Sisters and Associates are acting in ways that result in positive changes
by Renae Bauer
(Fall 2016) -- Harnessing solar energy, managing land resources, and driving hybrid cars. These are just a few ways in which the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross are decreasing their impact on the environment. Now the Sisters and Associates have voted to support a new corporate stance~to care for the earth. It reads:
"We, Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross and Associates, believe that it is a moral mandate to respect and care for Earth. We pledge personally and communally in word and deed to work for a more just and sustainable world."
By ratifying the corporate stance, the Sisters and Associates officially commit themselves to specific actions that will result in positive change. For example, the Sisters are:
- Pursuing ways in which they can reduce what is put into the landfill by consuming less and recycling or reusing more
- Adopting more energy-efficient practices in all buildings
- Leveraging their investments to support the responsible policies, practices and development of sustainable energies
- Supporting local agriculture by buying locally grown foods whenever possible
The Sisters garnered national attention in 2014 when they activated their 112-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system. The solar array is one of numerous conservation efforts implemented at St. Francis Convent. Built in 2006, the property features:
- Energy-efficient lighting and heating systems
- Energy-efficient windows (including a 15-foot-wide skylight) that maximize natural daylight and reduce heating/cooling needs
- Adjustable water consumption toilets
- Vegetated swales that remove contaminants and sediments from storm water runoff
- Water-reduction landscaping such as reduced lawn areas, no-mow flowering prairies, and native plants
- Vegetable garden and orchards
- Three bee hives
What is your prayer for our planet and its people?
A few Sisters reflect on the new Care of the Earth Corporate Stance and consider what their prayer is for the world. What is your prayer for the world? Tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll post them on our website!
"God has given us a beautiful, wonderful world from which we receive our basic human needs and much, much more. We must all live responsibly so all future generations will have these same benefits." ~ Sister Marie Goretti Marcelle
"My hope is that reverence and care for Earth would ultimately bring peace and unity to our world." ~ Sister Marietta Samz
"Pope Francis urges me to see the need for restoring all relationships with all of nature. As a community we seek to uphold and sustain all that is good. This includes the choices we make daily. I have come to believe that when we mindfully care for all the elements of creation, that this has an impact on how we live and relate with all human beings and all the elements of God's creation." ~ Sister Geraldine Krautkramer
"I have persons in my family involved in farming. Several times a year I am given a gator (all-terrain vehicle) ride through the fields and a tour of the cattle barns, fruit trees and garden. I ask lots of questions! I am convinced that a farmer needs many skills and a wide variety of knowledge to care for the buildings, machinery, land, crops and animals. We say they are involved in sustainability. They say it is a way of life they love and respect." ~ Sister Joanne Goessl
|"I'm grateful for the gift of creation. I am concerned about preserving and protecting planet earth for our children and generations to come. I'm involved with "Caps of Love" which recycles plastic caps from household containers, e.g. mayo, hair spray, deodorant, coffee, etc. We sort the caps which are weighed, melted down and made into wheelchairs for special needs children. This project has mushroomed and has impacted many people." ~ Sister Cecelia Blonde|
"I believe that we need a 'wake-up call' to pray and take action on care for earth and to treat all of creation with deep reverence and respect. Let us pray for an end to self-centered and self-gratifying lives with the pattern of consumption and materialism so prevalent in our world today. Let us pray that we will acknowledge our dependence on Earth and our responsibility to live more sustainably." ~ Sister Renee Delvaux
"When I experience the condition of our troubled earth today, it is faith in God's continued renewal of creation, the power of prayer, and the ongoing participation of ourselves that gives my heart hope. Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote, 'The world is charged with the grandeur of God." ~ Sister Jeanne Jarvis
Poem: An Earth to Gaze On
Christ in the sun--I can feel your warmth.
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