A Message of Peace
Pope Paul VI declared January 1 the International Day of Peace 50 years ago. This important recommitment to the work of peacebuilding comes to us on New Year's Day, a reflective time as we focus upon our path for the future year to come.
"The world must be educated to love peace, to build it up and defend it." - Pope Paul VI, 1968
With these words, Pope Paul VI declared January 1 the International Day of Peace 50 years ago. Fittingly, this important recommitment to the work of peacebuilding comes to us on New Year's Day, a reflective time as we focus upon our path for the future year to come.
In this year's message, Pope Francis looks past the political turmoil of the past year, encouraging all of us to adopt nonviolence as a style of politics for peace. He writes:
"I ask God to help all of us to cultivate nonviolence in our most personal thoughts and values," writes Pope Francis. "May charity and nonviolence govern how we treat each other as individuals, within society and in international life."
As a Catholic women's university sponsored by the School Sisters of Notre Dame, our learning and faith traditions call us to champion nonviolence through integrity, respect and inclusivity.
Our university's mission and commitment to Catholic social teaching align with the School Sisters, including advancing leadership for social justice and educating women to transform the world. We truly believe that the responsibility for creating change in a divided world rests in the hands of individuals.
These are our beliefs, and not just in words alone. I am sharing with you only a small handful of the experiences open to students and our campus community as we take our beliefs from words into action:
- Through our Peacebuilding certificate, students learn principles of nonviolence, restorative justice and peacemaking. Some members of our faculty have formed a professional development group, Peacebuilding Faculty Affiliates, to connect with one another around teaching, conducting research and having related teaching interests.
- We will again hold a Martin Luther King read-in on Thursday Jan. 19. Later in spring, a two-day workshop on Kingian nonviolence will be held for our campus community.
- Our study abroad opportunities for students include a trip to Ireland/Northern Ireland to explore topics relating to peace and justice.
- On March 28 our Women's Leadership Institute welcomes Shiza Shahid, co-founder of the Malala Fund, to inspire our campus community to greater levels of engagement and transformation.
- Our campus-wide Shalom Club belongs to an international network of clubs affiliated with the SSNDs.
The SSND Constitution challenges us to come together to create a just society by embodying the Gospel values and living the social teachings of the church.
Through our unity, "we witness to the possibility of overcoming national and cultural barriers," proclaims the SSND Constitution.
Certainly, this New Year presents its share of promise and challenge. On this day I am inspired by our connection to the SSND charism and to one another. Renewed by the values we practice here and bring forth today, I wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year.
View this video tribute to the Prayer of St. Francis: