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It Is Good for Us to Be Here

Catholic Religious Institutes as NGOs at the United Nations
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This book, It Is Good for Us to Be Here, epitomizes the unique advocacy work of organized transnational actors underscoring the nexus between faith life and working for social development. NGOs of institutes of religious life have been the most influential faith-based NGOs at the United Nations. They have not only played a range of positive roles but have also affected UN decision making and its approach to global issues by the moral and ethical consciousness they bring to the entire process of peace, security, and development. Perhaps it is through such a range of positive roles that we can truly beat our “swords into ploughshares.” (Prof Joy U. Ogwu, Nigeria Ambassador to the United Nations) The community of Catholic sisters, brothers, and priests mark the UN every day through its many uncertain seasons in New York and Geneva—as they do in remote places and major cities all around the world. It is easy to be grateful for such a blessing, for such abundance! The inspiration and tenacity of individual sisters, brothers, priests and others like them, caring volunteers, have made important, sometimes remarkable differences. Their wisdom, compassion, and sense of the human family have been a steady source of energizing inspiration and community . . . in addition to often exceptional knowledge and experiences of the truly human condition. This presence educates us, teaches us, nourishes us, celebrates with us, and consoles us day by day. (Joe Cornelius Donnelly, Caritas Internationalis’ Permanent Delegate to UN) Inspired by the Gospel and the charisms of their communities, institutes of Catholic religious sisters (nuns), brothers, priests, and lay associates are important voices for human rights, justice, and the integrity of creation within the halls of the United Nations. While other books focus on the role of nongovernmental organizations in general or detail the presence of the official Catholic Church, this inspiring collection of essays speaks to the influential role of Catholic organizations in the system of global governance. By bringing together the personal experiences of fourteen leading NGO activists, this book shows what faith-based advocacy and prophetic witness looks like in the twenty-first century. This volume is a valuable resource for scholars, activists, church leaders, and anyone interested in understanding how religion and religious groups shape global political discourse. It is an ideal book for college courses and Christian communities interested in exploring the relationship between religion and politics, Catholic social teaching, and the prophetic mission of religious life. (Kevin Ahern, Manhattan College Author of Structures of Grace: Catholic Organizations Serving the Global Common Good)

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