Sisters of St. Joseph from Canadian and US Federations at the UN 

justinemaryellenIn Brief – These past three weeks, we have been running on the Federation website a three part series on the trip of several Justice Directors from the Canadian and US Federation to the UN on the occasion of the 49th Commission on Population and Development.

Navigating our content:

Sisters of St. Joseph from Canadian and US Federations at the UN – our first article can be accessed by clicking here. This article describes the 49th Commission on Population and Development and shares material concerning the Tuesday Morning Event. To access a video playlist of the five presentations click here.

Migration, Population, and Agenda 2030 (Sustainable Development Goals) our second article can be read by clicking here. This article discusses the UN Side Event: Migration, Population, and Agenda 2030 sponsored by the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See, Augustinians International, Congregations of St. Joseph, Vincentians, Passionists International, and the NGO Committee on Migration. Our Sisters Sue Wilson (Canadian Federation) and Eileen McCann (Brentwood) were speakers for this Event and their presentations can be viewed by clicking here

Part 3: Meeting with the Holy See at the UN and Sharing our Stories

 Meeting with the Holy See Mission at the UN 

holyseeWednesday morning, April 13, 2016, the group met with the Permanent Observer Mission at the Holy See to further promote the issues of Human Trafficking, Earth Issues and Migration. The meeting began with some discussion with Fr. Roger Landry who told us that these issues are also important to Pope Francis and that the Holy See Mission is sponsoring numerous Events at the UN to spotlight these issues in a global climate. The Sisters of St. Joseph were highlighted as expert speakers at the Side Event sponsored by the Holy See Mission titled, "Migration, Population, and Agenda 2030."(Read More Here) Fr. Emeka Obiezu, the UN Representatives for the General Curia of the Augustinians and moderator of the panel discussion introduced both Sisters Sue Wilson and Eileen McCann as "working at the grass root level for Justice for migrants."

More about the Name (Holy See) and Status of the Holy See at the UN

The Holy See enjoys the status of Permanent Observer at the United Nations, rather than of a full Member.* In the Listing of Country Names, published annually by the United Nations, a note is added to the Holy See's entry, stating that - in United Nations documents - the term "Holy See" is to be used except in texts concerning the International Telecommunications Union and the Universal Postal Union, where the term "Vatican City State" is to be used. States, then, do not entertain diplomatic relations with Vatican City State, but with the Holy See.

*Full Member States have the right to vote at the UN

On a Personal Level

Such a trip leave a lasting impression on its participants. On Wednesday afternoon we met in the UNNGO Office to share what we had learned and experienced this far. 

Phyllis Tierney, SSJ (Rochester) shared the following:

It is difficult to identify the highlighting moment of being a participant at this NGO event so well put together by Sister Justine and other NGO members of religious congregations at the UN.  The broad overview of issues presented inphyllistierney our morning session by our panelists raised my consciousness to the difficulties of trying to put forth a human rights agenda to a world community of nations who are at very different points in their worldviews on individual rights as well as their rights as nations.  The seventeen Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 are aspirational in character and implementing them is a broad challenge of the highest order!  The very role of the NGOs in bringing experiences from the grassroots level to the UN is mind boggling.  A few of the learnings from the morning session included use of language:  “persons living in poverty,” not “poor people;”  the reminder by Emeka that we are all human together and it is important to deliver policy for those left furthest behind, especially those who are in forced migration. I was especially interested in Aine O’Connor’s presentation on the Mining Working Group.  While I have been aware of the dangers of strip mining, I had not given much thought to the connections between mining and water and sanitation.  She noted that we need to have an ecological approach where nations often give rights to companies interested only in economic development.  This experience energizes me to be more focused on the role our CSJ NGO and our need to see ourselves as important players in the global community in bringing grassroots experiences to the attention of policy makers on the international level.

patsy Patsy Lucas, CSJ (Brentwood) Shared these words:

It was a wonderful opportunity to be with many CSSJ’s from across the country, all of whom have a passion and share committee work on justice for immigrants, and seeking a deeper understanding of the migrant people. The collaboration with other congregations around these issues was so apparent.  Justine Getanjali Senapati, CSJ, our UNNGO representative, worked very hard with the Mercies, Augustinians, and Vincentians, to organize the events of the week. It was so clear to me, from the presentations and interaction around Trafficking, Poverty, Mining and Migration, that all of these issues and concerns are connected…”all is one!”

Finally, I was so proud to see and know two of the presenters at the side event at the UN, - Sue Wilson from Canada, and our very own Eileen McCann. I reflected that CSJ Brentwood has been a pioneer presence at the UN, with Gloria Garcia and Canada working together many years ago.  Marianne Sennick, from our Brentwood congregation, has been present and active at the UN for over 20 years, collaborating with our NGO, and participating in work with women’s issues.  There are others of us from our CSJ Brentwood committees, such as Sue Wilcox, Connie Kennedy, myself, and others, who attend events and special programs, from time to time, during the year.