Ministries operated by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto
Founded in 2000, Fontbonne Ministries is our response to current societal needs. Named after Sister Delphine Fontbonne, the six ministries continue our tradition of nurturing community and assisting with the food, shelter, education and health care needs of the “dear neighbour.”
Ministry for Social Justice, Peace, and Creation Care
The Ministry for Social Justice, Peace, and Creation Care operates with an anti-oppressive, nonviolent, integral ecology framework. In keeping with the CSJ charism of oneness, we recognize and highlight how our focus areas intersect with one another and other issues, and we recognize that intersecting layers of oppression operate simultaneously for people who are marginalized and oppressed. Current key social justice areas the ministry is focusing on include:
Indigenous justice: We recognize the legacy and ongoing harm that has been done by Settlers to the Indigenous, Métis, and Inuit people on the Turtle island. We seek to privilege Indigenous voices so as to learn and be transformed by them, and to challenge our dominant worldview.
Climate justice: The climate emergency is the most pressing issue of our time. Its impacts are felt differently across gender and racial lines. Women, Indigenous communities, Black and other racialized communities face the worst consequences of climate change. As a Ministry, we recognize and work towards a just climate transition that addresses the structural , intersecting injustices in our society.
Creation care is one of our core values. Our plant and animal neighbours have their own intrinsic value as part of God’s earth, and we embrace the call to defend and protect it. As such, we have adopted a number of green initiatives, some of which are outlined below.
The Sisters’ Residence: In 2013, many in our community moved into a new residence, designed to be in harmony with nature and with flexibility and potential for diverse use now and into the future. The residence was built to the latest Toronto Green Build Program and with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards in mind. Some sustainability features of the space include:
- The building envelope, or cladding, conserves energy, is high-performance and has been rigorously tested in all types of weather.
- All lighting uses fluorescent or LED lights; as well, light switches in public areas are motion controlled.
- A geothermal system uses the earth’s natural temperature to warm and cool the building.
- A rainwater cistern captures and retains rainwater for irrigation of the lawns and gardens.
- Motion sensors on faucets have been installed where appropriate, to reduce water consumption.
One million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute. Plastic bottles and caps are among the most common pollutant found in the ocean.
In 2017, we, as members of the Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada, were part of the first group of religious communities in Canada to be designated a "Blue Community" which supports the right to safe drinking water without the need for bottled water.
As a Blue Community, we:
- Recognize water and sanitation as human rights
- Promote the use of tap water at Congregational facilities and events
- Educate community members and partners to avoid using bottled water where potable water exists
- Uphold a "water commons" framework in which water is shared and is the responsibility of everyone
- Urge the government to adopt sustainable policies that give particular attention to the rights of marginalized groups, communities and individuals
- Affirm the human right to clean water both locally and globally
- Limit the use of bottled water because water is not a commodity
- Protect publicly owned, financed and mortgaged water services from being privatized
- Uphold water as a shared commons and everyone's responsibility
- Reconnect to our watersheds with education, gratitude and action
- Celebrate and enliven the sacredness of water
- Inspire people within and beyond our organization about the value of Blue Communities
- Host workshops, films and discussions about water issues
- Advocate in solidarity with others protecting water from pollution and privatization
- Witness how water touches our social, economical, political and personal lives