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Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Albany Province, Welcomes Laudato Si
As Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in the Albany Province, we welcome and applaud the release of Pope Francis' encyclical, Laudato Si, and we rejoice that the pope calls us to a deeper realization of the interconnectedness between the destruction of God’s creation and its detrimental effects on all living beings, but especially the economically poor.
The Sisters of St. Joseph have been called throughout our history to reverence God’s wonder-filled creation of Mother Earth. Our Constitution challenges us to “desire the redemption of the whole world and work toward it in the best way possible with a spirit of gentleness and peace, of simplicity and joy.”
Our recent Congregational Chapters have summoned us to deepen that very call.
Our 1989 Acts of Chapter initiate the wording of our call to be in “right relationships with God, Persons and the Earth.” In that chapter, we committed ourselves “to preserve our oneness with all creation … to work toward ecological balance … to be countercultural in the areas of consumerism and waste pollution … to live simply … to recycle …to educate for reverence.”
In our 1993 Acts of Chapter, we committed ourselves “to deepen our understandings of cosmologies which teach us the interrelatedness of all creation and to let those understandings influence our way of being community and carrying out the mission.”
During our 1997 Congregational Chapter, we “reaffirmed our need to be in right relationship with the Earth,” and we committed ourselves “to promote the fullness of life, including sustainable food production and a healthy environment” and “to deepen our understanding of global systems of domination that … continue cycles of maldistribution and overuse of resources.”
In our 2001 Acts of Chapter, we acknowledged our own complicity in the destruction of Earth and we emphasized the urgency of the situation. “Our belief that all of life and creation is sacred motivates our urgent concern for Earth, our home … Survival of the life systems of Earth is threatened due to the destructive aspects of globalization and other human behaviors.” We recognized that it is the economically poor who “are affected most immediately and intensely by this crisis.” We committed ourselves to deepen our understandings of the interrelatedness of all creation and our understanding of globalization. At that chapter also, we acknowledged “the impact that greed and racism are having on the survival of diverse cultures and species.”
Our 2007 Acts of Chapter reiterated “our urgent concern for Earth and the survival of its life systems” as well as the “destructive aspects of globalization, the unequal distribution and use of resources and other human behaviors affect those who are economically poor and marginalized most immediately and intensely.” In that chapter we committed ourselves to make “radical choices in order to be just with, not abusive of, Earth’s resources.” To be true to our charism, we challenged ourselves “to express unifying love by becoming stronger leaders and joining with others in working for systemic change that will enable all to live in right relationship with the Earth.”
In our most recent 2013 Congregational Chapter, we recognized even more deeply the stewardship that is ours. “We believe that Creation is a sacred trust given to the whole Earth community.” As a result, we committed ourselves “individually and collectively to ask in every deliberation, ‘How does this decision/action impact the Earth community?’” We acknowledged once again our belief “in the interdependence of humanity and nature in the whole Earth community. We pledged, in response to our charism and our call to justice “to simplify our lifestyles through specific, measurable actions regarding water, climate change, food, consumption, and waste, taking into consideration local realities and concerns. “
Let us all reflect on Pope Francis’ challenging words to us. May we have the grace to commit ourselves to work together and to urge world leaders to develop new practices that will enhance our harmony and deepen our sense of interdependence with all creation.
--written by Sister Mary Rose Noonan
Read Laudato Si.
Read the response of the Jesuits in the U.S.A.