Springtime seems to be the time of year when many humans in our part of the world become more active in the outdoor world. We see the blossoms on the trees, flowers, and plants are poking through the earth that was once frozen, and new life is growing from pruned trees and vines. It’s a time of greater awareness of the beauty and marvels of creation. At least this is what we see around our campus. Unfortunately, this is not true in many parts of the world. This is the challenge that our world must deal with now. We are reminded by the bishops of southern Africa that “Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation.” (LS 14).
Last August, the Dominican Sisters~Grand Rapids made our commitment to enter into the seven-year process toward ecological conversion. The Laudato Si Action Platform (LSAP) Committee, made up of Sisters and Associates, with the support of the Care of Creation Committee, continues to explore ways to bring our commitment to life. Proposing actions is really only one part of this process and in a sense, it is the easiest part. The more challenging part of this process is the CONVERSION of the person, the community, and the world. Conversion requires much more than actions that can often be superficial and short lived.
Pledge to Pursue Laudato Si’ Action Plan
At this moment, we reaffirm our commitments to justice and our understanding of integral ecology. We are ready to engage with the movement of the Laudato Si’ Action Plan which aspires to make communities around the world totally sustainable. ~ Affirmed at General Assembly on August 6, 2021
Intensive Study of Goals
The LSAP committee is working toward conversion. We are each convinced that our own small actions can make a difference, and we are each making changes through personal and congregational efforts. We do recognize that our Congregation, both Sisters and Associates, has been doing a great deal for many years. We have been very active in many of the areas that the Laudato Si goals address. Our goal now is to grow in our understanding and greater involvement in each of the 7 LS goals that will lead to our ecological conversion.
Working Toward Conversion
The LAUDATO SI’ ACTION PLAN COMMITTEE met recently to strategize on how we might move forward toward our goal to grow in our understanding and greater involvement in each of the seven LS goals that will lead to our ecological conversion. Each member of the group took responsibility for one of the goals to explore how we as a Congregation have already undertaken study, action, and prayer in our common life.
We will be inviting Sisters and Associates to join us in this study. Our goal is to gain a greater understanding of the specific goal that will lead toward concrete actions we can take and/or enable others to take. After we have completed this study, we will evaluate our status. We will then decide if we will continue the study process with a second goal, in which we have less interest or knowledge, in an effort to stretch and broaden our thinking as well as move us toward concrete actions.
Over the next several months, each group will explore a goal with questions to understand our strengths and weaknesses relative to each goal. We will try to surface what opportunities and challenges are inherent in going forward in developing a measurable and meaningful plan. As Sister Sandy indicated, you are invited to join one of the goal groups at this time. It is our hope that this initial process will be able to give a preliminary report in the next eight weeks. That report will give recommendations of where we might put our emphasis for further study and planning.
The Goal groups include:
RESPONSE TO THE CRY OF THE EARTH — Phyllis Supancheck OP, Lisa Mitchell (Associate)
RESPONSE TO THE CRY OF THE POOR — Rosemary O’Donnell OP, Joan Williams OP, Mary Catherine Fodrocy OP
ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS — Brigid Clingman, Joyce Ann Hertzig OP, Sandy Delgado OP
ADOPTION OF SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLES — Gretchen Sills OP, Julia Nellett OP
ECOLOGICAL EDUCATION: Cynthia Bailey (Associate), Ann Mason OP, Dolorita Martinez OP
ECOLOGICAL SPIRITUALITY: Mary Ann Barrett OP, Mary Louise Stauder OP, Nancy Koehler (Associate)
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT/ACTION: Brigid Clingman OP