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We don’t always have the luxury or ability to travel to near or far shores and immerse ourselves in the lives, culture, concerns, and joys of a people or a place. We can’t always find space in our psyches for yet another issue. And yet, to be curious, to step out of our comfort zone, to study a topic, somehow enriches our life spirit. So, why not consider a virtual retreat?

The Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids have a long commitment to Climate Justice. Ecological reflection leads us to acknowledge three truths: 1) the theological truth that creation, the precious common home for the whole of life, is God’s; 2) the scientific truth that human behavior is causing grave harm to the environment, even to the extent of changing the climate (Laudato Si); 3) and the moral truth that we individuals, groups, and nations have the duty to reverse this destructive trend. Pope Francis, in his 2015 address to the United Nations, gave voice to the rights of nature. Pope Francis’ Laudato Si is a call out to all people on Earth to Care for Our Common Home.

Our Congregation believes that we our called to respect and honor Life and Earth through the lifestyle choices we make, personally and collectively. Global Sisters Report’s virtual retreat: “Web of Life” offers a rich opportunity to explore the union of spirituality, science, and eco-justice.

“This eco-spiritual retreat features a series of reflections by theologians and scientists in settings as diverse as bustling Panama City, an organic farm and a tropical forest,” describes Global Sisters Report.

“This retreat is an opportunity to reflect on the need to shift the paradigm to save our planet and consider how we can help. As Maryknoll Sr. Melinda Roper says: “What we’re trying to do with these 10 days is to make a real contribution to the future of the quality of life on planet Earth. … Religion has a big role to play in that … the scientific world is challenging us to new lifestyles, to new ways of living our faith – and that’s very important to understand as we make political decisions and try to discover new lifestyles that don’t harm the planet.””

Horacio González, center, explains to the Web of Life group the reason for heavy sedimentation of Río Sabana: construction and agriculture companies upstream have stripped large sections of land, causing severe erosion. During the dry season, the water is clear, and the center pumps it uphill to the buildings for cleaning and other purposes. (Tracy L. Barnett)

Working with travel reporter Tracy Barnett, GSR invites readers to “immerse yourself through a series of blogs, photo galleries and videos… According to Global Sisters Report, “We’ve never done this before, but we’re willing to give it a try, and we invite you to come along. … Join for morning prayers and bird watches with an expert from Audubon and slosh through the tropical forest in the rainy season without worrying about boots and rain gear. We can listen to a biologist who was named one of National Geographic’s Emerging Explorers of 2017 – a big-cat expert who is a fierce defender of jaguars – and hope to spot an anteater, an agouti (a rodent with a cool name) or a coatimundi (a South American version of a raccoon), to name a few.”

While the 11-day retreat series launched Thursday, June 22 and goes through July 1, the calendar is of less importance than the opportunity to set your own perfect time. When you are ready, begin your personal retreat.

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