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Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief.
Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now.
You are not obligated to complete the work,
But neither are you free to abandon it.
—The Talmud

As BVM vowed members and Associates, we are called to live in right relationship with all of creation. This covenant relationship is a freeing one, enabling us to risk responding to the urgent needs of our times according to our gifts and in keeping with our BVM mission.

We commit ourselves and we invite you, our circle of friends, to join the world community to rebuild our relationship with each other and our common home. We are called to participate in a Laudato Si’ Action Plan to respond to the cry of the poor and protect vulnerable resources through sustainability programs and integral ecology.

JOIN us in our efforts to act boldly, humbly, and courageously.

What does God ask of us
simply do justice,
love kindness,
and humbly walk with your God.
Micah 6:8 The Inclusive Bible.

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On Jan. 1, 2022, the BVM Leadership Team published the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary commitment statement as a guide for our willingness to listen to the cry of the Earth, to further ongoing ecological conversion, to integrate the Laudato Si’ Action Platform (LSAP) goals, to take bold concrete actions, to practice nonviolence, as we reconcile and heal the pain in creation and sow hope for peace.

What is Laudato Si’?

On May 24, 2015, Pope Francis released his environmental encyclical, Laudato Si, or “Praised Be” from the words of St. Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of the Sun.  Pope Francis urges that “all of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvement and talents.” This will not be an easy task, however, and will require honesty, courage and responsibility, as “humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption.” By asserting that “truly, much can be done,” he reassures us that “local individuals and groups can make a real difference.”  (San Diego Diocese LSAP p. 6)

Major Themes of Laudato Si’:

  • A moral and spiritual challenge. …
  • Care for God’s creation. …
  • Impact on the poor. …
  • Called to solidarity. …
  • Technological and economic development. …
  • Supporting life, protecting creation. …
  • A time to act. …
  • Hope and Joy.

What is LSAP?

The Laudato Si’ Action Platform invites a worldwide involvement in spiritual reflection and development of processes to understand and improve the destruction to our earthly environment and its inhabitants. It is based on Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ (Encyclical, 2015).

Check out the LSAP Website:  https://www.laudatosi.org/laudato-si/action-platform/

To find out more about the LSAP listen to Pope Francis’ 5:45 minute presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvMWMa84mfk

What are the LSAP Goals?

Laudato Si’ calls us toward sustainability in the spirit of integral ecology. With profound care for each other, our Creator, and all creation, we are building a better future together.
https://laudatosiactionplatform.org/about/

THE LAUDATO SI’ GOALS 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. Their holistic approach supports a spiritual and cultural revolution as we strive for total sustainability in the spirit of integral ecology.

RESPONSE TO THE CRY OF THE EARTH is a call to protect our common home for the wellbeing of all, as we equitably address the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, and ecological sustainability. Actions could include the adoption of renewable energies and energy sufficiency measures, achieving carbon neutrality, protecting biodiversity, promoting sustainable agriculture, and guaranteeing access to clean water for all.

RESPONSE TO THE CRY OF THE POOR is a call to promote eco-justice, aware that we are called to defend human life from conception to death, and all forms of life on Earth. Actions could include projects to promote solidarity, with special attention given to vulnerable groups such as indigenous communities, refugees, migrants, and children at risk, analysis and improvement of social systems, and social service programs.

ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS acknowledges that the economy is a sub-system of human society, which itself is embedded within the biosphere–our common home. Actions could include sustainable production and consumption, ethical investments, divestment from fossil fuels and any activity harmful to the planet and the people, supporting circular economies, and prioritizing care labor and protecting the dignity of workers.

ADOPTION OF SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLES is grounded in the idea of sufficiency and promoting sobriety in the use of resources and energy. Actions could include reducing waste and recycling, adopting sustainable dietary habits (opting for a more plant-based diet and reducing meat consumption), greater use of public transport, active mobility (walking, cycling), and avoiding single use items (e.g. plastic, etc.).

ECOLOGICAL EDUCATION is about re-thinking and re-designing curricular and institutional reform in the spirit of integral ecology in order to foster ecological awareness and transformative action. Actions could include ensuring equitable access to education for all and promoting human rights, fostering Laudato Si’ themes within the community, encouraging ecological leadership (students, teachers), and ecological restoration activities.

