During  the 57th Commission on the Status of Women held at the United Nations in New York in March 2013, ten Sion sisters gathered for their own 9 day formation session.  As you may know UNANIMA International is a non-governmental organization consisting of 18 orders of women religious who focus on three main goals – women and children in poverty, immigrants and refugees, care of planet earth: water for life. Notre Dame de Sion has been a member for seven years already collaborating closely with the 44 other religious congregations of women and men at the UN and beyond to influence changes in policies to eradicate poverty through the Economic and Social Council.

Sion REPS  from Brazil, Central America, Philippines, UK-Ireland, Mediterranean, Australia and Canada/USA worked at deepening our understanding of how to connect the many grassroots actions we are already involved with to bring about a world of justice peace and love (cf Sion Constitution # 13 and 15).

We spent rich days together with some REPS just newly appointed, while others more experienced.  We listened to our diverse stories of involvement. We listened to Sion’s charism and 2010 General Chapter calling us to action in the NOW of our world’s reality to eradicate injustice.  We studied Scripture together – with our participants presenting Biblical reflections on Genesis 1:1-3, 6:5-9; Jonas 1; Exodus 1:8-22; Leviticus 19:1-18; and Isaiah 3:14-15 to name a few. Rabbi Sue Oren immersed us in Judaism’s understanding of justice one evening.

These reflections helped us explore the issues of environmental degradation, Indigenous peoples/human rights, and systemic violence and violence against women– all causes of poverty in the countries and continents where we live.

We began to make connections between these issues and Sion’s role with UNANIMA after touring the United Nations building, visiting with and hearing from our UNANIMA coordinator, Michele Morek-OSU, and participating in the UN WOMEN’s Consultation Day along with 740 other women and NGO members.

We ended our time producing a list of actions to do at all levels – including awareness raising, communicating what we are doing so well already, expanding our networking and collaboration with local, regional and national groups who do the same work,  and developing a plan to send out prayer themes at least 10 times a year.

UNANIMA is a vehicle which Sion and friends can work and pray together with the many others to build a world of justice peace and love by affecting healing and transformative systemic change.  We hope to strengthen our presence and participation with UNANIMA International.  Our theme song became “ WHO SHALL SPEAK IF WE DON’T?”