Sisters of St. Joseph join national anti-gun violence observance

A banner on the fence outside the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse in Brighton read, "Gun violence is the number one killer of children and teens in America." That fact is why, on June 6, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston hosted one of many prayer vigils taking place around our country during June. The purpose was to commemorate the 10th annual national "Wear Orange" month to raise awareness of gun violence and to inspire action aimed at combating the problem.

More than 100 sisters, associates, agregees, and partners in mission gathered in Brighton, Framingham, and online via Zoom for the vigil hosted in collaboration with Nuns Against Gun Violence (NAGV), a coalition of Catholic religious women and their allies that affirms the value of human life through prayer, education, and advocacy for common sense, evidence-based gun violence prevention. They wear orange in June to promote a future free from gun violence and to honor Hadiya Pendleton and over 43,000 Americans who have been killed with guns, as well as approximately 76,000 who are shot and wounded every year.

Because the event took place so close to the church's Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, Sister Peggy Comfrey, justice promoter, introduced the prayer with a reflection on the image of Mary in a powerful icon titled, "Our Lady, Mother of Ferguson and All Those Killed by Gun Violence," by Mark Doox, which depicts Jesus is shown in the crosshairs of a gun. She urged participants to place their hands on their hearts and pray for those whose lives have been impacted by gun violence.

She then prayed, "Vulnerable God, the Sacred Heart of Jesus was ripped open by violence. We believe that in every body and everybody beats a sacred heart. We gather today to raise our hands in supplication for an end to gun violence. Give us the courage, Spirit, to enter the world committed to the hope of a gun-free future. Lead us Jesus, the Crucified and Resurrected One, to those sorrowful places of trauma and help us to be voices that cry out for mercy and change."