Introduction by Sister Amy McFrederick: As the heat wave rolled over the Eastern States and temperatures soared into the uncommon upper nineties these past weeks, those who have air conditioning may have cranked them up a few notches. But those who did not share that luxury could well stand in solidarity with the millions of refugees stuck in makeshift housing, as well as those who have lost home and belongings to recent floods, wild fires, and other disasters, who have no reprieve from the summer heat. Will such experiences call us to take note of scientists’ warnings about the effects of climate change and take action?
Many have read and been challenged by Pope Francis’ Encyclical “Laudato Si’ – Care of Our Common Home.” Among five Chapter Commitments embraced by the Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates in 2015 is: “We commit ourselves to be women (and men) of peace who: Foster God’s web of life personally, communally, and ministerially by advocating and supporting just policies and decisions to reduce the impact of global climate change.” Associate Judy Hardy was asked to share at our July Assembly how Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates are acting on this commitment. The following is her panel presentation:
On behalf of Sister Judy Morris, Justice Promoter, and the entire Eco-Justice committee I want say thanks for the overwhelming endorsement the Corporate Stance received from you.
The Eco-Justice Committee has produced and I have contributed to the development of the following materials: “Going Green in all the Seasons,” the “Water Witness” materials, the “Care of the Earth” video series, an annual Earth Day prayer, an eco-resource list and, with fellow Associates Karen Martens and Tom Winters, a 19 page packet of materials for Central Ohio Associates.
But this is not just about what Associates are doing, it’s about what Dominican Sisters and Associates in Mission are doing.
In part, here’s some of that:
- Sisters and Associates have studied and discussed the Pope’s “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home”
- The Congregation supports/provides resources for our farms and Eco-Centers where Sisters and Associates attend programs and volunteer their services.
- We support the use of Solar energy at Shepherd’s Corner to provide electricity for the Barn, at Heartland Farm solar heating for the hermitage and electricity for a water well, and solar air heating systems for homes in Montana. (Lame Deer, MT)
- Every Motherhouse has an Eco-Committee to coordinate Earth-saving activities in an institutional setting.
- We sponsor camps for kids to put them in contact with nature and the great outdoors in Louisiana, Kansas, Ohio, and Massachusetts.
And then there are efforts individually or in concert with other Sisters and Associates,.such as:
- Recycling paper and using both sides of a piece of paper
- Conserving H2O – in the shower or when brushing teeth
- Using cups, glasses or reusable plastic and metal water bottles
- Doing laundry and dishes only when having a full load
- Using cloth instead of paper napkins
- Writing to/contacting legislators or other public officials about eco issues, or writing letters to the editor
- Joining with others to protest the XL Pipeline, the Bluegrass pipeline, mountain top removal ,the School of the Americas (aka US Training Industrial Complex), and other causes
- Praying for the care of our Common Home , praying for all of God’s creation and especially praying for people most affected by climate change
- And the list goes on
We’re doing such little things you might think, but in the aggregate they matter.
And is there yet more that we might do?
- to reduce the impact of climate change
- to protect our lands
- to change our agricultural and business practices
- to advocate for the creation of global policies and laws that offer promise and hope to all
What we are presently doing and what we might do additionally will help ensure a future for our Common Home and for the generations that will come after us. This will be a part of our legacy as Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates. So thank you for all you are doing, for what you are about to do and, please keep on keeping on this!