In two Zoom gatherings on Nov. 11 and 13, 2021, more than 100 sisters and associates from the 14 congregations in the Sisters of Charity Federation in the United States and Canada gathered for “Boundless Charity Embraces Earth: The Company of Charity and the Laudato Si’ Action Platform.” We gathered to share how the Charity charism could be a resource for us as we engage in Pope Francis’s seven-year journey to integral integrity expressed in the LSAP.
In his introduction, Fr. Terrence Moran (JPIC Director, Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth) mentioned that the Vincentian charism began in response to climate refugees. Seventeenth century Europe experienced a little Ice Age which disrupted agricultural cycles forcing French peasants into Paris and creating the human misery to which Vincent and Louise responded. How will the Charity charism respond to the climate crisis of our time?
Our conversations were sparked by three brief but impactful talks. Sister Carol De Angelo, SC (New York) invited us to connect with the energy of “comprehensive compassion” which fuels the 13.8-billion-year evolution of the Universe. John Shively (JPIC Director, Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth) explored how Pope Francis’s notion of integral ecology calls us to new ways of loving that embrace both ecological sustainability and economic justice. Sister Caroljean Willie, SC (Cincinnati) summarized the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on climate change and its urgent call to action.
We then had 50 minutes of cross-congregation conversations in small and large groups that sparkled with energy. We committed ourselves to share information and resources as each congregation develops its own LSAP plan. And we’d like to explore ways in which we can make a common federation commitment, such as planting trees, exploring Green Burials, reducing the carbon footprint from air travel, using our corporate voice in a focused way to advocate for Earth with governments and industries. We left more deeply convinced that our Charity charism impels us to act efficaciously in favor of, in the words of Pope Francis, the poorest of the poor: Earth.
If you were unable to join the discussion, we are happy to share the following videorecording:
—Fr. Terrence Moran, Director of Peace, Justice and Ecological Integrity, Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, Convent Station, New Jersey