Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dubuque, Iowa

August 27, 2011

We are the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dubuque, Iowa. We follow in the footsteps of our Irish foundress, Mary Frances Clarke, who answered God’s call to serve immigrants in the United States more than 175 years ago. We continue to respond to God’s love by serving wherever needed. We find strength in our faith in God, in one another, and with the people we serve.

Our core values of freedom, education, charity and justice guide our lives and choice of ministry. Some of our sisters are educators, pastoral ministers, counselors and advocates for the elderly and immigrants; others work in social services, healthcare and in prayer ministry. Our commitment includes joining with others to work for justice and to care for Earth. We have a strength that comes from appreciating the unique gifts of our sisters and encouraging one another to offer freely those gifts in service.

Trust and a spirit of joy enliven our community of Catholic Sisters because God’s love frees us. This freedom calls us to honor diversity, to act against injustice, and to stand humbly before God with gratitude.

We are the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Freed by Love, Acting for Justice.


Death Penalty Statement (2001)

We, the Sisters of Charity, of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Dubuque, Iowa, oppose the death penalty. As women religious who are “being freed and helping others enjoy freedom in God’s steadfast love,” we believe that all life is sacred. We stand in opposition to the devaluation of human life by capital punishment and the use of violence to exact retribution from the perpetrators of violent acts.

We oppose the state-sanctioned executions of our brothers and sisters done in our name and reject the argument that the death penalty is a deterrent to violence. We assert that violence only continues the cycle of violence and that it is through love that we can end violence.

We embrace our sisters and brothers who have experienced loss of family members or friends in violent crimes and pray for healing in their suffering.
We encourage one another as members of the BVM Congregation to work of the abolition of the death penalty through these or other means.

  • By educating ourselves through articles in BVM publications and other resources such as PAX Christi publications and the U.S. Bishops’ Good Friday Appeal to End the Death Penalty and Responsibility, Rehabilitation, Restoration;
  • By advocating the use of resources for rehabilitation rather than execution;
  • By encouraging the re-establishment of right relationship between perpetrator and victim through restorative justice programs;
  •  By attending prayer vigils in opposition to the death penalty;
  •  By writing letters, visiting, or calling elected officials about abolishing the death penalty.