Reality of People and Earth Made Poor

Presentation Issues
Portrait of Nano Nagle. The inscription on the back of the photo reads: “From a painting by the Presentation Nuns. Powell Street, San Francisco, September, 1891.” Pupils of the Sisters’ school stood in for the portrait.

Portrait of Nano Nagle. The inscription on the back of the photo reads: “From a painting by the Presentation Nuns. Powell Street, San Francisco, September, 1891.” Pupils of the Sisters’ school
stood in for the portrait.

Flowing from our identity as Presentation women and the Presentation family, the mission of IPA is to channel our resources so that we can speak and act in partnership with others for global justice. It is IPA’s NGO status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the United Nations that provides a structure to speak and act about global justice issues. IPA strengthens our Justice Networks in 22 countries work for structural change specifically related to:

  • Environment and Sustainable Living
  • Human Rights
  • Indigenous People
  • Women and Children

 

TRANSFORMING OUR WORLD: THE 2030 AGENDA FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Addressing the Root Causes of Poverty

Since deciding to “address the root causes of poverty” as the IPA Global Issue at the IPA Assembly in India in November 2007, much work has been done by Presentations around the world to identify specific foci for action and ways to act on them. The diagram below, produced by the Justice Contacts in Victoria, Australia, shows the connection between the root causes of poverty and the foci for action as ways of addressing a complex and enormous issue. In almost every Congregation, Province and Vice-Province, plans of action have been developed to address the root causes of poverty by confronting personal and corporate greed through one or both of the foci for action. The work we have chosen to do is difficult and challenging. The issues are complex and the vested interests are powerful. It is easy for us to feel overwhelmed by the forces of consumerism, greed, and materialism. Yet courageously we take one step at a time, believing that our small contribution to changing the world will make a difference. The Maryknoll Friends in a reflection I recently read state:

If you want to make changes in the world,
you’re going to have to be working day after day
doing the boring straightforward work
of getting people interested in an issue,
building a slightly bigger group or organization,
carrying on, experiencing frustration
and finally getting somewhere.
That’s how the world changes.

If we are going to be able to sustain the “long-haul” work we do to transform the world into a place of justice, peace and hope, then we need to do more than plan and work. We need to nurture our contemplative spirits. David Tacey says that “if we learned how to explore the richness of the inner life, much of the obsessive consumerism of the Western world would disappear in an instant. The most ecologically radical thing we can do for ourselves and society is to learn how to turn within and contemplate the internal infinity that we apparently do not want to look at and go to great lengths to ignore or run away from”.

Nano was a woman who was able to do the “long-haul” work of changing the social structures that kept people poor and dispossessed because of her attention to both her inner life and the detailed planning required to address systemic injustice. Let us take heart from her example, especially as we celebrate her life on 26 April.

Marlette Black pbvm, Queensland

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