Shalom News North America  
An instrument of hope, formation, and action
concerning priority matters of social justice.

In This Issue

Integral Ecology

Climate Crisis




Ribbon Skirt Day

Human Trafficking

MLK Jr. Day

Vigil for Life

International Education Day

Day of Peace

SSND Peace Prayer Room

Death Penalty

Christian Unity

Gun Law Scorecard

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January 2024

Dear Friend,         


In the encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis emphasizes that the social and ecological challenges of our day are interrelated (integral ecology). As you read through this month's newsletter, and the social and ecological concerns it highlights, consider how these concerns are related to the Laudato Si' Goals and SSND becoming a Laudato Si' Congregation.

School Sisters of Notre Dame 

Shalom North America Contacts

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Integrity of Creation  

Living an Integral Ecology

Integral Ecology depends on the interrelationship and interaction between the environmental, cultural, social, and economic spheres of life. It calls us into a new paradigm where no aspect of life functions without being informed by the others. Catholic Social Teaching and Scripture point out the same reality – everything is interconnected. As School Sisters of Notre Dame, we have committed ourselves to living in integral ecology through the Laudato Si' Action Platform. How does integral ecology play out in your life? How has your heart been moved? Click here for the full reflection resource, Living an Integral Ecology, prepared by Kathleen Storms, SSND.

Integrity of Creation  

COP 28 Outcomes

Nations at COP 28 in Dubai, India, approved a roadmap for “transitioning away from fossil fuels”, a first for a United Nations climate conference, but the deal still stopped short of a long-demanded call for a “phase-out" of oil, coal, and gas. UN chief Antonio Guterres stressed that the era of fossil fuels must end with justice and equity. Other progress was also made in relation to adaptation and finance. He highlighted that much more is needed to deliver climate justice to those on the frontlines of the crisis. Learn more here

Integrity of Creation

Canada in a Changing Climate - Synthesis Report

This 2023 report is part of the National Knowledge Assessment of how and why Canada’s climate is changing. It recognizes the impacts of these changes on communities, environment, and economy, and looks at how the country is adapting. Areas addressed include Canada’s aging infrastructure, impact on health, the importance of nature-based approaches, the role of local-level adaptation, and Indigenous-led climate action. Read the report.

Integrity of Creation


Have you made a New Year’s resolution? How about trying something new for 30 days? Try eating a plant-based diet for a month and see how you feel. Take the Veganuary challenge. Too drastic? Why not commit to learn more about the connection between the food we eat and climate change.

Human Dignity

January is Poverty Awareness Month

The U.S. Bishops designate January as Poverty Awareness Month in the United States, where 38 million people live in poverty. Pope Francis called poverty “a scandal” in his November address on the World Day of the Poor. Let us not succumb to the scandal of indifference but rather, seek to learn about poverty, to live in solidarity with the poor and advocate for them. These daily reflections are a place to start.

Human Dignity

Protecting the Right to Seek Asylum

The Biden administration and a group of U.S. Senators are reportedly negotiating a deal to pass funding for Ukraine and Israel in exchange for extreme changes to U.S. immigration and asylum systems. The proposed deal reportedly includes use of expedited removals, increased detentions, and some form of asylum bans. Such policy changes would drastically reduce asylum protections for people seeking safety and likely lead to increased chaos at the U.S. - Mexico border. Let us urge the Biden administration and Congress to support foreign aid and border policies that promote human life and dignity, advance the common good, and help ensure security for all – without sacrificing vital humanitarian protections. Click here to take action.

Human Dignity

National Ribbon Skirt Day (1/4)

January 4 is the second National Ribbon Skirt Day in Canada. Indigenous women across Canada are encouraged to wear their traditional regalia to celebrate their culture, their strength and their connection as women. It grew out of community support for a young girl who was shamed by an educational assistant when she wore a ribbon skirt to school. Learn more.

Human Dignity

Human Trafficking Awareness Day (1/11)

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is recognized in the U.S. each year on January 11. To help raise awareness of this important issue and day, individuals are encouraged to post photos of themselves and others wearing blue on social media with the hashtag #WearBlueDay. Learn more here. The Alliance to End Human Trafficking (which SSND helps sponsor) has a variety of resources for reflection and taking action on their website – including a very useful Prayer Service and Toolkit.

Sisters, associates, ministry partners, and friends are all invited to participate in a special Zoom/webinar Mindful of Our Impact on People and Planet - A SSND Reflection for Human Trafficking Awareness Day on Thursday, January 11 at 7:30 pm Eastern (6:30 pm Central). Through prayer, testimonials, reflection, and dialogue we will explore how our food and consumption choices can contribute to a positive ripple effect for society or exacerbate the challenges faced by people and planet. Click here to register and participate.

