On Sunday, November 14, Pope Francis launched the Laudato Sí Action Platform, based on his second encyclical subtitled "On Care of Our Common Home." We, the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill, are committed to protecting the environment, as we clearly state in our Mission Statement and our land ethic. On Monday, November 15, we held a prayer service at 4 p.m. in Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel to formally launch our action plan for Laudato Sí.
The Laudato Sí Action Platform is a seven-year plan with the goal of achieving an integral ecology. The Pope invites all people, regardless of background or religion, to attain integral ecology by believing and acting on the understanding that everything is connected. The cry of the poor and the cry of the earth are not two separate crises. The Pope urges us to examine how the relationship between consumerism and our throw-away culture hurts marginalized people, community resources, and our earth's environment. If we work together to solve societal ills, we can eradicate poverty and save our planet.
The conviction that our earth needs to be protected is not new. In 1854, beautiful and prophetic statements on the environment were made by Chief Seattle. The following gives us an idea of what he believed in.
Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother? We are part of the earth, and it is part of us. This we know; all things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. – Chief Seattle
During our prayer gathering, each Sister received index cards on which we wrote what work we have done to help protect our “our common home” and what we will do to increase and improve upon our actions. These cards will be revisited in the months ahead, and together we will brainstorm ways on how to reach our Laudato Sí goal of living an integral ecology.
In addition to the prayer service, we wrote a public letter of commitment in support of the Laudato Sí Action Platform. Pope Francis hopes this will be an ecumenical and secular movement, so that any parish, organization, or group, regardless of background or religious belief, can commit to the principles of Laudato Sí. For more information on enrolling a commitment and action plan, visit the Laudato Sí Action Platform.
– Sister Christine Ferrar, OP
Sister Christine recently returned to New York
after 40 years of ministry in Montana.