July 2023

“This Good Work” is the Congregation’s bi-monthly e-newsletter to give witness to Precious Blood Spirituality through the lens of social justice, rooted in Gospel values and Catholic social teaching. In it we share real, legitimate information and ways Sisters are thinking about and living out many issues of peace, justice and ecology. This is curated by Peace, Justice and Ecology Coordinator Jen Morin-Williamson and features articles by Sisters.

Am I green
New Life … New Beginnings
Our Environmental Mindset
With God at the Beach
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Am I green?

By Jen Morin-Williamson, Peace, Justice, and Ecology Coordinator

As an outgrowth of the Sisters’ commitment to Laudato Si, there is a team of Sisters and staff who regularly meet to encourage the Congregation and ourselves individually toward greater care for creation. And we have found that it is complicated. While we may be looking to offset deforestation, we may be increasing the use of fossil fuels to have our bamboo toilet paper shipped from China to Dayton. So we talk about how and where we can compromise, and we really dig into what the labels really mean.

“Environmentally responsible,” “earth friendly” and “green” cover a variety of possible factors — and really none specifically. You have to read the packaging or check the website to see what the manufacturer means. It could just be marketing. “Sustainable” or “made with sustainable processes” is similarly vague, but it implies the impact to the environment is reduced because of a broader overview of the product and not just how it was made or what it was made with. “Recyclable” means that the product has the potential to be recycled. That, however, is dependent on the ability to gather the items and that there are facilities able to recycle them. “Pre-consumer recycled” products are made or partially made with products that are the byproducts of the manufacturing process. For example, the extra fabric after the pattern pieces of the garment is cut out can be a pre-consumer recycled material. “Post-consumer recycled” products are the same idea, but the materials have been used by a consumer before they are reused in the manufacturing process. It’s what we put in our recycling bins. Read More

Planting seeds for the future

By Sister Judy Niday, CPPS

Five Rivers MetroParks serves Montgomery County, Ohio, by protecting 16,000 acres of green space and waterways throughout the area. Among 18 parks and six recreational trails, Five Rivers MetroParks offers shelters and camping sites, and horseback and walking trails. The organization also manages the 2nd Street Market, which operates near downtown Dayton in a former railroad building, as well as annual events and conservation and education programs.

I became a volunteer for MetroParks in 2014 because I love nature and working outdoors in the dirt, nurturing growth from the soil. Volunteering for MetroParks also stems from our CPPS mission to “be a life-giving, reconciling presence in our fractured world.”

I have assisted children ages 3 to 12 in learning how to grow a garden and encouraged them to appreciate history in finding fossils in a creek. I’ve helped children ages 12 to 16 work in a demonstration garden, planting, harvesting and preparing a meal from their produce. I’ve participated in park clean-up of trash or weeding; decorated for the children’s Halloween Activity Night; assisted in planting native bushes and trees after honeysuckle invasion was cleared; and served as an ambassador for patrons, greeting them as they arrive and assisting them with any questions they might have. Read More

New Life … New Beginnings

By Sister Martha Bertke, CPPS, and Sister Mary Lou Schmersal, CPPS

Sparked by a recent comment and conversation, this spring we decided to try offering a time of reflection for a small group of women of the area. April 26 found 19 women gathered to reflect on insights the spring season offers: planting of seeds, the renewed energy to notice the seeds planted within our own hearts, and discovering the invitation of Pope Francis to learn about Laudato Si, an encyclical on “Care for Our Common Home.”

Our retreat planning team included congregational staff members Cristen Allen, administrative secretary, and Sarah Aisenbrey, archivist, as well as Sonnie Bernardi, a parishioner at St. Paul Parish in Englewood, Ohio. We began with a prayer on the beauty and wonder of creation. Next, we led a reflection on the incredible potential of a simple seed, as well as what a seed needs to be nourished and to grow. We discussed the questions: How do we nourish the life of Christ in us and allow it to grow? Is there something our Church is calling forth from each of us? With that in mind, we focused on a current reality of life: our environment, and words of wisdom from Pope Francis. Read More

Our Environmental Mindset

By Sheena McCormick, Administrator of Salem Heights

I have been the administrator for Salem Heights — the Sisters’ central house in Dayton — for just over a year. One of the many things I’ve found inspiring since coming aboard as a congregational employee is the Sisters’ commitment to an “environmental mindset.” As employees, we are called to foster a “healthy, peaceful and wholesome environment in which all residents may truly enjoy living” — and environmental consciousness is one of the many ways we accomplish that. Here are some of the steps we’ve taken here at Salem Heights:

  • In our dining room, recycling bins are easily accessible to both Sisters and food service employees. Lists of acceptable items are also posted to help educate those who are unsure of which items are recyclable.
Read More

With God at the Beach

By Teri Iverson, Vocation Ministry Coordinator

The beach is my happy place — it’s the place where I always feel closest to Jesus. Any beach, anywhere. The sounds … squawking seagulls looking for a snack; squeals of small children building sandcastles; waves crashing. The smells … salty air; hot dogs sizzling; the distinctive aroma of sunscreen. The feels … sand between the toes; the coolness of the ocean water; the gentle breeze. The tastes … iced-down Diet Coke; sweet watermelon; the saltiness of accidentally swallowing some seawater. The sights … sandcastles; ships sailing along in the distance; the ebb and flow of the water. All of it is deeply spiritual to me — especially the latter. Read More

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