July 10, 2020
Dear Xavier Community:
Earlier this summer, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the terrible suffering it has caused, our nation was horrified at the senseless and shameful killing of George Floyd, and focused our attention on the painful reality that racism and hatred continue to be prevalent in our communities. As we said in our June 2ndletter to the Xavier community in response to that tragedy, and the resulting social unrest, “we stand united with those who are in pain crying for a voice to be heard; crying for a nation where people are treated with dignity and respect proclaiming the God-given sanctity of each person’s life.” We committed ourselves not to rest until our prayers and actions for healing and justice are heard.
We want to thank you, the entire Xavier community, for the many letters, phone calls, and email messages we have received. We greatly appreciate the constructive ideas and suggestions that you have shared with us on how Xavier can help fight racial injustice and are deeply touched by the extraordinary support that we have received from the Xavier community amidst these challenging times. We are grateful to all who took the time to share their thoughts and their stories. Although we are unable to respond to every communication as we prepare to safely and effectively reopen for the upcoming school year, please know that we have read and listened to all of them.
As we stated in a recent letter to Xavier parents and students, now – more than ever – Xavier’s mission is critically important: to prepare young women of faith with knowledge, skills, and integrity to meet the challenges of a changing global society in a positive and productive manner celebrating unity in diversity. Rooted in the charism of Xavier’s founding religious community, the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary –freedom, education, charity and justice – we are a faith-filled community prepared to meet the challenges of our world as we pray, study, and implement the Bishops’ Pastoral Letters, Open Wide our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love (2018) and Brothers and Sisters to Us (1979) (usccb.org/racism). We join with Bishop Olmsted and heed his call throughout the Diocese of Phoenix to combat the sin of racism, and to unite our voices with the Black community, people of color, and all who are working for an end to mistreatment, discrimination and injustice.
In all classes and activities, Xavier will continue to bear faithful witness to the love of God as revealed in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, His saving work in the Paschal Mystery, and His presence in the world and the Church. Through the curriculum we teach and our daily engagement with our students, we will continue to illustrate Christ’s mandate to love God and neighbor. Following Sacred Scripture and Catholic Social Teaching, we affirm that everyone is our neighbor. As Dorothy Day wrote, “Christ is always with us, always asking for room in our hearts, and always inviting us to give him hospitality.” He does this through the voices of those around us, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status, gender, age, or any of the other ways we allow our differences to divide us. Xavier will continue to strive with our students to hear Christ’s invitation more clearly and to respond together in faith, hope and love.
Christ is the reason for our school and, as a Roman Catholic institution, Xavier is deeply committed to the dignity of each and every human life. Our values and our Catholic identity inform all that we teach, impart, and encourage at Xavier. For that reason, we will continue to work with the Diocese of Phoenix Catholic Schools office, the National Catholic Educational Association, and the Secretariat of Catholic Education of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to ensure that our school, our community and our curriculum truly reflect our Catholic faith.
For over 75 years, Xavier has been fighting injustice, endeavoring to provide young women the education and opportunities that too often had been denied them.As a school and community, we must continue to stand in solidarity with those who are vulnerable and oppressed. As stated by Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, we must commit ourselves to “removing racism and hate from our hearts and renewing our commitment to fulfill our nation’s sacred promise – to be a beloved community of life, liberty, and equality for all.” Eradicating the scourge of centuries of racism in our society will require a rigorous, comprehensive, and sustained effort but, much as Xavier began in 1943 to inspire and empower young women through education, we will lead the way once again by dedicating ourselves to affecting change that is positive, real, lasting, and reflective of our commitment to human dignity and justice.
Preparing our students academically, spiritually, and morally, within the context of our Catholic faith, to defend human dignity and justice, whenever and wherever they are attacked, is both a calling and a responsibility that we take very seriously. We have dedicated our lives to our mission, and we will continue to work tirelessly to fulfill it. We have never wavered on this promise, and we never will.
Thank you again for your support, your prayers, your love for Xavier, and your passion and commitment for the mission and values that the Xavier community holds dear. We will continue to update you on our plans and progress. May Mary, the Queen of Peace be our guide.
Sister Joan Fitzgerald, BVM
Sister Joan Nuckols, BVM
Sister Lynn Winsor, BVM
Vice Principal for Activities and Athletics