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Seeking abolition of nuclear weapons

As the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons went into effect in January, the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) joined 155 global faith communities in a joint statement welcoming the groundbreaking moment.

Siters at Notre Dame of Elm Grove (NDEG), Elm Grove, Wisconsin, stand out by the main street in peaceful protest.

While the statement celebrated the milestone, it also noted that there is urgent work yet to be done to ensure a nuclear weapons-free world: “We wholeheartedly welcome the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), the first international treaty to comprehensively ban nuclear weapons. The Treaty addresses the disproportionate impact of nuclear weapons on women and indigenous peoples and the importance of victim assistance and healing environmental harms in a groundbreaking way. We recognize the legacy of the global hibakusha, survivors whose courage and perseverance serve as our inspiration, guidance, and moral foundation in the quest for a world free from nuclear weapons. This quest will continue until all nuclear weapons are eliminated from our planet. We invite everyone, especially those in communities of faith, to join us in this work for peace, justice, and respect for life.”


Experiences in Japan and Marshall Islands reinforce desire to abolish nuclear weapons

In August 2020, School Sisters of Notre Dame throughout the Central Pacific Province commemorated in a somber way the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, with a remembrance prayer service prepared by the province Peace and Nonviolence Committee. The service included memories from some Japanese sisters who were children at the time of the 1945 bombing.

Sisters and students from Notre Dame of Milwaukee Catholic schools join in prayer for peace at Notre Dame of Elm Grove, Elm Grove, Wisconsin.

SSND in Japan understand the lasting impact the use of nuclear weapons has on people and the Earth, and inspire work toward their elimination. So too do sisters who lived or ministered in and around the Marshall Islands, where the U.S. tested 67 nuclear weapons from 1946 to 1958. The nuclear tests and their fallout forced the evacuation of four northern atolls: Enewetak, Bikini, Rongelap and Utrok, two of which remain uninhabitable today.

The SSND Corporate Stance on Gospel Nonviolence and Just Peace calls us to, “advocate for the use of diplomacy and dialogue to abolish war and nuclear weapons,” a commitment that reflects the experiences of our sisters and the Catholic Church’s ongoing efforts to seek abolition of nuclear weapons. Pope Francis stated, “I am convinced that a world without nuclear weapons is possible and necessary.” SSND agree, which is why they support and signed the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.


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