Sisters speak out against racism

Posted by Spalding Hurst

May 31, 2020

Saddened by the taking of innocent black lives and mindful of the many protests and vigils taking place across the country and in the city of Louisville, Kentucky, Sisters of Charity of Nazareth delivered a statement affirming the despair being felt because voices have not been heard.

We, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, join in prayer with our neighbors for the family of Breonna Taylor and all those feeling deep sadness and despair over her senseless death. We stand with all who are enraged by the continued taking of innocent black lives. We affirm the despair that the black community feels because voices have not been heard and we believe there can be no true peace until there is justice for all.

As Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, we stand against racism in all of its manifestations. We stand against violence, and we believe that only non-violent protest will bring about the justice and peace we all desire.

Today we gather around this statue of Mother Catherine Spalding, our foundress, because she ministered on the streets of downtown Louisville in the 1800s. We love the city of Louisville and all of its people just as Mother Catherine did when she ministered during a pandemic and in times of social unrest. We recall her sadness at the injustices of her time. We stand here with deep concern about the injustices of our time.

As a predominantly white community within the United States, we acknowledge our part in the sin of racism. We recommit ourselves to self-examination, to prayer, and to advocacy for the elimination of racism in all its forms. We call for fundamental reform in the way policing is done in this country and for fundamental legal reforms regarding the violence and death perpetrated on unarmed black people.

We pray, and we invite you to pray with us, for God’s grace and guidance for the people and leaders of our cities and country so that as one people we will move towards understanding, healing, and a just society where all are treated with the dignity they deserve.


  1. Suzanne Reasbeck

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU for your inspiring words, but more for your courage in taking
    the moment to speak from the head and the heart. The message is truly a PENTECOST
    REFLECTION. Like the Apostles, who came out of the upper room “speaking languages that could be heard and understood” by the people of the day, YOU are speaking that same common language …. love, equality, forgiveness, compassion, peace and that we really ARE more alike than different! I am grateful and proud to be in relationship with many of you.

  2. Rita Puthenkalam

    We are helpless and at a loss at all the injustices happening both in the US and India…
    We ask God to give us the courage and wisdom needed at this time to be with those who are on the receiving side of all cruelties and atrocities…

  3. Patricia Lucas

    Thank you. Women religious (that is many) are taking the leadership in the Catholic Church.

  4. Pam Grundy

    Finally someone speaks from the heart for all the violence sorrounding our nation. Thank you ladies for stepping up. God bless you

  5. John Petrov

    Thank you Sisters! You all are amazing and beautiful women and I appreciate and thank you all for standing up against racism and injustice. God bless! Together we can do better!

  6. Sr. Suzanne Sims, OSU

    Thank you, Sr.Mary Elizabeth, for your SCN message to our world, especially to those people of God in Louisville, Minneapolis and around the USA who are suffering the grave injustice of our sin of racism. I stand in solidarity and prayer with all of you for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit of peace!

  7. Claire McGowan OP

    Thank you, dear Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. You have spoken clearly, powerfully, and publicly what is in the hearts of so many of us at this time. May the fire of Prntecost, though masked and distanced in some ways, strengthen the backbones of all Americans and our leaders to make the changes so desperately needed for peace.

  8. LaReine-Marie Mosely

    Thank you, Sisters for the leadership we have come to expect from your congregation.

    With gratitude and hope,

    LaReine-Marie Mosely, SND
    Sisters of Notre Dame

  9. Jo Paulin SCNA

    What a powerful statement.

    Thank you for stating what many of us are feeling. I pray with all of you in asking God to bring an end to this injustice and cruelty. May God bring healing to all those who have been harmed and to those who have been apart of causing this mistreatment.

  10. Roselyn

    Thank you Sister Mary Elizabeth and Sisters for speaking the truth loud and clear through your statement standing before Catherine. We are aware of the happenings there and are saddened watching the protests and the anguish on TV.

