Iowa’s Catholic nuns are at it again. A few weeks ago a coalition chipped in to buy radio advertisements urging people to seek peaceful ways of solving world conflicts, and now they’ve taken out newspaper ads. Sister Marilyn Huegerich is President of the Sisters of St. Francis in Clinton, says it’s the same group of “women religious.” She says especially once war was declared, the sisters felt they should speak with the “corporate voice” of one body, since they feel called to a gospel message of being peacemakers. Money is contributed by each congregation to buy the ads, which consist of a brief text message on the war and grieving the destruction it’s causing. She explains the “point” is lamenting that the government gave up in diplomacy and went to war, and they grieve the senseless loss of live of both Iraqi citizens and our own men and women in the military. She says they can’t support the war. The nun says they believe aggression “violates our national soul” and betrays America’s values. Every Monday the nuns hold a silent prayer vigil in front of the Clinton County courthouse and local residents come to join. She says the sisters believe it’s a human-rights issue, and not to proclaim the gospel would be a disservice to their religious vocation as well as to “God’s people.” Nobody’s come forward to criticize the coalition of congregations directly for its views, and Sister Huegerich says she thinks there are many people with deep reservations about the war who fear speaking out because they might seem to be condemning the U.S. troops. She says “our hearts are with them” and all they’re going through. The “call of nonviolence” is signed by the presidents of four Dubuque orders, and others in Davenport, Clinton, Eldridge, Iowa City, Cedar rapids, Rock Island and two orders in Wisconsin.
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