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December Reflections

December has some important dates: December 6 is National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada. And December 10 is the anniversary of the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

 
December 6 is the anniversary of the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre, in which armed student Marc Lépine murdered 14 women and injured 10 others as an act of 'fighting feminism.'
 
It is important to remember this horrific act as a reminder of the violence that women still experience in their homes, places of study, workplaces and neighbourhoods. It is equally important that we stand against any violence directed at women. 
 
In past years, Fontbonne Ministries has been involved in the planning for Catholic Family Services’ annual Mass to End Woman Abuse. This year’s Mass on October 10 was its tenth year and offered us the opportunity to pray together and reflect on this issue. 
 
In our work, in our prayer and in our daily lives, we are challenged to reflect and speak out when societal power dynamics result in women being regarded as objects or “less than.” The values statements for Fontbonne Ministries, which are based on the core values of the Sisters of St. Joseph, say that “we respect each person as a unique expression of God’s love and invite each one to discover her/his giftedness.” 
 
If we truly did recognize each person in this way, following the Golden Rule, violence would surely fall away. In this same list of values, we also “commit to being a catalyst for change” which moves us to action. 
 
Let us pray that in the face of violence of any kind, we are moved to action which results in change.

UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations made a Universal Declaration of Human Rights which affirmed that all human beings are born free and equal with dignity and rights. 
 
This was one of the first declarations of the newly formed United Nations, and while the United Nations isn’t an enforcement agency, it is a statement of the values which it holds. 
 
On November 27, ISARC (Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition) held a religious leaders forum on Voices from the Margins.
 
Among the many people who made presentations and others who were present, there was a common sentiment given voice: that if we truly did treat each individual with dignity and uphold their rights, we would be compelled, as a nation, to find ways to house those who are homeless, feed those who are hungry, clothe those who are naked, in a respectful and affirming way.
 
There is much work to be done, beginning with awareness.
 
By Leanne Kloppenborg
Director, Mission & Values and Volunteers

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