ECOLOGICAL SPIRITUALITY recovers a religious vision of God’s creation and encourages greater contact with the natural world in a spirit of wonder, praise, joy and gratitude. Actions could include promoting creation-centered liturgical celebrations, developing ecological catechesis, retreats and formation programs, and praying in nature.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND PARTICIPATORY ACTION  encourage the development of cultures and policies that protect our common home and all who share it. Actions could include promoting advocacy and developing people’s campaigns, engagement with decision-makers, and encouraging rootedness and a sense of belonging in local communities and neighborhood ecosystems.

Based on the LSAP goals, BVM Sisters created an assessment for each topic to help guide us into future actions. We invite you to revisit this page each week for a new post.

How have BVMs responded Laudato Si’ Goal #1 Cry of the Earth?

In 2007–2010 BVM Land & Building Committee researched the land and buildings on the Mount Carmel campus in Dubuque, Iowa. Key areas of the property legacy were to keep the Motherhouse, cemetery and Pine Walk, and other areas for ecological restoration.

In 2018, the BVM Congregation partnered with Presbyterian Homes and Services (PHS) to begin construction of a licensed senior community care center and independent living for BVM sisters and local community residents. Mount Carmel Bluffs is settled on approximately 34 acres at the Mount Carmel campus. Materials from three deconstructed buildings (Caritas, BVM Center, and Marian Hall) were recycled and repurposed with many items donated to Habitat for Humanity.

PHS building integrates high efficiency equipment and energy saving devices. It re-purposed existing geothermal wells, limited irrigation systems to entrances to buildings, and installed downspouts that all lead to retainage ponds on campus so that no water goes over the bluffs to the Mississippi River.

How have BVMs responded Laudato Si’ Goal #2 Cry of the Poor?

BVMs and associates have addressed immigration, death penalty, anti-trafficking, women’s issues, and nuclear arm issues in the past 20+ years through:

  • Public stance: statements, sharing through BVM and public communications, participating in public witnesses, prayer vigils, marches, and rallies.
  • Advocacy: for Marshallese/Pacific Islanders, Coalition Against Gun Violence with Loretto Sisters in their NGO, Loretto at the UN, and BVM presence on the National Farmworkers Ministry Board.
  • Funding: Community grants/funds: emergency and local needs, Ministry Partnership Grants, and scholarships for ongoing education.
  • Supporting programs that we helped develop: in Iowa, Illinois, Ghana, and Ecuador.

…all of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents (LS 14)

 

How can I get involved?

Join the BVMs as we participate with the world community in responding to the cry of our common home to work towards sustainability and integral ecology. See the BVM Commitment Statement:  https://www.bvmsisters.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Signed-Document.pdf

The Care for Earth Committee encourages you to frequent the website for activities, resources, photos, and prayers for you to consider, as you engage with caring for the earth. (https://www.bvmsisters.org/care-for-our-common-earth-home).

As you progress in your activities, we invite you to share your writings, activities, photos, or videos via email at careforearth@bvmsisters.org so that we might post these on the website as well. Please consider writing a description and remember to include names.

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  • Laudato Si’ Week Challenge

    May 22, 2022 - May 29, 2022

    Listening and Journeying Together

    Minimal: Take one Chapter of the Laudato Si’ and read a section a day.
    Regular: Read a Chapter of Laudato Si’ each day.
    Maximum: Meet with a group to discuss what you have read using the questions found on pages 161-168.

    Check under the ACTION tab for links to webinars/zooms and more happening during May 22-29.

Religious Orders:

OnBeing podcasts:

Water-Ecology: Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus 

The Climate Reality Project

The Climate Reality Project is a nonprofit organization that believes there is hope in unity, and that together, we can build a safe, sustainable future.

Lenten Resources

Water

Contact Us

Care for Our Common Earth Home Committee:
BVMs Bette Gambonini, Rose Mary Meyer, Marguerite Murphy, and BVM Associate Katie Anders.
careforearth@bvmsisters.org

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