Bi-monthly e-newsletter giving witness to our Precious Blood Spirituality,
grounded in Catholic Social Teaching and Gospel values
Putting our money where our mouth is: Values-Based Investment
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Sister Linda Pleiman and Sister Edna Hess about the intentional process that the Sisters take to ensure that the Congregation’s investments are consistent with the Congregation’s values. As you can imagine, this is a very complex process. However, there are two guidelines that are helpful: SRI and ESG.
The Congregation’s investment decisions are guided by the concept of Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), which Matthew Blume in Harvard Business Review describes simply as “putting your money into causes you care about.” Read More
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) provides a framework for socially responsible investors. As the Corporate Finance Institute explains, many investors concerned with SRI, prior to investing in a company, will consider that company’s environmental impacts; its approach to social issues such as employee pay and workplace diversity; and its level of financial and accounting transparency, among other governance issues.
As one example, investors with environmental concerns may evaluate how closely a company adheres to the provisions of the Paris Agreement, the international treaty on climate change that was adopted in 2015.
When it comes to investment decisions, the Sisters of the Precious Blood have clear directives – which are regularly reviewed – and which also align with investment guidelines set by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. There are times when investment can be used to encourage a corporation toward better business practices, understanding that change takes time. So it’s not just about not investing in what is not wanted, but also encouraging what is wanted.
In all that we do as a Congregation of women religious, we seek to be a life-giving, reconciling presence in our fractured world. Our concern for the environment had led us to install solar panels on our buildings, among other initiatives. And our love for our home, the city of Trotwood, has led us to participate in community with prayer vigils, a literacy center and more.
Our care in financial investment is no different. Gathering all of these guidelines and justice issues into an official Values-Based Investment Directive, the Sisters of the Precious Blood continue to put their money where their mouth is.
By Jen Morin-Williamson
Peace, Justice and Ecology Coordinator
“My Octopus Teacher”
My Octopus Teacher is an enlightening and moving film currently available on Netflix. It’s a nature documentary that takes the viewer beyond simply observing nature, and offers an invitation to the viewer to deeply contemplate their place in the great interconnectedness of all life. The film follows the development of a unique friendship between a filmmaker and (believe it or not) an octopus — and explores the impact of that relationship on the filmmaker’s whole view of the world and his experience of humanity. Read More
Sisters at Salem Heights recently watched the film together and enjoyed a discussion about our Earth and our responsibility to care for our common home. I encourage you to host a viewing party of your own! Here are some thought-provoking questions to get you started:
1. What are the moments or scenes in the film that stand out to you?
2. How do you think the filmmaker’s interactions with the kelp forest, and the octopus in particular, changed Craig?
3. Do you, or have you, had a “teacher” in nature?
4. How do the living things in the kelp forest interact with one another?
5. What does it mean to you to think of nature’s intelligence?
6. Where do you think humans fit in the natural world?
By Jen Morin-Williamson
Peace, Justice and Ecology Coordinator
From left, Sisters Ginny Volk, Regina Albers, Angeline Hoffman, Laura Will and Rosemary Goubeaux at the viewing party; Jen Morin-Williamson photo.
An Asian Woman’s Experience of Racism
Racism was a topic all of us Precious Blood Sisters reflected on during the last year, and the recent Leadership Conference of Women Religious Virtual 2021 Assembly also discussed it. This complex topic continues to need attention, so this short piece continues our conversation about race.
Months ago, I was introduced to a book titled Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, a New York Times bestseller. I found the book helps me to understand my inner reality and to name what I have experienced in the U.S. as an adult Asian woman. Although I had read a book about racism before written by an African American woman, I couldn’t resonate much with her experience. Yet on reading Minor Feelings, I recognized that what I have been experiencing is racism. Read More
The author, Cathy Park Hong, was born in California as a second-generation Korean immigrant. One of her painful experiences in her childhood was related to her parents. She watched her mother speak to a white person in her rudimentary English. After hearing her mother, the white person responded to her mother in the manner of talking to a toddler. Then, Hong had to intervene to speak for her mother even though she was a child. She was treated as an adult and her mother, a child. This is a characteristic of racism because the white person doesn’t recognize an adult Asian as a person of dignity and an Asian child, of innocence.
Although watching her mother belittled was the deepest shame for Hong as a daughter, her mother might have felt more pain in her heart with shame in front of her daughter. Her mother bore every pain for her children in order to give them a new life and a safer environment in a new land.
The issue is not English here for an Asian experience of racism. Think about white Europeans in the U.S. with bad English. Will they be treated as Asians are treated? Why are Asian people expected to have better English in order to be treated equally? Otherwise, Asian people are treated as invisible by seemingly polite, educated and white people. Asians with bad English merely exist in order to show diversity but are not truly alive to them.
One day, I went to a car center which was introduced by our Sisters. When I asked to check and fix my car according to the insurance network showing the paper, the person without looking at the paper properly, said they don’t do that. Later on, discovering me as a Catholic Sister, his attitude changed and his “no” turned to “yes.” I was nobody with my Asian being but became somebody as a Sister. He showed his rosary to me and said he is a Catholic. A range of emotions accumulated in me from daily experiences: isolation, anxiety, shame, self-doubt, anger and depression. Hong calls these minor feelings. Minor feelings are “the racialized range of emotions that are negative, dysphoric, and therefore untelegenic built from the sediments of everyday racial experience and the irritant of having one’s perception of reality constantly questioned or dismissed.” And these feelings occur “when American optimism is enforced upon you, which contradicts your own racialized reality, thereby creating a static of cognitive dissonance.”
We find the force of the ideology of a fair meritocracy of American capitalism and American optimism to enforce on people of color in the Church as well. When a white Catholic says to a migrant person of color: You are in the U.S., so assimilate yourself in it; when a white Sister says to a foreign candidate: You are welcome to be yourself — but affirms her only when the foreign candidate follows her instruction; when a white priest affirms a brother of color from abroad only when he was able to get a good job position … these are racialized treatments under the ideology of fair meritocracy, not under Christian thought. There is no listening to the other’s unique stories, no dialogue in mutual respect and openness, and no space to be an authentic human being without the success of profitable employment.
When I see white people put this invisible fence of prejudice around them to divide, whether consciously or unconsciously, this awakes in me a silent haunting voice of you-don’t-belong-here-go-home. If there were no people in the U.S. who listened to me with an open heart, understood me as an authentic human person, and had dialogue in mutual respect and learning, I couldn’t withstand those racialized realities I have experienced. Some Asian Americans have success stories, but the majority of Asian American stories are still hidden, and these people suffer from their racial experience with minor feelings.
By Sister Mikyoung Teresa Hwang, C.PP.S