Mount talk spotlights Catholic social justice teachings for the modern world

April 11, 2017

Dominican Sister of Hope Sr. Bette Ann Jaster, OP, presented “The Catholic Social Justice Teachings Made Real and Active in our Time” on April 11 at Mount Saint Mary College. 


According to Sr. Bette Ann Jaster, OP, a Dominican Sister of Hope, nurturing one’s family and community isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s ingrained in the Catholic experience.

“The Gospel urges us,” explained Sr. Jaster, “and the world needs what we have to offer.”

In Sr. Jaster’s presentation “The Catholic Social Justice Teachings Made Real and Active in our Time” on April 11 at Mount Saint Mary College, she said that the Catholic faith is steeped with directives to aid one’s fellow man, a cherished tradition carried out over the 800 years since the Dominican Order was formed. The order’s long held values of community, study, prayer, and ministry can be applied in the ever-changing sociopolitical landscape of the modern world, she said.

There’s seven themes of Catholic social teaching, noted Sr. Jaster.

  1. Life and dignity of the human person: The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred.
  2. Call to family, community, and participation: Supporting families and participating in community will strengthen the common good.
  3. Rights and responsibilities: human dignity and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met.
  4. Option for the poor and vulnerable: It is the Catholic responsibility to care for the poor and vulnerable members of society first.
  5. The dignity of work and the rights of workers: Work is a way of contributing to God’s creation. Workers’ basic rights must be protected.
  6. Solidarity: We are one family, regardless of race or creed. Always love thy neighbor.
  7. Care for God’s creation: Caring for the Earth is our responsibility.

Sr. Jaster is an aficionado of experimental Earth education – creative ways to respond to needs of persons and planet. An originator of CO-OP for Earthsake at Mariandale in Ossining, N.Y., she supports using principles of contemplation, cooperation, and collaboration in community gardening, eco-beneficial planting, beekeeping, resisting injustices and supporting indigenous, poor, marginalized, multicultural, and intergenerational persons.

The talk is sponsored by the Division of Philosophy and Religious Studies and the Mount’s Catholic and Dominican Institute (CDI). CDI promotes the Mount’s heritage of St. Dominic, advances the Dominican charism of study and service, provides a forum for discussion of contemporary ethical issues, and enhances Catholic and Jewish dialogue. The Institute welcomes persons of varied faiths and acknowledges different religious traditions as essential to the college’s intellectual and spiritual life.