Human Dignity

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day (1/15)

On Monday, January 15, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed in the United States. We honor his leadership in the struggle to dismantle racism and to promote justice, peace, and the beloved community. As we embrace his struggle today, and as we remember his inspiring words and life’s witness, we invite you to spend time with this reflection resource. This year, The King Center is sponsoring a Beloved Community Teach-In with free resources. Click here to learn more. MLK Jr. Day is the only federal holiday designated as a National Day of Service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to help improve their community. Explore opportunities to serve here

Human Dignity

Prayer Vigil for Life (1/18-19)

The National Prayer Vigil for Life is an all-night pro-life prayer vigil held on the eve of the March for Life each January. Pilgrims from across the nation pray through the night for an end to abortion and a greater respect for all human life. It is held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. The Vigil Program will be livestreamed on the Basilica’s webpage. Learn more here. Prayer resources for the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children (1/22) can be found here.

Human Dignity

International Day of Education (1/24)

The sixth International Day of Education will be celebrated on January 24 under the theme “learning for lasting peace”. The world is seeing a surge of violent conflicts paralleled by an alarming rise of discrimination, racism, xenophobia, and hate speech. The impact of this violence transcends any boundary based on geography, gender, race, religion, politics, offline and online. An active commitment to peace is more urgent today than ever; education is central to this endeavor. Learning for peace must be transformative and help empower learners with the necessary knowledge, values, attitudes, skills, and behaviors to become agents of peace in their communities. Learn more.

Peace and Nonviolence

Pope Francis' World Day of Peace Message (1/1)

“Artificial Intelligence and Peace” is the theme for the 57th World Day of Peace. Pope Francis’ message examines science and technology as a path to peace and reflects on the future of artificial intelligence (AI). He says, “The way we use this (AI) to include the least of our brothers and sisters, the vulnerable and those most in need, will be the true measure of our humanity.” Use these links to review and download the full message, infographic presentations, and a one page reflection tool.

Peace and Nonviolence

SSND Virtual Peace Prayer Room

“Where there is peace, there is God; where God, there is every good.” – Blessed M. Theresa Gerhardinger. Beginning Friday, January 5, and every Friday thereafter, sisters, associates and friends can enter a peaceful space to unite for the needs of the world. We invite all to enter the room, both for our own restoration and for the power of our united prayer. The Friday prayer room will be open 10 am – 10 pm Eastern (9am – 9pm Central). The number of participants will display in the upper left of the screen. Use this link to enter the virtual prayer space.

Peace and Nonviolence

Webinar on the Death Penalty (1/11)

What is the status of the death penalty throughout the U.S. as we enter into 2024? Our friends with the Catholic Mobilizing Network will address this question in an informative, free, one-hour webinar scheduled for Thursday, January 11 at 2 pm Eastern (1 pm Central). You'll hear about the landscape of the death penalty throughout the nation and leave with an increased awareness of what lies ahead in the new year. Click here to register. 

Peace and Nonviolence

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (1/18-25)

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is an international Christian ecumenical observance kept annually around Pentecost in the Southern Hemisphere and between January 18-25 in the Northern Hemisphere. This year’s theme, ‘You shall love the Lord your God… and your neighbor as yourself’ (Lk 10:27), reflects the connection between love of God and love of neighbor with a particular concern for challenging the boundaries of who is considered "neighbor". We live Jesus' profound desire at the Last Supper "that they all may be one" and trust God’s power working in us to make universal communion happen. Let us join with other Christians to pray and act for unity. Learn more and explore resources here

Peace and Nonviolence

2023 Gun Law Scorecard

Giffords Law Center has released the latest edition of its Annual Gun Law Scorecard, which grades and ranks each state on the strength of its gun laws. The comprehensive 50-state analysis reflects that states with stronger gun laws have lower gun death rates and save more lives. Click here to review the scorecard and see how your state is doing.

Quick Links

Laudato Si' Action Platform

Education for Justice - SSND Link/Password

SSND Action Alerts

SSND International Solidarity Reflections

Alliance to End Human Trafficking

Justice for Immigrants

Catholic Climate Covenant

Catholic Mobilizing Network

SSND Laudato Si' Reflections

SSND Podcast - Called to Action

Exploring Intersections - Racism, Migration, and Climate

Laudato Si' Movement

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

SSND Shalom International Network


   SSND at the UN


USCCB Action Center 

The SSND Shalom Network witnesses to the Gospel with audacity and hope as we collaborate to build just relationships and respond to the urgent needs of our times. 
Shalom News North America is an e-publication of the Shalom North America Contacts (SNAC) of the School Sisters of Notre Dame - Barb Paleczny SSND, Colleen Kammer, Ethel Howley SSND, Pat Stortz, and Tim Dewane. Your feedback and suggestions are always welcomed. Email us at

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