August 19, 2016

Josie made a plea to each of us today:
Now’s a good time to take a small action on behalf of peace.  We urge you to call your senators and ask them to block the State Dept.’s latest decision to sell even more weapons to Saudi Arabia to use in Yemen.  US weapons have killed many innocent Yemeni people in hospitals, schools, and more. (See NYT editorial below.)

Congress has the power to block this sale. They have 25 more days to do so by law.   Here’s a link from Codepink that will explain the issue and make it easy for you to take action:

Phone calls will draw even more attention to the issue**:

Senator Sherrod Brown 202-224-2315

Senator Rob Portman 202-224-3353

**I have these numbers stored in my cell phone so it’s easier for me to overcome my inertia and make a call!

Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy and Republican Sen. Rand Paul are both working to block the sale.  You might mention this fact in a phone call.

Or you might like to quote the New York Times Editorial Board.  Here’s what they had to say on Wednesday:

America Is Complicit in the Carnage in Yemen


A hospital associated with Doctors Without Borders. A school. A potato chip factory. Under international law, those facilities in Yemen are not legitimate military targets. Yet all were bombed in recent days by warplanes belonging to a coalition led by Saudi Arabia, killing more than 40 civilians.

The United States is complicit in this carnage. It has enabled the coalition in many ways, including selling arms to the Saudis to mollify them after the nuclear deal with Iran. Congress should put the arms sales on hold and President Obama should quietly inform Riyadh that the United States will withdraw crucial assistance if the Saudis do not stop targeting civilians and agree to negotiate peace.

The airstrikes are further evidence that the Saudis have escalated their bombing campaign against Houthi militias, which control the capital, Sana, since peace talks were suspended on Aug. 6, ending a cease-fire that was declared more than four months ago. They also suggest one of two unpleasant possibilities. One is that the Saudis and their coalition of mostly Sunni Arab partners have yet to learn how to identify permissible military targets. The other is that they simply do not care about killing innocent civilians. The bombing of the hospital, which alone killed 15 people, was the fourth attack on a facility supported by Doctors Without Borders in the past year even though all parties to the conflict were told exactly where the hospitals were located.

In all, the war has killed more than 6,500 people, displaced more than 2.5 million others and pushed one of the world’s poorest countries from deprivation to devastation. A recent United Nations report blamed the coalition for 60 percent of the deaths and injuries to children last year. Human rights groups and the United Nations have suggested that war crimes may have been committed.

Saudi Arabia, which began the air war in March 2015, bears the heaviest responsibility for inflaming the conflict with the Houthis, an indigenous Shiite group with loose connections to Iran. The Saudis intervened in Yemen with the aim of defeating the Houthis and reinstalling President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, whom the rebels ousted from power. They consider Iran their main enemy and feared Tehran was gaining too much influence in the region.

Although many experts believe the threat to be overstated, Mr. Obama agreed to support the Yemen intervention — without formal authorization from Congress — and sell the Saudis even more weapons in part to appease Riyadh’s anger over the Iran nuclear deal. All told, since taking office, Mr. Obama has sold the Saudis $110 billion in arms, including Apache helicopters and missiles.

Mr. Obama has also supplied the coalition such indispensable assistance as intelligence, in-flight refueling of aircraft and help in identifying appropriate targets. Experts say the coalition would be grounded if Washington withheld its support. Instead, the State Department last week approved the potential sale of $1.15 billion more in tanks and other equipment to Saudi Arabia to replace items destroyed in the war. Congress has the power to block this sale; Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, says he is discussing that possibility with other lawmakers. But the chances are slim, in part because of the politics.

Given the civilian casualties, further American support for this war is indefensible. As Mr. Murphy told CNN on Tuesday: “There’s an American imprint on every civilian life lost in Yemen.”

4th. day of Seneca County Fair

Wow!  I can hardly believe the crowds of children and adults who come to our peace booths this year.  On this day we had 232 children and adults combined. For the 4 days we’ve had 704 visitors so far. All this visiting surely takes a lot of energy!  Hail and hardy we must be!  And though the tattoos are running out, the headbands and “Pops for Peace” are going strong.

One of the general lovely things I’ve noticed again this year is how encouraging most of the families are toward their children when they linger at our booths.  I want to think that

it’s the HOPE our booths on peacemaking inspire within the adults.  A couple from Knoxville, Tennessee underlined with their knowledge and their support all our efforts toward eventually eliminating WAR.  

I am so thankful for all the support received.

Much peace to each of you.  sr. Paulette

My Second Day at the Seneca County Fair

Yvonne is a volunteer at our Pax Christi and Project Peace almost every day this fair week. She shares this story:

Upon inviting a grandmother and her 17 yr. old granddaughter to explore the Peace Booth, I found a captivating story unfold.

