We, the Leadership Council of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe, Michigan, are sad and angry that another mass shooting has occurred at Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, where six people, including three children, and the shooter lost their lives. We just released a statement on Feb. 15, 2023, denouncing the gun violence at Michigan State University, where three students and the gunman were killed. Now here we are, a little over a month later, addressing the same issue.

There have been over 130 mass shootings in the U.S. this year. Thanks to groups like the Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence and many other partners, Michigan is on the verge of enacting several gun safety laws. Universal background checks, safe storage requirements and extreme risk protection orders are working through each chamber of the legislature. The Nashville shooter had been in treatment for an emotional disorder. A national red flag law may have prevented the incident. Once again, we condemn the culture of gun violence that is the root cause of this tragedy.

We grieve with our brothers and sisters in Nashville, Tennessee. We oppose every act of gun violence that has infected and afflicted our country. We lament and pray for an end to the violence destroying the fabric of our families, neighborhoods and cities.

We also grieve the loss of 39 lives in a fire at a migrant processing center in Ciudad Juárez across from El Paso, Texas, along the U.S.-Mexico border. The dead and dozens injured included people from Guatemala, Honduras, Venezuela, El Salvador, Colombia and Ecuador seeking entry to the United States. These deaths are an indictment of the policies and structures implemented at large by both governments. We recognize our call to serve the needs of God’s people not only through the traditional works of mercy but also by working with others to eradicate the causes of injustice and oppression and help create structures that will promote justice and peace and bring unity among all people.

We can’t do everything, but we each can commit to doing one thing as we pray and advocate for our migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking sisters and brothers. These are our people. They are ours and we are theirs. The IHM Senior Living Community and faith community that gather for liturgy in the IHM Chapel continue to pray regularly for our migrant brothers and sisters and all those serving on their behalf.

We offer this prayer from Catholic Charities USA:

Merciful God, we pray for families and individuals who have left or fled their homes, seeking safer and better lives. We lift up to you their hopes, fears and needs that they may be protected on their journeys, their dignity and rights may be honored and upheld, and they may be welcomed with open arms into generous and compassionate communities. Amen.

The IHM Leadership CouncilMargaret Chapman, IHM – Treasurer and Mission CouncilorMarianne Gaynor, IHM – Vice President and Mission CouncilorMary Jane Herb, IHM, PresidentPatricia McCluskey, IHM – Mission CouncilorEllen Rinke, IHM – Mission Councilor