"No matter where you are, I, your God, will heal you and give you peace." Isaiah 57:19

At this time of national tragedy when the lives of untold thousands of people have been shattered by violence and fear resulting from terrorist attacks in the United States, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) express both shock and sorrow. While the details of the terrorist attack on United States landmarks are still unknown, we are sadly aware that thousands of people died or suffered injury. We condemn senseless acts of violence that show a complete disregard for human life, abhorrent wherever and whenever it occurs, here in the United States or elsewhere in the world.

We pray even as we grieve for the lives that have been lost and we commend them to our loving God. We join with the U.S. Catholic bishops and religious leaders of other faiths in offering prayers for healing to those who have suffered injury and pray that our God will comfort them. We express our condolences to the families and loved ones of those who died in this tragedy and pray that they will find comfort in their sorrows as we extend both spiritual and material support as we walk with them in the long journey to healing.

CMSM and LCWR are grateful for the many people, professionals and volunteers, who responded so quickly to the tragedies. We mourn with the families of the firefighters and police officers who gave their lives in service to others. We are united in grief within our religious families at news of the deaths at the World Trade Center of Franciscan Father Mychal Judge, New York City Fire Department Chaplain, and Holy Cross Father Francis E. Grogan, passenger on United Airlines Flight 175. We offer our condolences and prayers to their religious communities.

At this early stage of dealing with the tragedy, so many things are still unclear. The identities of those who plotted the attacks remain unknown; estimates of casualties increase daily. As shock and fear give way to sorrow and anger, we, individually and as a nation, may be tempted to call for action before sufficient information and facts are gathered. We could be tempted to respond to violence with violence of our own. We could be tempted to blame all people of a given nation, ethnicity, or ideology for the actions of a few.

CMSM and LCWR call on all people, especially people of faith, to seek truth and justice, witnessing to God’s forgiveness and reconciliation. In a word, we are called to be peacemakers in a wounded and chaotic world. We condemn all terrorist acts. At the same time, we call for restraint in our national and personal responses. Terrorism is not confined to the actions of September 11, 2001. Terrorism is a daily reality for many people throughout the world. We are united in our fear, sorrow, and vulnerability. We must also be united in our efforts to end terrorism and violence. We are equally united in efforts to renew and sustain right relationships grounded in mutual respect. Justice for all people is the sure foundation for peace. This is not the responsibility of national leaders alone; it is the responsibility of each person of faith, regardless of ethnic background, national heritage, and way of life.

At this time of national tragedy, recognizing and acknowledging worldwide violence and terrorism, we turn in prayer to our merciful and compassionate God. We pray that the God of all people bring healing to all victims of violence, especially at this time, the victims of violence here at home. We pray that from the ashes of this tragedy we will journey in hope to the promise of resurrection. We pray that relationships will be healed, that renewed life will emerge, and especially that peace, grounded in justice for all people, will prevail upon this earth. 

Kathleen Pruitt, CSJP Canice Connors, OFM Conv. 
President, LCWR President, CMSM