Search Results for: Laudato Si

The Power of Little Daily Actions

June 14, 2020

By Clara Lombardi, communications specialist

Anne is growing a garden. Sister Mary lifts up the natural world through articles and poetry. Sister Anna has committed to at least one meatless meal a week. Kathy opts for reusable produce bags instead of plastic. Colleen and her daughter are planting flowers to attract bees.

A photo of Anne Searl, director of human resources for the Sisters of Mercy, Mid-Atlantic, has begun a vegetable garden in her backyard. Anne is inspired by Laudato Si’ to not only grow food for her family but to grow in her own appreciation for the generosity of Earth!
Anne Searl, director of human resources for the Sisters of Mercy, Mid-Atlantic, has begun a vegetable garden in her backyard. Anne is inspired by Laudato Si’ to not only grow food for her family but to grow in her own appreciation for the generosity of Earth!

Pope Francis writes, in Laudato Si’, “There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions.”

Little daily actions are not small. They build on each other, expand us and connect with everyone else’s little daily actions. They fuel and strengthen the larger actions and movements that create a just and equitable world.

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Advice from Laudato Sí during COVID-19

May 14, 2020

By Carmina M. Chapp

Laudato Sí week is happening from May 16th-24th

This month, the Church celebrates the fifth anniversary of Laudato Sí, Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter On Care for Our Common Home. It is a beautiful work, particularly in its emphasis throughout on the concept of “relationship”—with God, with each other and with nature. It pushes past a piecemeal approach that considers environmental concerns in isolation to an exploration of the deeper question of the meaning of life itself.

A photo of Sebago Lake at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine in Standish, Maine.
Sebago Lake at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine in Standish, Maine.

When we ask ourselves what kind of world we want to leave behind, we think in the first place of its general direction, its meaning and its values. Unless we struggle with these deeper issues, I do not believe that our concern for ecology will produce significant results. But if these issues are courageously faced, we are led inexorably to ask other pointed questions: What is the purpose of our life in this world? Why are we here? What is the goal of our work and all our efforts? What need does the earth have of us? (Laudato Si #160)

My meditation on these words of Pope Francis have led me to appreciate more and more the need to view our current environmental crisis through the lens of mercy—a mercy offered by God the Creator toward me, who has, either purposefully or inadvertently, failed to care for our common home. I include inadvertently because, though I can take full responsibility for my intentional sins against nature, I am also very affected by the culture in which I live, enslaved by it more than I care to be. By pondering these questions of meaning, I am slowly scraping away the cultural influences that entrap me and replacing them with the Gospel.

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On 50 Years of Having Mercy on Earth

April 22, 2020

By Sister Anne Curtis

This month marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. I well remember being part of that first one, as a senior in high school. I skipped class that day (with my parents’ okay, of course) to go to a teach-in being held at the Rochester [New York] Institute of Technology. What I recall most clearly these many years later is the energy. Thousands of young people gathered because they were concerned for our planet.

A protestor with a sign saying, "There is no Planet B" at an Earth Day protest.

As I touch back into that time, I am aware that so much has followed in terms of new regulations and laws to clean up and protect the environment. Nevertheless, 50 years later, the urgency has never been greater and the stakes have never been higher. We are in an environmental emergency and a climate breakdown. We are living in the midst of a global pandemic. However, I’d offer that what we are fundamentally experiencing a spiritual crisis—manifested in the degradation of Earth, disrespect toward other living beings and lifestyles based on consumerism. Pope Francis, in Laudato Sí, spoke of the pressing need to articulate a spiritual response to this ecological crisis and to “feel intimately united with all that exists,” recovering in the very depths of our being “our capacity for communion with the natural world.”

As we look around, it would be easy to feel hopeless. However, many are beginning to wake up to a new relationship with our world, with each other and with ourselves. We are getting a lesson in real time about our interconnectedness with ALL life. Young people have risen up once again across the globe demanding that we take care of our beautiful planet!

So, what is ours to do and to be on this 50th anniversary of Earth Day?

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Addressing the Damage Caused by Human Abuse of God’s Creation

October 3, 2017

By Sister Suzanne Gallagher

Sister Suzanne is a member of the Global Catholic Climate Movement’s Laudato Si’ animators program, which trains interested Catholics to engage parishes, schools, communities of women religious and other groups to live out Pope Francis’ call to care for our Common Home.

Sisters of Mercy standing around a giant globe following Sister Suzanne’s Season of Creation presentation.

Sisters gather for a photo following Sister Suzanne’s Season of Creation presentation. From left: Sisters Joan Scary, Sue Gallagher, Kathleen Ann McKee, Patricia Leipold, Alice Mary Meehan, Miriam Theresa Lavelle and Bonita Smith.

My interest in becoming a Laudato Si’ Animator seemed to be part of a natural movement from working on issues to protect our Earth, which is a Critical Concern of the Sisters of Mercy, to contemplating the expression of Pope Francis’ urgency to “care for our common home” as he urged in his encyclical, Laudato Si’, published in 2015. Encouragement to truly “care” for Earth came directly from witnessing what so many people are doing, putting their spirit, voice and body on the line to make a difference in sustaining all life and supporting movements and advocacy efforts. It reminds me of one of my favorite Laudato Si’ quotes: “Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to address the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation” (#14).

Laudato Si’ Animators Program

In the second iteration of the animators program in which I participated, 364 people registered to participate. Catholics from Kenya, Philippines, Australia, United Kingdom, United States and other countries have participated in the program, which is offered in three additional languages, with more programs to be offered in the future.

The program was comprised of several components including: three webinars containing presentations from international experts, online discussion sessions, regional calls and planning a final project. All these components were available online. I appreciated the opportunity to reflect on the material from these webinars because while portions of the lessons were a refresher, much was new and held a deeper learning.

Engaging Others to Respond

In response to Pope Francis’ call to care for our Common Home, the Season of Creation is celebrated by people of faith beginning on September 1, World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, to October 4, Feast of St. Francis. For the final project, I assisted in planning Season of Creation presentations in five retirement locations across the Mid-Atlantic Community of the Sisters of Mercy. These sessions included prayer, video, reflection and dialogue among participants along with a call to action to sign the Laudato Si’ pledge. Signers pledge to: 1) pray for and with creation, 2) live more simply, and 3) advocate to protect our common home.

In expanding my own knowledge through this program, I have in turn shared these helpful resources with others. One resource that I found very valuable is entitled How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: Responses to the most common skeptical arguments on global warming. This series of articles, among others, boosted my courage to engage others who might have different ideas on this topic.

Being a participant in the Animators Program has been both a call and a challenge and has assisted me in developing a “new consciousness” in working “zealously toward the sustainability of all life” (Chapter 2017 Recommitment). I encourage others to participate!

If you are interested in becoming a Laudato Si’ animator, please contact Marianne Comfort of the Institute Justice team at mcomfort@sistersofmercy.org.

How Do You Protect Creation?

September 27, 2017

By Angela Lincoln, teacher at Assumption High School, Louisville, Kentucky

Angela is a member of the Global Catholic Climate Movement’s Laudato Si’ animators program, which trains interested Catholics to engage parishes, schools, communities of women religious and other groups to live out Pope Francis’ call to care for our Common Home.

Angela Lincoln in her classroom at Assumption High School.

I remember waiting patiently for the release of Laudato Si’. As a teacher at Assumption High School in Louisville, Kentucky, and the director of our school’s Environmental Concerns Committee, I kept telling the students that Pope Francis was preparing a very special teaching on caring for creation and that once it was published we would have much to discuss. Unfortunately, Laudato Si’ came out in the middle of June, so we couldn’t begin to unpack it together until the following fall.

As I’ve worked with Laudato Si’ over the past two years, I realize the depth and challenge of the encyclical’s message will give our school community ideas to process and implement for a lifetime.   Read More »

Living Laudato Si’ Demands More Than Adopting “Green” Practices

June 17, 2016

By Marianne Comfort, Institute Justice Team

Reflection group on Laudato Si’ in Belize: Sister Sarita Vasquez, Associate Marta Mitchell, Anita Zetina (Director of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mercy Center), meteorologist Frank Tench, Sister Carolee Chanona, entrepreneur Molly Doley and Sister Caritas Lawrence.

Reflection group on Laudato Si’ in Belize: Sister Sarita Vasquez, Associate Marta Mitchell, Anita Zetina (Director of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mercy Center), meteorologist Frank Tench, Sister Carolee Chanona, entrepreneur Molly Doley and Sister Caritas Lawrence.

A year ago, I was joining in the celebrations of the release of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ and its strong messaging about the need to respond to the “cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.” Now it’s time to celebrate how the themes of this important document are being lived out

Lots of people report eliminating purchases of bottled water, recycling and composting more, using fewer disposable products, preparing more meatless meals, and buying more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Those are worthy immediate responses, but Pope Francis is challenging us to take more radical action. His critique of societies that prioritize financial markets and corporate profits over the needs of Earth and all people calls for an overhaul of our way of life. And that only comes out of deep prayer, reflection and discernment about what is truly ours to do individually and collectively.   Read More »

Laudato Si’ for the Church and the World

November 23, 2015

By Sister Áine O’Connor, Mercy Global Action Coordinator at the United Nations

Pope Francis: Pope Francis blesses people during a meeting on November 12. Credit: Daniel Ibaenz/CNA

Pope Francis: Pope Francis blesses people during a meeting on November 12. Credit: Daniel Ibaenz/CNA

People of faith, including Sisters of Mercy, have long been standing in solidarity with marginalized peoples and Earth and challenging unjust economic, political and social systems that cause poverty, violate human rights, and exploit and degrade Earth and our climate. But as an interconnected collective, these were issues and challenges you rarely heard mentioned from pulpits.

In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis affirms these as integral components of Catholic Social Teaching:

“If we are truly concerned to develop an ecology capable of remedying the damage we have done, no branch of the sciences and no form of wisdom can be left out … The development of the Church’s social teaching represents such a synthesis with regard to social issues; this teaching is called to be enriched by taking up new challenges “(63).

For me one of the most important, and most challenging, aspects of Laudato Si’ is Pope Francis’ appeal that we “must acknowledge the human origins of the ecological crisis “(101). Our prevailing economic, political and social systems have significantly helped to create the grave and unjust global poverty, inequality, water and climate concerns of our day. To undo the widespread injustice in our world and pursue the common good, we must have frank conversations about these systems and their short-term goals, which are so often driven by power and profits. “We fail to see the deepest roots of our present failures, which have to do with the direction, goals, meaning and social implications of technology and economic growth,” he writes (109).   Read More »

Racism: The Word that Does Not Appear in Laudato Si’

November 16, 2015

By Sister Karen Donahue

Sisters Cora Marie and Georgine discuss strategies for dismantling racism at a recent anti-racism workshop.

Sisters Cora Marie and Georgine discuss strategies for dismantling racism at a recent anti-racism workshop.

The word “racism” does not appear in Laudato Si’. At first glance this appears to be a serious oversight. However, I believe that Pope Francis is calling us to the deeper conversion that is essential if we are to dismantle racism.

As a woman of white, I have had to face my internalized racial superiority and deepen my realization of how economic, political and cultural systems work to benefit me and other people of white.   Read More »

“Laudato Si’”: A Perspective from South America

August 24, 2015

By Sister Ana Maria Siufi

Sister Ana Maria Siufi is a Sister of Mercy and justice advocate living in Patagonia. She shares this reflection on Pope Francis’ recent encyclical, “Laudato Si.’”

The words emerged from those who are marginalized and invisible.

The words emerged from those who are marginalized and invisible.

As I was reading the encyclical, my heart lit up like the hearts of the disciples of Emmaus. I felt happy because the Spirit is offering a bright light to a world walking in darkness.

I also felt that it wasn’t a comfortable document freshly dispatched from an office, but rather words emerging from among the marginalized and invisible, the creatures that have disappeared, those without rights; words that carry smells of soil, oil-covered sands, garbage dumps; words that would surely upset a few, yet would inspire others to develop a new consciousness and way of living as members of our common home.   Read More »

Reflection on “Laudato Si’”

July 17, 2015

By Sister Mary-Paula Cancienne, Ph.D

Considering the present condition of Earth’s environment, if St. Francis were here today, he might say to Pope Francis, the chemist, “Finalmente”—something akin to “Oh my God, finally.”

Pope Francis at the foot of an Our Lady of Fatima statue in St. Peter's Square

Pope Francis in front of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima in St. Peter’s Square. Credit: Daniel Ibañez/Catholic News Agency

While popes before him have addressed the condition of the overall environment of Earth, which includes the intermingling of the natural world with social life and its structures, Pope Francis dives deep into the thick of it with his encyclical, “Laudato Si’.” He is to be thanked for stepping out so boldly on this topic, which is itself connected to every facet of our lives. Like Francis, we should remember and recognize the many, many women and men who have worked, suffered and even died over the decades as they exclaimed that we need to change how we live, do business and measure economic wealth. Francis concurs with them, and he pulls no punches.

However, there is one area where he does pull a punch, and it will remain problematic until it is dealt with honestly and thoroughly, as it is a significant linchpin in the overall strategy if we are going to move forward in a new direction of hope.

In paragraph 118 Francis rightly claims that we need a new anthropology, asserting that there “can be no renewal of our relationship with nature without a renewal of humanity itself. There can be no ecology without an adequate anthropology.” More so, he claims, “Human beings cannot be expected to feel responsibility for the world unless, at the same time, their unique capacities of knowledge, will, freedom and responsibility are recognized and valued.” The difficulty here for Francis is that he leads a global church that continues to not deal with its own “inadequate anthropology,” as it remains rooted in an androcentric (male-centered) worldview with androcentric practices and authority.   Read More »