Sr Jan Barnett and Josephite Justice Network members.

As we approach the World Day of Social Justice on 20 February, we are reminded of our communal duty to foster social development and equality for all.

Striving for justice is not a part-time vocation and should not be realised in solitude. As the Gospel so clearly indicates to us, our faith is tested in the way in which we serve and love our community. But how has such a simple message become misconstrued and lost along the way? Hopelessness.

Humanity has been grappling with the crippling fear that all hope has been lost for a better future. The new generation of dreams have been stained by the doom scrolling depicting proxy wars, food insecurity, housing crises, climate destruction and the unrelenting production of structural inequalities. Our world has been overwhelmed by the magnitude and frequency of these complex problems, driving us to the point of inaction whereby our attempts at justice may be deemed futile.

But what we have forgotten is that, in despair, courage is born. It is now more than ever, that we can design the blueprint for sustained equality and universal betterment. Whether we have been transported by social media, or have experienced injustice firsthand, we are living in an unprecedented time where each and every one of us have been exposed to a miscarriage of justice. It is time to break free from the tether of fear and confront the wrongs in our society.

Social justice requires us to get uncomfortable to provide comfort. Social justice demands us to get loud for those who are silenced. Social justice calls us to go beyond ourselves because we are inherently connected through Christ.

The re-writing of our story must take place now, before it is too late. Each of us are called to be change makers in our community, no matter our vocation.

On behalf of Sr Jan Barnett, Emilia Nicholas, Violet Cabral, and Vittoria Albanese, the Josephite Justice Network chapter has, is, and will be, about serving those on the edges and confronting the unjust systems which perpetuate discrepancies of power, wealth, and privilege. Perhaps your chapter will be about teaching – shaping the young minds of the world and instilling hope within them. Maybe you work within the arts and will brighten society with your bursts of colour and creativity. Or perhaps your chapter will be on the religious life speaking to the power of spirt and prayer against sorrow.

We are all responsible for a chapter in this book we call life and should not forget about our ultimate mission. It is easy to get caught up in the busyness and complexity of our world, but it should not stop us from protecting what’s most sacred – each other.

If we place our hope in Christ, we will be given the courage and renewal to soar to unimaginable heights. But it will only be together that we can achieve true social justice. As St Mary MacKillop once said, “so great is the strength we possess in our unity.”

Joelle Sassine
Josephite Justice Network