Grandmother, “Carolyn Faith,” had been the Host Family to 17 yr. old “Robie’s” father, some 20 years ago from the Netherlands.  He was not only incorporated into the “Faith” family for that school but became a son of their heart for life.  Soon after, they traveled to the Netherlands to attend his wedding.  When Robie was born, Carolyn became their granddaughter.  History repeats itself.  Robie  visited the family with her parents at age 8 and became their exchange student in high school, immersing herself into a new culture and language.

As we three spoke of the importance of pursuing peace through love and respect, honoring the differences in other cultures and religions, tears welled in the eyes of this beautiful grandmother.  “I don’t know if you can share your story about you and your Mother’s visit to Africa, without crying, but will you, Robie?”

Robie shared that her Mother and she visited Africa with a group.  Upon meeting some poor African children, her mother gave some small toys, paper to construct paper animals and played with the children–she had thought ahead to bring such items.Tearfully, Robie shared she just could not understand how the others in the group didn’t share from their abundance with these poor African children.

Her broken heart has led her to begin studies in Anthropology at the University in the Netherlands upon returning to her homeland in a couple weeks.  She has determined in her heart to bridge the gap that divides by respecting the uniqueness of each culture, not impose our way of doing things upon them and then one day returning to Africa and other countries.

This story at the Peace Booth enriched and touched my heart.  This faith family brings me hope to fight for the right and for PEACE.                               Yvonne E.Soldan


Yes!  Yes!  Lord, yes!’                                                                                                                                         To your Will and to Your Way,                                                                                                                         With my whole heart, I will say,                                                                                                                   “Yes, Lord, Yes!”                                    Joyful Evangelist




Thoughts from the Poverty March

Participating in the Poverty March on Monday, July 18th in Cleveland opened my eyes a little farther to people who I now know in a more tangible way.  I really need to pry open my heart farther.

I heard an undocumented lady speak of her inner anger over this country’s hardness of heart- after her many years of living as a good citizen.

I found it difficult but necessary to let the African American’s rage and fear deeper into my heart with emotions expressed so deeply in rap and poetry.  Their personal stories invite me to continue softening my heart.

My inner journey towards oneness sometimes feels like it’s only beginning!

-Sister Paulette

Project Peace at Seneca County Fair

foot_prints_walkingBe sure to visit the Project Peace booth, “Steps to Peace,” in the Old Merchant’s Building during the Seneca County Fair from July 25-July 30.  Help your kids make peace headbands and enjoy temporary peace tattoos.  Enter a raffle for an outstanding papier mache  sculpture and try your wits on a peace question with the game: “Pops for Peace.”  A huge world display will also invite each person to put their footprint across the world with their name on it.  This will include a commitment to be part of the nonviolent solution to violence throughout our lands.

-Sister Paulette

Delegation to Palestine Cancelled

I am so sad to report that I was unable to recruit for our annual Palestine delegation this year.  We shall work for another effort in 2017 spring or early fall. Hopefully Hebron will be in greater peace by that time.

Thank you to all who showed interest and support for this trip.  If you have interest for next year’s delegation possibly, would you please call me:  419.447.0435 ext. 136.  I am as committed as ever to “lift the voices of the Palestinian people in our American society.”

sr.Paulette Schroeder

Tiffin and the Two Vigils

On Sunday, June 12th, 2016, a man entered Pulse, a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and opened up fire with an AR 15.  This attack resulted in fifty-three injured and forty-nine deaths, making it the most tragic event since 9/11, the deadliest mass shooting in US history, killing more people than the Columbine and VA Tech massacres combined.

Last night, Tuesday the 14th, the city of Tiffin held a small service for the attack at the All Patriots Memorial.  Mayor Montz, in addition to two other prominent city leaders, gave speeches and laments for the attacks before opening up to the public for comments, where approximately five or six citizens of Tiffin stepped forward to show their grief and support.  Attendance is estimated at over one-hundred people.  Tiffin may be small and not the most accepting community, but their love and support was felt last night.

At 9:30, after the city’s vigil, I planned and held a vigil on Tiffin University’s campus with the help of Susan Ross-La Torre, director of student activities, and Jacob Simon, assistant director of residence life.  Gathered in TU’s courtyard, about thirty of us stood in the rain with candles.  Poems were read, prayers were prayed, and proclamations of grief were expressed.

author:  Scott Williams


New Book for Pax Christi

Our Pax Christi group here at the sisters of St. Francis is starting a new book.

The book, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, is written as a father speaking to his son.  It focuses on the way that African Americans are treated by law enforcement and the gross over-incarceration rates among African Americans.

Toni Morrison, renowned and well-respected novelist, writes of the book, “I’ve been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died.  Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates.  The language of Between the World and Me, like Coates’s journey, is visceral, eloquent, and beautifully redemptive.  And its examination of the hazards and hopes of black male life is as profound as it is revelatory.  This is required reading.”

Please join us at our Pax Christi meetings and share with us this wonderful and relevant story.  Our group meets every first Thursday of each month at 7:00 pm at St. Francis Spirituality Center.  For any questions, contact Sister Paulette at (419) 447-0435 ext 136.