|Janice Sevre-Duszynska ARCWP Speaks at Vigil outside White House for Nuclear Disarmament|
On Saturday, March 10 from 10 a.m. until noon I participated in a vigil in front of the White House for nuclear disarmament and the abolition of killer drones. Among the vigil’s sponsors were The Baltimore Nonviolence Center, Pax Christi, and The Franciscan Action Network. I had been invited to be one of six speakers. Before I began, I asked our peace community to name activists who had passed and we joined in with “Presente.” Then I asked all present to bow their heads and pray for those killed by our nukes and killer drones. Together we said: “Forgive us. We remember you.”
My talk follows the link below to a video of the witness covered by Hispanic television.
Good morning. My name is Janice Sevre-Duszynska and I’m an ordained Roman Catholic Woman Priest.
We heard the Good News Thursday evening and what a dearly prayed-for surprise it was: Two months from now, hopefully the U.S. and North Korea will sit down together to talk. We breathed a sigh of relief. Perhaps Mother Earth and her children may be spared from nuclear holocaust at least until early May. What a way to live…
One might say we’ve had a very slight taste of the dread that our sisters and brothers endure from one moment to the next so that it has become the common denominator of their lives. The little Pakistani girl can detect its humming sound. She remembers it the last time her aunt and uncle took her to the market. It’s the last time they called her name, the last time she saw them smiling at her. How they died and what remained of them is forever imprinted upon her heart and mind.
In Baltimore each Tuesday evening we protest and bring out our banners on the corner of 33rd and N. Charles Streets across from Johns Hopkins University. We know their Applied Physics Laboratory gets up to a billion dollars each year from the Feds, including for swarming drone research. It’s pretty much off limits to get any other information about the Lab. Unfortunately not even The Baltimore Sun has shown much interest in providing data on the Applied Research Lab’s weapons contracts.
At military bases across the country we keen, we mourn, we scream out our anguish over the death of someone else’s child or kin. “Any child is our child” is the motto written on our souls. At Creech Air Force Base where the buttons are pushed for the drone to strike and kill on the other side of the world, and drone pilots practice overhead, Franciscan Jerry Zawada stood outside with his walker at 6 a.m. with others holding this banner (When drones fly, Children die). We were reminding the workers driving into the base of Gospel Nonviolence. Like others, Jerry went to jail to rid the world of killer drones.
I’ll never forget Kathy Kelly and Georgia Walker walking with loaves of bread to break with the military officers at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. Like many of the workers at Oak Ridge Nuclear Weapons Complex in Tennessee, Georgia Walker’s aunts came down with cancer that took their lives. They worked for Social Security in a building near a nuclear weapons refurbishing plant outside of Kansas City where two nearby rivers were also contaminated from run off and puddles.
“Make the connections between sexism and racism, nationalism militarism and capitalism,” said Dominican Sister Marge Tuite, one of my mentors in the early 80s. It took years for her words to permeate with understanding.
Mujerista theologian Ada Maria Isasi Diaz speaking at Marquette University in the early 80s taught us: “The personal is the political is the social is the religious.”
My hometown Milwaukee friend, Jesuit-trained Bob Graf has made the connections, too, as he and others challenge our church. We say ”NO!” to Jesuit universities that host ROTC and teach young people reflexive killing, killing without conscience. Some say these Host ROTC Jesuit universities receive a half million dollars a year from the Feds.
We activists have another saint to hear our prayers: Bishop Oscar Romero understood conscience as well as nonviolence. We will pray for him to intercede with these Jesuit universities that host ROTC and SHUT THEM DOWN!
This past week an event took place in Rome, outside the Vatican, for International Women’s Day. It was the fifth gathering of the Voices for Faith, with women from many places. Former Irish President Mary McAleese was the lead speaker. She called the church “an empire of misogyny.”
tThis booklet, Women, Earth, Creator Spirit, written by theologian and Fordham University Professor, Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, is part of the Madeleva Lecture in Spirituality from St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana. I took it with me each time I witnessed to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops: twice a year at their meetings from 2000-2006. I would be dressed in my white alb, red cincture and purple stole I wore to image a woman priest celebrating Eucharist along with others at the table.
My soul became attached to her words that describe the kinship between women and the feminine with the Earth and the Creator Spirit, Wisdom Sophia.
This is one of my favorite passages because it gives us a healthy notion of relationship to live out between two people or more and between groups of people, including countries. Just two short paragraphs from p. 27.
“A relation structured according to the dominant-subordinate motif inevitably shortchanges the full potential for flourishing of everyone caught in its pyramid. By contrast, women’s experience bears out again and again that the most life-giving exchange occurs when bonds are reciprocal or mutual. Mutuality is a form of relation marked by equivalence between persons. It involves a concomitant valuing of each other, a give and take according to each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and a common regard marked by trust, affection, and respect for differences—all this in contrast to competition, domination, or assertions of superiority. It is a relationship patterned like friendship, an experience often used to characterize the freedom-connection dialectic at the heart of all mature caring.
“Feminist thinking prizes dialectical connectedness that flourishes in a circle of mutuality. This has obvious implications for the idea of God. If relation is at the heart of the universe, if mutuality is moral excellence, then the deity of God does not consists in being over against and superior to, but expresses itself in freely drawing near and being connected in mutual relation. This is precisely how the Creator Spirit is present and active in the world.”
I plan to be back at the June 9th witness to continue the resistance. You are most welcome to join us.