September 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.

So that others may live
My Happy Place!
Introducing the Problems with Plastic
Social Sin
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Not just a drop

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

Wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods. Our precious planet is being abused, and extreme, catastrophic weather seems to happen nearly every day. It feels overwhelming. What can I, as one person, do that will make any difference? What difference will it make if everyone in my community can do one thing? How about two things? How about if everyone in my state did one thing? It’s hopeful to see the possibility of doing something — and then increasing that something — and then sharing those somethings with others and encouraging them to also do one thing.

I was encouraged by this approach many, many years ago. I took our parish’s youth group on retreat and saw a sign in the bathroom encouraging us to be attentive to how much toilet paper we used. So, I shared this with my students and got a big laugh. But I kind of latched on to that idea and told that story to friends and at parties (potty stories usually do get a laugh or at least a chuckle), encouraging all to “use one less square” of toilet paper when you go to the bathroom until you know exactly how much you need. Because we all know it is easy to just unwind the roll with a big old handful. We probably don’t even think about if we really need that much. It’s not a big idea or making a big impact, but if I do that and others also do that, then over the course of our lifetime, we would make an impact. We might even make an impact in the future if we teach this practice to our children. Read More

My Happy Place!

By Sister Patty Kremer, CPPS

Most mornings, my day starts between 5 and 5:30 a.m. This is my favorite time of the day. I start the coffee, open all the windows (weather permitting), and feed our dog Cori, the birds and the squirrels. With all these morning tasks completed, the coffee is ready — and I am ready to fill a cup and head to my “happy place.”

Our backyard on Benchwood Road is, for me, one of the most peaceful places on earth at this time of the day — actually, at any hour of the day. All I can hear at that early hour is the timid chirps of the redbirds, the early risers joining me to welcome a new day. As the morning light grows, so does my morning gathering of friends. One by one, tufted titmouse, red and gold finch, blue jays, several variety of woodpeckers, sparrows and, of course, a number of very plump squirrels join me in this sacred space. Read More

Introduction: The Problems with Plastic

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

The Sisters of the Precious Blood are in the early stages of collaborating with the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur to educate about and advocate for reducing plastic use. It is for this reason that we have a guest writer for this issue, Teresa Phillips, director of the Office of Justice, Peace and Care for Creation for the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

As we are educating ourselves, I have discovered that in my zeal to be environmentally sensitive, my recycling efforts have actually been detrimental. Sadly, I  “wishcycle.” That is aspirational recycling. If I wasn’t sure if something could be recycled, I still chucked it into the recycle bin. I have learned how this can be so bad. My wishcycle items can cause garbage services to throw out all of my recycle items, as well as my whole neighborhood’s. And the non-recyclable items can tear up the sorting machines or taint entire batches of items being recycled. Read More

The Problems with Plastic

By Teresa Phillips, Director of Peace, Justice and Care of Creation, SNDdeN, Ohio Province

In December 2022, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing on plastics. The more I learn about plastic, the more there is to learn. Plastic pollution is a huge problem globally, and there are no impactful ways of dealing with it. For many environmentalists, there are no impactful solutions down the recycling road. Yes, we are still encouraged to recycle, but we are asked to acknowledge only 9% of plastic made is ever actually recycled. Even all the plastic that is thrown into recycling bins isn’t recycled. Much is shipped off to places around the world that burn it (releasing toxins that affect local, often impoverished, populations), bury it (putting toxins into the soil and water) or send it out to sea (loading our oceans with plastic, killing birds and affecting the basis of our food web.) This leads to the problem of micro- and nano-plastics, which are the very small and microscopic particles of plastic that are everywhere. It is estimated that we each ingest a credit card’s worth of plastic every week. It is in our food and water. It is even in the air we breathe. Nano-plastics have been found in breast milk and recently they have been found in fetal tissue. Those chemicals that are released into our bodies contain endocrine disruptor chemicals (EDCs) that affect our hormones. Micro-plastic crosses the blood/brain barrier. (See this article from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, under the direction of the National Institutes of Health.) Read More

Social Sin

By Sister Mary Garascia, CPPS

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights… .” Created equal? These words from our Declaration of Independence are not true. We know this. Gifts and talents, health, advantages of country of birth and families of origin — these and other things are not given equally to each person. And because of this, some people cannot exercise what we are equally given at birth — our rights.

Women religious in the U.S. are among those committed to social justice, but what really does this loosely defined term mean? Social justice focuses on the common good, and it promotes actions that help produce a more even (equitable) playing field for the exercise of the rights given us all by our Creator.

What these rights are has expanded over the years. Today most nations of our world accept the UN Declaration of Human Rights, which our American first lady Eleanor Roosevelt had a hand in getting adopted in 1948. More recently other “rights” have been adopted by some countries — but not by all — such as the right to universal health care, the right to privacy, the right to a healthy climate, the right to electricity.  Read More

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