As I look back to the days of May 2020 until this summer of 2021, I can feel tears forming in my eyes. Our era has proven to be a time of distress and violence. We saw violence over issues of race and the 2020 election. We saw the rise of Black Lives Matter. We still see our brothers and sisters of color unjustly treated and killed. George Floyd was not the first. Unfortunately, he was also not the last.

As a human being and disciple of Jesus, I was and am still sorrowful to see all of these instances of hatred expressed in violence and insurrection. As an Ursuline, I along with my sisters am committed to living and acting in ways that transform society through contemplation, justice and compassion.

Addressing the effects of injustice is not enough; we need to address the causes. I recall a quote by Dom Helder Camara, a Brazilian bishop who lived during tumultuous times in Latin America and who was declared a Servant of God by the Church in 2015: “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”

As a Catholic Christian, I know I have my own inner work to do in terms of dealing with my own attitudes and biases. I also feel impelled to stand against the murderous culture of our era and with the oppressed, the threatened, unborn and born, voiceless and brushed aside. If someone considers that political, so be it. I do not apologize. I look not only to Christ but to Sister Dorothy Kazel, who lived in dangerous times and did not turn her back on the poor and brutalized people of El Salvador. I know whatever I can do will not be as costly for me as it was for her who paid the ultimate price.

Scripture tells us in the Book of Micah what God truly commands: And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

How can I in conscience do any less? How can we do more?

Sister Elaine Berkopec