houston, and United States Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking
Peace and Security for All Life
We extol the dignity of every human life, made in God’s image, a truth revealed in Genesis. To live that truth, we take a stand, by preaching and action, against all threats to human wellbeing. Our call is to see the face of God in the whole of life, to embrace the tenets of nonviolence, and to practice loving our enemies. We focus on peace and security issues such as the abolition of the death penalty with our community partner, Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, the end to gun violence by supporting student organizers, our opposition to nuclear weapons through our corporate stance, and opposition to war through Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service.
We recognize the entrenched systemic racism and white supremacy in our country and the inequities that result in the treatment of Black people as if their lives do not matter. Systemic racism is pervasive throughout our institutions and is evident in housing, education, criminal justice, police brutality, the wealth and income gap, and more. We recognize our white privilege that benefits from and perpetuates this system. We strive to bring awareness to the white community of our country’s original sin. We strive towards allyship and to amplify Black voices and the voices of all communities of color. We support the work of our community partner, the Center for the Healing of Racism.
Guided by Catholic social justice teaching, we claim the truth that the fruits of creation and all that is produced from them are meant for all. We denounce global economic systems that value money and profit over the dignity of human beings and the life of the planet. Our call is to examine economic structures and systems to see how they hurt people living with the least resources; to change our own practices that contribute to inequities, and to advocate for policies that promote more equitable sharing of Earth’s abundance. We partner with the Socially Responsible Investment Coalition which is a religiously sponsored organization that facilitates members working to balance their economic policies and practices with their faith and social concerns. SRIC members are called to build a more sustainable world by seeking justice and peace through actions which help transform corporate policies and actions.