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The Daughters of the Holy Spirit in the Age of Laudato Si

Echoes of a Province Gathering.

Last April, the US Province had planned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the 5th anniversary of Laudato Si at our annual Information Day but the pandemic put that on hold for a year. This April’s Information Day was held on Zoom which did allow participation from both sides of the country and St. Joseph Living Center. The morning session was the financial report for Sisters only. In the afternoon, the Sisters were joined by Associates and Consecrated Seculars for the session entitled: The Daughters of the Holy Spirit in the Age of Laudato Si' presented by climate activist Sr. Kathleen Deignan, CND. She stressed that this is a critical moment, a time of tremendous peril and a time of tremendous promise, a moment of calamity and a moment of grace. Our great work is to respond to the summons in Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si to hear the cry of Earth and the cry of the poor.

She outlined some of the aspects of the current climate crisis, this time of the great warming, of great extinctions. Scientists warn that we as the human race, the dominant force on the planet, have only 7 years to imagine our way out of this crisis. We are not climate scientists. Our work is to be a sacred, spiritual force for the planet, to be prophets. “Our Sister, Mother Earth herself ordains us to be prophets of the new creation and intercessors for the sustainability of our common home.” We have known that our retirement communities are power houses of prayer, but all of us women religious are called to gather in the “upper room”, to await the authentic fire of the Spirit, to pray f, to fast, to intercede. All of us, no matter our circumstance, can and need to pray for our Mother Earth, to intercede for her...

We are in the process of transformation of ourselves and our world. We are called to study the Laudato Si document, to ask ourselves how and how much of Earth’s resources we are using. When asked ‘What can one person do?’ Sr. Kathleen’s response was “Stop being one person – join your voice with others.” It is also necessary to support the next generations, to nurture the young who will be faced with the burdens of climate change through teaching, mentoring, being prayer partners, perhaps endowing scholarships for environmental studies.

Pope Francis has said: “Let us be protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.” With Joanna Macy we pray that future generations, if there is a livable world for them, look back at this epochal transition we are making to a life-sustaining society and call this the time of the Great Turning.

Sister Janet Lewis, DHS. Published on 24 April 2021


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