Mercy Earth Challenge: Commit to a Year of Change!

April 1, 2020

By Sister Karen Donahue

As people of faith, efforts to address climate change are deeply rooted in our belief that we are all one and share kinship with all of creation. This idea was powerfully articulated by Pope Francis in his groundbreaking encyclical, Laudato Sí, On Care for Our Common Home, released on May 24, 2015.

To commemorate the 5-year anniversary, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas are launching an exciting year-long initiative to encourage our Mercy Family to do their part to care for creation: the Mercy Earth Challenge.

Launching on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day—April 22, 2020—the Mercy Earth Challenge will invite individuals throughout our Mercy Family and beyond into a year-long series of personal, communal and systemic actions throughout six distinct seasons:

  • Earth Day – Laudato Si’ Anniversary
  • Summer
  • Season of Creation (September 1 – October 4)
  • Advent (November 29 – December 24)
  • New Year’s Resolution 2021
  • Lent 2021 (February 17 – April 1)

As Pope Francis reminds us, “Every effort to protect and improve our world entails profound changes in ‘lifestyles, models of production and consumption, and the established structures of power which today govern societies.’” [Laudato Sí #5]

Pope Francis speaks of profound lifestyle changes that need to be made for the health of our planet. Although “profound changes” may seem intimidating, we know that our Mercy Family is up to the challenge!

As we prepare for this yearlong journey, reflect on these important questions:

  • How can I not simply recycle, but reduce, refuse (the wasteful bag, straw, etc.) and reuse?
  • How can I live gratefully and simply today?
  • How are my actions for Earth an expression of my faith?

Combating the ongoing climate crisis will take each of us doing our part. The Mercy Earth Challenge is not a sprint, it’s a year-long marathon of change. Are you ready to be part of our movement?


Sign-up for the Mercy Earth Challenge today!


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  1. Sister Carren Herring

    Hurray for Mercy! I’m grateful that we are leaders in this work.


  2. Sarah ("Sally") Sherman

    It is excellent that we can continue to challenge each other.
    The Mercy Earth Challenge is just not an option!


  3. Mary Jo Blankemeyer

    Let’s do it! Together!!


  4. Marianne A. Sheehan

    I attended the Catherine McAuley H.S.in Brooklyn, NY. 1957-1961.
    I entered the SIsters of Mercy Novitiate in Syosset, NY in 1961.
    I lived outside the Institute for one year to discern a life as a layperson for one year and asked dispensation of my vows in 1979.
    Upon return as an Associate in 1996, I have served with the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas as an Associate until the present day. 3/3/20/.


  5. Erencia Saipweirik, RSM

    Go Mercy. Great job in reminding us about protecting our home. (Earth)


  6. Kathy Wade

    I’m ready to be part of this movement!


  7. Jeannine Burch

    Thank you for providing the venue to make a positive difference!


  8. Marian Uba

    I am very excited about this opportunity!


  9. Kara Griffin

    In what format will this Mercy Earth Challenge come? I’ve signed up before and not sure what to look for?

  10. Pingback: 14 Earth Day events you can join from your screen - Catholic Mass Search

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  12. Bob Bartosiak

    On this Earth Day 2020 I commit to another year of expanding our environmental stewardship at Mercy By The Sea. Organic Vegetable gardens, kitchen and garden composting, care of our vernal pools,
    expanding the habitat of our native pollinators, and Monarch butterfly Waystation program.


  13. Nathan Cashion

    I can’t seem to find much orthodox Catholicism on this site or by this organization…

  14. Pingback: Here's what to expect for Laudato Si' Week as pope's ecology document turns five - Catholic Mass Search


  15. Kathy Kelly

    I want to thank Sr. Karen Donahue for the fine and crucially needed reflection posted today, June 3, on Common Dreams. Thank you also for your witness and words throughout the years embracing the RSM charisms.