Economic Development and Catholic Social Teachings
Economic development focuses on the monetary and social improvement of individuals and their local communities. Economic development is at the core of catholic social teachings and upholds these three tenets:
Life and Dignity of the Human Person
Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed “The dignity of the individual and the demands of justice require, particularly today, that economic choices do not cause disparities in wealth to increase in an excessive and morally unacceptable manner. “ Maryknoll Sisters seek to protect life and dignity through their mission work around the world.
The Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers
The Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers states that “the economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in Gods creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected–the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.”
Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
The United States Conference of Bishops wrote that Option for the Poor and Vulnerable is “to enable [people] to become active participants in the life of society.” It is to enable all persons to share in and contribute to the common good.”
Maryknoll Sisters practice these principles to create economic justice throughout the world.
Maryknoll Sisters create economic opportunities for people all over the world:
Sr. Helene O’Sullivanis providing young women survivors of sexual abuse with
elementary and vocational education and job placement.
Sr. Rosalva Sandi runs income generation programs with women’s groups.
Sr. Suzanne Rech works with Maasai women’s groups in Morogoro and Arusha encouraging self-reliance through revolving loan projects
Sister Story: Sister Anna Manuis
The South American nation of Peru has been hit very hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. It has had one of the highest death rates from the virus in all of Latin America. At the end of January, rising cases required the government to impose another national lockdown.
Sister Anna Manauis, MM works in the impoverished suburbs of the capital city, Lima.
The effects of the pandemic have been devastating there, among people who were already barely living at a survival level.
“The virus never let up in Peru, and worsened this year by the second wave,” she tells us. “The needs of the poor are ever-increasing because of lack of jobs.” To help reduce the suffering in her area, Sister Anna helped a group of local women start a soup kitchen called Olla Común (“Common Pot”). It provides meals to local people who would otherwise not be able to feed their families due to the loss of their meager income.
Pamplona Alta, where Sister works, is a village made mostly of reed-mat shacks, without electricity or running water. “Most of the adult people here either work on a part time basis or are daily wage earners working as peddlers, household and market helpers, laborers, etc. There are also a lot of single parents and elderly folks in this zone. The lockdown and obligatory quarantine left many without jobs, and so their families are also left without any resources to provide for food, medicines, and other medical needs.”
Good nutrition is, of course, key to being healthy enough to resist disease during a pandemic. Your generosity to Maryknoll missions enables Sister Anna and her colleagues to help the most vulnerable people stay healthy under the most dangerous and frightening of conditions.
“The resilience and the community spirit of people come to the fore in crisis like this,” she says. “I and the organizers are ever grateful for the generosity of kind-hearted people far and near, who reached out to us, and continue to do so, through financial donations and goods.”
Here in the U.S., the pandemic is receding as more and more people get vaccinated, and people receive support of all kinds. The people of Pamplona Alta and other similar communities are not so fortunate, but they are fortunate in that people like you, through God’s grace, care enough to help them. As Sister Anna says, God is never outdone in generosity!
“I am very grateful to all Maryknoll friends and benefactors, our partners in mission, who so generously share their blessings to the most in need and vulnerable of our society. And, in this unprecedented time when almost everyone is affected by the pandemic, I could only ask our loving God, the source of all being to bless you and your family in the way you need it most!”