Témoignages - 4 September 2016

en - Ireland: Daily Care of our common home

God’s gift to us is this beautiful earth

These examples from Ireland are simple ways that as sisters in collaboration with others can make our contribution to a consciousness of what Pope Francis calls "a global problem with grave implications, one of the principal challenges facing humanity today". As Assumptionists we are ever mindful of our global family especially the increasing numbers of migrants ’seeking to flee from wars and growing poverty caused by environmental degradation. God’s gift to us is this beautiful earth.

1. Cork Environmental Forum and allied groups. The Sisters of Mahon Community, Carmel Hamill, Mary Malone and Margaret Hickey have been passionate about care of the environment even before the publication of Laudato Si ! Following its publication they participated in a day-long workshop on the encyclical given by Fr. Donal Dorr (St. Patrick’s Missionary Society). The workshop highlighted the urgency of ’care for our common home’ the seriousness of the problem especially for the poorest people on our planet. The rich nations contribute most to creating the problem and the poorest nations suffer the consequences.

The sisters in Mahon are careful of the environment in their daily living. They save paper products and bring them to a local project that converts them into insulation for homes. They separate refuse, avoid the use of plastic, or purchasing bottled water. They collect rainwater from their roof, they have a compost bin which fertilizes the garden and they buy locally. In November 2015 they participated in a march through Cork City with several groups and The Cork Environmental Forum to raise awareness and to alert our politicians to the urgent issues for the COP 21 meeting in Paris. The Sisters also participate in trainings and courses with like- minded groups.

The sisters’ actions are ’simple’ and very day-to-day but very profound as they are mindful of the protection of the earth and its link with world poverty and the mass migration of peoples and our responsibility to future generations.

2. The Northern project. I’m a member of the Clogher Diocese JPIC --- stretching from Donegal on the North West Coast of Ireland and across part of Northern Ireland. Although the group was initiated by the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese several members are from Anglican churches. For the anniversary of Laudato Si we had a tree planting outside the Cathedral, a reflection on Laudato Si by the local Bishop and an eco walk and conversations.
Another event I participated in highlighted the ways that the rich countries are part of the problem and how the poor countries are destroyed. It was to raise our consciousness as to how we can ’unintentionally’ be destroying the lives of thousands of poor people because of our over consumption of goods, our fossil fuel emissions, and our overall disregard for our environment. All around the meeting room were powerful photos of families in both rich & poor families and their food bills — there was such a stark contrast between countries it was a powerful learning tool.

Sr. Lena Deevy LSA