Pope Francis’ papal encyclical on the environment released June 18, 2015 was a call to the world about the interconnection of all creation.

In November 2021, the Church called upon Catholics and all people to join a seven-year initiative, Laudato Si Action Platform, to focus on redefining and rebuilding our relationship with each other and our common home.

“What does Laudato Si’ mean?” The words mean, “Praise be to you (my Lord)”. The line is a reference to the writings of St. Francis of Assisi who reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us.

“Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs.” ~ Canticle of the Creatures in Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1.

In this moment in time, we are called to become conscious of those efforts and to RECOMMIT ourselves to continue forward.  Grand Rapids Dominican Sisters Pledge

Our Congregation has, for many years, used the DOMINICAN CALL TO JUSTICE as the foundation of our justice responses: Climate Justice, Economic Justice, Human Trafficking, Migration/Immigration and Peace and Security of All Life. A key concept that has arisen from our justice responses and study of Laudato Si’ is that of INTEGRAL ECOLOGY: an integrated and holistic approach to political, social, economic, and environmental problems.

Integral ecology demands that we pay attention to how any and all justice issues are connected to one another. An Integral Ecology mindset will move us to concern about how all justice issues interconnect with one another. This mindset will allow us to view the Laudato Si’ Action Plan not simply as an environmental project but as loving care for all Creation.

 

Our Pledge — Affirmed at General Assembly on August 6, 2021

We have been invited by Pope Francis to join with myriad institutions and individuals of the Church to journey toward integral Ecology. We undertake with courage, conviction, and compassion the responsibility to Care for Earth, our Common Home, and to stand with people who have been impacted by climate change, poverty, violence, and exploitation. We desire to understand the interconnections of all creation and to undertake a conversion journey. We, who live in our evolving universe, engage as Co-creators with God to promote justice, to advocate with the powerless and oppressed, and to sustain practices which provide opportunity for all humanity to live fully human lives.

We pledge to join with others to integrate the seven goals of the Laudato Si Action Platform into our lived reality as Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids.

 

What is the Laudato Si Action Platform?

“The Laudato Si’ Action Platform is a unique collaboration between the Vatican, an international coalition of Catholic organizations, and “all men and women of good will.” (LS 3) Taking a truly ground-up approach, it is rooted in the strengths and realities of communities around the world, empowering all to take “decisive action, here and now” as we journey towards a better future together. (LS 161)

The intent of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform is to empower the universal Church to achieve total sustainability in the holistic spirit of integral ecology. The human family faces increasing risks of hunger, disease, migration, and conflict due to climate change and environmental degradation, unfortunately, the most vulnerable suffer above all.

Action is urgently needed. Our Creator called the human family to be the steward of creation, but we have neglected that call. Our hotter, dirtier, deader planet is driving up the risk of suffering. The most vulnerable suffer above all.

Discerning a response to the ecological crisis is a profound act of care. At this kairos moment, action is needed. The Laudato Si’ Goals guide our actions. They redefine and rebuild our relationship with each other and our common home. Their holistic approach acknowledges the planetary limits of all socio-economic systems and the human roots of the ecological crisis. They call for a spiritual and cultural revolution to realize integral ecology.

The Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids initiated Congregation-wide activities that include: evaluating where we stand on the road to sustainability, reflecting on the principles of integral ecology, and making a plan to take action. Dominican Associates, our ministry Dominican Center Marywood at Aquinas College, employees, and friends of our Congregation have entered this transformative time with Sisters.

 

Engaged in Studying the Goals

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.  (read more)

 

There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions, and it is wonderful how education can bring about real changes in lifestyle.

The Vatican’s seven-year Laudato Si’ Action Platform calls the worldwide Catholic community and “all men and women of good will” (LS 3) to publicly engage in the work of transformation through integral ecology.

“We are not faced with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the underprivileged, and at the same time protecting nature.” Laudato Si’ Section 139

 

Goals of The Laudato Si’ Action Platform

  • Responding to the cry of Earth
  • Responding to the cry of the poor
  • Building ecological economies
  • Adopting simple lifestyles
  • Creating ecological education
  • Recovering ecological spirituality
  • Promoting community action and advocacy

"Our Common Home One Human Family" Video Series

The 12 videos (3-5 minutes each) in this series, “Our Common Home One Human Family,” offer thoughtful exploration of some of the basic themes, principles, and values expressed in Laudato Si (On the Care of Our Common Home). Sister Mary Catherine Fodrocy OP was moved to create this video series in 2021, when the COVID pandemic limited personal contact. Individual and groups are appreciating this transformative contemplative study experience.

Access videos at https://www.grdominicans.org/introducing-our-common-home-one-human-family-laudato-si-video-series/

Laudato Si' Study

Module 1  Project Overview by Brigid Clingman OP

Module 2  Care of Our Common Home by Lisa Mitchell, Associate

Module 3 Ecological Economics, 3rd Goal of Laudato Si’ by Brigid Clingman OP

Module 4 Grand Rapids Climate Coalition by Cynthia Bailey, Associate

Module 5 Dominican Alliance EcoJustice by Mary Navarre OP

Module 6 Seven Interlocking Global Goals by Mary Catherine Fodrocy OP

Other helpful resources

Catechetical Teaching Ideas for Every Grade: A Focus on Laudato Si'

Catechists: Do you need Laudato Si’ classroom resources and materials? Get a copy of book recommendations, lesson plans and more, for all age groups. This resource was developed by the Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids and friends to assist catechists in sharing Pope Francis’ call to Care for Our Common Home.

View or download  Children’s Book Recommendations for Laudato Si 

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