As advocates for peace and education, we the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSNDs) remember and grieve with the community of Parkland, Florida, and all who have been impacted by the recent act of gun violence at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. We offer our prayers for the families and friends of the victims of this tragedy.
With the recent call by elected officials to arm teachers with weapons as a solution to gun violence, we whose mission it is to transform the world through education cannot support this idea. Throughout our 185-year history, School Sisters have logged thousands of hours of classroom experience, and, collectively, have taught millions of students. We as teachers love our students, and know that guns are not the way to show that love.
As long-standing educators and promoters of peace and nonviolence, we believe that our relationships with the students of our schools and outreach centers is built on mutual respect, trust and the compassionate care for others. “God calls us to be prophetic signs of unity and compassion in our world,” said Sister Charmaine Krohe, Provincial Leader of the Atlantic-Midwest Province of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. “Let us pray and act together for a peaceful solution to the violence in our schools. Let us pray for and advocate that US legislators will work for gun control and continue to ensure that security measures are in place to guarantee the safety of all. Let us together turn to the God of mercy and peace, to give us the strength to be instruments of change, women of hope, love and peace, and messengers of unity and reconciliation in our world.”
The 24th General Chapter Directional Statement of the SSND congregation includes a call to “educate, advocate, and act in collaboration with others for the dignity of life and the care of all creation.” In this spirit, our sisters call upon lawmakers to support the following:
• Require universal background checks and mandatory waiting periods for all gun purchases.
• Ban civilian ownership of high-capacity weapons and ammunition magazines.
• Make gun trafficking a federal crime.
We believe that these common-sense measures will help to prevent future mass shootings and create a safer environment for our children and families.
Please join us in taking peaceful action to prevent further violence in our schools, which should always be safe havens for all students.
Yours in peace,
The School Sisters of Notre Dame