LAUDATO SI – “Everything is connected”

Today, personally, and together, “we must listen to the cry of the poor, search for what in our society generates injustice and poverty, confront our awareness with the demands of the Gospel and the social teaching of the Church.”  Rule of Life n°18

Pope Francis’ encyclical on the care of our “common home” is a call to the Church, to the Congregation and to the world to hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor and to create connection. It is an invitation to all of us to work for a conversion of heart and a change of attitude by adopting new behaviours in the face of the effects of climate change, knowing that some are aware of it but not involved.

LAUDATO SI is a call for us, Daughters of the Holy Spirit, to commit ourselves to building a culture of togetherness, a culture of connection, with the awareness that a simple daily gesture can mark our intergenerational solidarity.
The Daughters of the Holy Spirit in the Vice Province of Nigeria are sensitising communities, churches and schools on waste separation, tree planting, clean-up programmes and the dangers of plastics.

– In our communities, we have started planting trees, vegetables, flowers and sorting our waste. – In our schools and churches, we educate young people to collect waste from our environment, to sort it properly by providing disposal facilities at strategic places in our communities, schools, and churches. – In some of the Institutions where we work – for example, the Amazing Grace Group of Catholic Schools in Osogbo, Osun State – we have established a new club called “LAUDATO SI CLUBS” where students meet to discuss the protection of the earth and zero tolerance in waste management. – Lectures and seminars have been organised by some of the sisters in the Vice-Province for the youth, parishioners and during the vocation rally, on the need to take care of our “common home”. – A tree planting programme, with the help of Sister Seun Grace Amulejoye, FSE, took place in Mary’s Catholic Church, Ayetoro, Osogbo Diocese, which resulted in the planting of trees in the church compound.  – Sister Adenike Adeniran, FSE, of St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Ota, Ogun State, gave a talk to the parishioners on the encyclical ‘Laudato Si’. She also spoke to the children of the parish’s Holy Childhood Association about the need to keep the church grounds clean, calling it “Operation Clean Grounds”: after Sunday Mass, the children go around the church to pick up litter and encourage their peers to do the same. – The FSE student sisters in Abuja, in conjunction with the children of St Anthony’s Catholic Church, Zuma ll Abuja, have been working to care for our ‘common home’ by collecting paper, nylon and plastic waste from the church environment after every gathering (cultural festival, Holy Childhood Association camp…) and burning it.

Pope Francis invites us, in the spirit of “Laudato Si”, to stay connected to nature. We must fall in love with the earth, our “common home”. We need to familiarise ourselves with the first written book of the Bible, which is “the book of nature”. Everything is interconnected in our “common home”, and therefore we must constantly connect and reconnect with nature.  Interconnectedness gives hope and even a simple action can bring about significant change. We are encouraged to stop dominating everything but to care for all that surrounds us. We must value all that God has created, for every creature is a book about God.  Ecological conversion and solidarity call us to listen to the cry of the earth as well as that of the poor and to make them our own.

 Creator God, we thank you for the beauty of all that you have created. We thank you for all the creation we enjoy. Create us anew, that we may recognise your work and become more responsible for it.

Justina Iyeoja Akubo, FSE – Vice Province of Nigeria. Published on 2 December 2022