Solidarity: One Human Family


We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbor has global dimensions in a shrinking world. At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace. Pope Paul VI taught that if you want peace, work for justice. The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Prayer of Reflection

Almighty and ever-living God, empower your one human family to join hands on our journey of faith. Send us your Spirit of hope, so that we may work to alleviate human suffering and foster charity and justice in our world.


Watch (Until 4:09)

Read from the Bible

Luke 10:25-37

  • 25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”
  • 29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Galatians 5:14

  • 14 For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Leviticus 19:33-34

  • 33 When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. 34 The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

Read from the Catechism of the Catholic Church 

  • “Socio-economic problems can be resolved only with the help of all forms of solidarity: solidarity of the poor among themselves, between rich and poor, of workers among themselves, between employers and employees in a business, solidarity among nations and peoples. International solidarity is a requirement of the moral order; word peace in part depends upon this” (CCC, no. 1941)
  • The virtue of solidarity goes beyond material goods. In spreading the spiritual goods of the faith, the Church has promoted, and often opened new paths for, the development of temporal goods as well. And so throughout the centuries has the Lord’s saying been verified: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well”:
    • For two thousand years this sentiment has lived and endured in the soul of the Church, impelling souls then and now to the heroic charity of monastic farmers, liberators of slaves, healers of the sick, and messengers of faith, civilization, and science to all generations and all peoples for the sake of creating the social conditions capable of offering to everyone possible a life worthy of man and of a Christian. (CCC, no. 1942)
  • Communion in charity. In the sanctorum communio, “None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.” “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” “Charity does not insist on its own way.” In this solidarity with all men, living or dead, which is founded on the communion of saints, the least of our acts done in charity redounds to the profit of all. Every sin harms this communion. (CCC, no. 953)

Read from the Letters from the Popes


    • 1. “FRATELLI TUTTI”. With these words, Saint Francis of Assisi addressed his brothers and sisters and proposed to them a way of life marked by the flavour of the Gospel. Of the counsels Francis offered, I would like to select the one in which he calls for a love that transcends the barriers of geography and distance, and declares blessed all those who love their brother “as much when he is far away from him as when he is with him”. In his simple and direct way, Saint Francis expressed the essence of a fraternal openness that allows us to acknowledge, appreciate and love each person, regardless of physical proximity, regardless of where he or she was born or lives.
  • A “throwaway” world
    • 18. Some parts of our human family, it appears, can be readily sacrificed for the sake of others considered worthy of a carefree existence. Ultimately, “persons are no longer seen as a paramount value to be cared for and respected, especially when they are poor and disabled, ‘not yet useful’ – like the unborn, or ‘no longer needed’ – like the elderly. We have grown indifferent to all kinds of wastefulness, starting with the waste of food, which is deplorable in the extreme”.
  • HOPE
    • 54. Despite these dark clouds, which may not be ignored, I would like in the following pages to take up and discuss many new paths of hope. For God continues to sow abundant seeds of goodness in our human family. The recent pandemic enabled us to recognize and appreciate once more all those around us who, in the midst of fear, responded by putting their lives on the line. We began to realize that our lives are interwoven with and sustained by ordinary people valiantly shaping the decisive events of our shared history: doctors, nurses, pharmacists, storekeepers and supermarket workers, cleaning personnel, caretakers, transport workers, men and women working to provide essential services and public safety, volunteers, priests and religious… They understood that no one is saved alone.

Reflections from the Poor Handmaids and Saint Katharina Kasper

In a letter written in November, 1883 as a Christmas message to the American Sisters Katharina writes quite poignantly, “Regarding America, I do not know foreign countries or foreign Sisters. I only know Handmaids of Christ, filled with the spirit of their vocation and truly working in blessed ways.”  This is a beautiful expression of solidarity for those Sisters separated by an ocean and many miles of land on either side.  This gives a global dimension to what is more common among families, local neighborhoods and those committed around a common cause.

A century and more since those words were sent from the heart of our foundress  Poor Handmaids in America have borne witness to its reality.  Many have lived, served and bonded with other Poor Handmaids in Germany, England, India, Mexico, Vietnam, Nigeria, Kenya, Guatemala, Bolivia and Brazil.

These experiences have spilled over into solidarity with other religious congregations seeking peace and justice in the world as we joined them as partners in ministry or the sharing of resources. This was never more evident than during the six-year period of investigation of American women religious by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith during the years 2009 – 2015.  The Vatican office threatened the autonomy and existence of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious based on negative assumptions about the foundation of the lives of Catholic Sisters in America. The peaceful but bold solidarity of the religious congregations accompanied by that of many Catholic individuals and organizations ended the impasse of a very difficult and unjust situation with respect and integrity intact.

In solidarity with our brothers and sisters throughout the world Poor Handmaids of today take public stances on issues of injustice and have joined in peaceful protests against violence, discrimination and other forms of injustice.

Examples from the Foundation’s Work

  • Founded and operated a Community Resource Center for Refugees, walking alongside newcomers to our community, assisting them with their needs
  • Led the way to support a Black-owned mental heath care practice that strives to provide culturally competent services to individuals of all backgrounds
  • Launched a program to assist new moms in need by meeting them in their homes
  • Received 2016 Larry Wardlaw Humanitarian Award for supporting people living with HIV/AIDS


  • How can we act in solidarity through our work?
  • In what ways have community partners and initiatives from the past and present modeled solidarity?
  • What are indicators that an organization values and acts in solidarity?
  • What are the biggest hurdles to living and working in solidarity?

Additional Resources

The information above was compiled by Meg Distler, Mary Tyndall, and Mark Burkholder as a student capstone project for the Catholic Social Tradition and Philanthropy course offered by the Center for Social Concerns at the University of Notre Dame, and the Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities (FADICA) in the Summer of 2023.