    • Martha Walsh SCN

      My morning meditation reminded me of ministry in Ky in the 60’s where every mission I had involved integrating , done peacefully until I came face to face with the comment, Burn Baby Burn. Last night in Boston the reality came back but the thousands who walked peacefully thru the city seeking another way gives me hope for tomorrow, as well as why injustice and anger can lead to Burn Baby Burn.

  11. Mary Beth McCurdy

    On this Pentecost evening, thank you, Mary Elizabeth and all my Sisters of Charity of Nazareth for breathing a message, a commitment to denounce denounce racism in every form everywhere. Your honest words re: white privilege that has caused pain is healing. Seeing you all radiating Spirit love in front of Mother Catherine Spaulding is charism Living today! Thank you, bless you!

  12. Ann Palatty

    We are proud of you, Sisters of the Western Province, for boldly and courageously speaking for justice, equality and peace. You are indeed like Catherine Spalding.

  13. Saroj Visuvasam

    I feel so very proud to see our SISTERS standing up against injustice and being voice for the voiceless. Our prayers and blessings dear SISTERS.

  14. Sr. elaine DesRosiers, OP

    Thank you for expressing so clearly what needs to be said, and done, at this frightening time. One of your sisters to the south,

  15. Nimmie

    Thank you, Sisters, of Western Province, for the courageous stand and support to the discriminated human community. We are with you as we seek the dignity of every human person.

  16. Nancy

    Blessings to you, Sisters, SCN’s, for taking a stand and speaking up. Your peaceful presence on Pentecost, wearing red and social distancing with masks, and issuing a strong, powerful statement, gave voice to what we all want to say. Thank you for speaking out for the voiceless and the downtrodden. In a new, just world, let there be no more martyrs like Breonna Taylor or George Floyd. May God give us all strength to work for justice.

  17. Bro. Ignatius Perkins OP

    Congratulations, once again, for seeking peace and justice for every person who has ever been born through human dignity and freedom.
    Mother Catherine Spalding pray for us!

    Ignatius Perkins, OP, SCNA

  18. Chris Beckett

    Thank you, Mary Elizabeth!!! I am so grateful for this statement!

  19. Rosemarie Kirwan

    Thank you for making public our hope for the present and future as well as acknowledging our past.

  20. Patricia Vesey-McGrew

    Thank you so very much, Mary Elizabeth, for your powerful words. I feel shame and guilt for being part of a privileged class of white folks. Even if we firmly believe we are not racist, subtle signs remind us that we are all racist.
    How sad to be part of a country where being black is scary and dangerous.
    A country where black mothers have to have ‘the talk’ with their pre-teen black sons.
    My heart is breaking.
    Sending love to all who hold space for both the disenfranchised and the for the guilty.

  21. Name *Joel

    This Statement is POWERFUL! Just like a knife it pierced my whole being. Thank you again and again. We in India are VERY saddened and will do all we can against racism/ injustice.

  22. Editha

    For your courage to stand up for the voiceless, thank you Sisters.

  23. Theresa Knabel

    Thank you for speaking what is in my heart.


    Lord send out your spirit and renew the face of the earth!

  25. Amy DeHart

    Thank you, Sisters, for your commitment to peace and social justice. God bless you.

  26. Irene Locario

    Thank for taking such a powerful stands and message.

    • Angela Dunn

      Thank you SCN for your leadership and peaceful message! You are inspirational and continue to make a difference in a country suffering from so much social injustice. Thank you!

  27. Michael Montgomery

    So proud of my SCNs and their stand for justice and peace as is Mother Catherine for all of you!

  28. Carolyn Goddard

    Thank you for making this statement. May God’s kingdom come

  29. Marilyn LIlly

    Thank you so much for your prayers and comments. We want our country to be better after this pandemic and seeing all people as equal would be a good start

    • Sister Diane Traffas

      Where’ver you see an injustice at work you will always find the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth standing up and being counted. I take such inspiration from them


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