Statement of the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart on the Violence in the Nation’s Capitol

“For the love of God…” were the words that launched the founding of our congregation, the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart.  It is this same love of God that compels us to condemn the acts of violence against truth and democracy that we witnessed in our nation’s Capitol.

As citizens of the US, we were shocked but not surprised, that the rhetoric of hate that shapes the leadership of our country, permeated its very marrow, resulting in the needless death of 6 people and acts of domestic terrorism against the democracy we cherish.

Since 1890, we have partnered with people of color, with immigrants, refugees, and those seeking asylum in our country.  Engraved in our hearts is the suffering they have endured and the hope they cling to – to live in a democracy supported by a constitution and a rule of law that sees all people as God sees them.

Words and behavior matter.

We call on all elected leaders, by voice and by vote, to condemn the violence and vandalism that erupted in our cherished institution and the hateful rhetoric that incited it.

We call on all Church leaders, by voice and behavior, to guide us to our best selves. Speak the truth of the gospel, offering hope that God is indeed with us.

We call on ourselves to look closely at our words and actions, to repent of complicity that leads to division, to seek transparency in our witness.

The way forward is not clear. We grapple with much that divides us. “For the love of God”, let us begin anew the conversation.

-January 11, 2021





Words matter.  Yep, how many times have we heard that recently?  For that matter, how many times did our parents tell us that?

Also,what words are we hearing lately that cause us to wince or cringe?  Like proverbial water on a proverbial rock, the repetition of words erodes our sensitivity, until we scarcely hear what’s being said.

And yet.  What is being said, or implied? Do we agree, and repeat those words ourselves? Civility, here in Charm City (that’s Baltimore’s other title, which may be new – though not fake – news) used to be a local crusade, championed by a well-known radio host, Ron Smith.  Gracious words were encouraged, even on bumper stickers and by a popular prayer: “O Lord, make my words sweet and tender, for tomorrow I may have to eat them!”

May I suggest we all make an effort to turn up our various hearing devices, tune in to what’s wafting past us in the air, find a way to be sweet and tender even more than usual, and not add our ounce of negative or cynical flavoring to the word-salad spinning around us?  Shift the focus, season that salad with some gracious words, upbuild our sagging spirit: it can’t hurt, and we can hope it will help us!


Sr. Martha Pavelsky, MHSH