by ROWENA OREJANA
American Sister Margaret Mayce, OP, NGO representative of the United States-based Dominican
Leadership Conference (the DLC) to the United Nations, has encouraged New Zealanders to keep
asking questions and challenging the distortions of truths in our time.
Everyone is aware of the distortion of truths, she said — like one just needs to work hard to
have a better life. But most ignore those distortions, because we all have something invested in the way things are.
“The questions become: What will be the tipping point for each of us? What will it take to
get each of us to be open to that profound level of inner conversion so that we can more free to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done?” she asked.
“My goal is to raise awareness in the hope that you will start to ask questions that need to
be addressed,” she said.
Sr Margaret was invited by The Peace Place–Aaiotanga to talk about the UN and her work there.
She explained that this is what NGO representatives do at the United Nations. “We advocate
for the needs of people and the needs of planet. We keep asking the questions that need
to be asked, and they are questions of substance that deal with national priorities,” she said.
Sr Margaret said that by asking the questions, they bring the moral and ethical dimensions to the debate.
“The decisions that are made impact people and Earth. So there’s a moral and ethical dimension
there that needs to be lifted up because, more often than not, it’s not found in general discourse,” she said.
Sr Margaret said the distortion of truths include the belief that the Earth and its resources
are there simply for our use. “We don’t live in a planet with infinite resources. Earth’s resources are limited,” she said.
She said that at the United Nations in New York there are about 45 Catholic religious congregations of men and women who meet monthly for prayer, conversations and support.
On the NGO committees are people who represent all possible faith and humanitarian organisations.
“There’s no competition. We are men and women together on an equal plane and we are there to be a voice for people and for the needs of the planet,” she said.
She admitted, however, that the priorities of UN member states do not often reflect what is written in the UN declarations and that it is often hard to get their points heard.
“We say the same things over and over again. It’s like water dripping ever so slowly onorganisations.
“There’s no competition. We are men and women together on an equal plane and we are there to be a voice for people and for the needs of the planet,” she said.
She admitted, however, that the priorities of UN member states do not often reflect what is written in the UN declarations and that it is often hard to get their points heard.
“We say the same things over and over again. It’s like water dripping ever so slowly onorganisations.
“There’s no competition. We are men and women together on an equal plane and we are there to be a voice for people and for the needs of the planet,” she said.
She admitted, however, that the priorities of UN member states do not often reflect what is written in the UN declarations and that it is often hard to get their points heard.
“We say the same things over and over again. It’s like water dripping ever so slowly on a rough stone. Over the course of time the surface of the stone becomes smooth. But only because
of the persistence and the consistency of the dropping of water,” she said.
“That’s what we are all engaged in on a local level. When we try to confront these powers-that-
be and bring them back down to reality to do what needs to be done. But the truth is, we can’t
stop. We have to keep at it.”
She called on New Zealanders to keep doing their bit because in this world where everything
is interdependent, every little thing counts.
“Never underestimate the smallest acts. The smallest challenge at the end of the day makes a
big difference, even if you don’t see the results,” she said.

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