Weekend for the Environment

Written on: July 19, 2019

For the 21st year, Ecology-Spirituality enthusiasts met at St. Gabriel’s Passionist Monastery in Clarks Summit, PA. Ten Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, five Grey Nun Associates and one Associate candidate participated in the weekend. Their focus:  the environment. On a perfect weather weekend, 16 participants learned about, discussed and pledged to deepen their commitment to combat climate change.

In an opening panel, Mary Jane Key led Eco-Spirituality participants through the latest annual report of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC assesses all science related to climate change for its 195 member nations, covering facts, impacts, adaptation to and mitigation of global warming. Sister Sheila Stone presented potential or actual initiatives such as the Vatican’s call for a synod to include a focus on ecological conversion in accordance with Laudato Si, the resolution introduced in the House of Representatives and called The Green New Deal, and New York State’s banning of single use plastic bags. Sheila provided sources of information related to major concern over the Amazon River and rain forest, including the following:  Global Catholic Climate Movement, Catholic Climate Covenant, and Amazon Watch. Sheila also covered progress in banning of harmful plastics such as Styrofoam, straws and single-use bags and the development of eco-friendly takeout containers. Sr. Ellie Martinez then presented further hopeful efforts: the big difference two young men have made who began cleaning up our oceans and the advocacy efforts of young Greta Thunberg who organized a world-wide movement of student strikes for climate action. Other hopeful information is the fact that 23 governors and 258 mayors are working to alleviate the impact of climate change, in spite of the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement (see US Climate Alliance and Climate Mayors). Ellie also presented information on wind and solar farms worldwide and recommended  Sierra Club’s list of ten reasons to hope as well as Paul Hawken’s compilation of plans to reverse climate change Drawdown:The Most Complete Plan Ever to Reverse Climate Change.

Another serious educational effort for participants involved review and discussion of principles in the first two sections of the Earth Charter with a view to inspiring individual and communal action.

All this input informed the contemplative time which the schedule included along with an inspirational DVD, Love Thy Nature, Mass, dinner, and an evening activity organized by Associates Carol Pawloski and Angel Conicelli which centered on the creation of an Ark   patterned on the Ark of Hope created in 2002 to treasure the Earth Charter.

Participants were ready by Sunday morning to surface commitments for the year ahead. The group decided to continue last year’s promises, suggesting actions to take us deeper. Our commitments are: recycling, communion with nature, prayer-contemplation-relaxation, advocacy including education and support of our social justice office’s priorities.  Next year’s meeting will be June 26-28, 2020.

Join us with your own efforts to protect and cherish our environment!

View pictures on Flickr!


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