Initial interest in things environmental and justice- and peace-oriented began to coalesce in our Congregation early in 2012. Our organized endeavors started small. A brainstorming group met Dec. 5, 2011, to link Sisters interested in a particular area of concern. While eight areas were initially identified and established with a coordinator for each, only six became active; of these, only three really materialized. This early effort began with a simple quarterly Ecology Bulletin and took various routes to connect Sisters and also former members who were interested in focusing on the environment as an important issue for themselves and any others desiring to share ideas and experiences with other members of the Congregation.
Another major step occurred as a result of the 2015 Assembly. Preliminary conversations occurred around peace, justice and care of the environment in relation to part of our 2015 Assembly. Emergent Future Directives yielded key directions, which are still the basis of our sharing.
On October 30, 2015, the brainstorming group met and initiated Grassroots, a monthly vehicle to be rooted in the Emergent Future Directives. It was envisioned as a way to share how we each are living the Emergent Future Directives by:
. . . allowing clusters to share what they are discussing.
. . . giving individuals an opportunity to be heard, to question, to raise concerns.
. . . helping to motivate ourselves to action and to share information and ideas with each other.
Over the years, various short articles shared photos of “green” efforts, as well as comments about various resources, practices and wide-ranging questions and concerns, some of which include:
- Gardening in small spaces including container and raised beds and in community endeavors, strategic placement of beauty, gardening wisdom, winter gardening, spring preparations, sustainable practices, land use and GMO seeds.
- Deliberate nonplastic grocery purchases and using farmer’s markets.
- Recycling projects including electronic items, unused medications, extra furniture, clothing, pacemakers and greeting card fronts.
- Water usage and protective practices, the impact of fracking, and laundry practices.
- Mushroom hunting — education and use.
- Food preservation techniques.
- Composting, managing paper and rehab waste from renovation projects, and hazardous waste.
- Awareness of invasive species, and working to preserve natural habitats.
- Suggested prayer services, educational opportunities and Laudato Si’.
- Carpooling as much as possible.
- Monitoring energy elements (computers, lightbulbs, batteries, etc.).
- Organizing for change.
- Weather management strategies and climate change.
- Human trafficking.
- Homicide vigils.
- Brigid’s Path.
Considerable interest and involvement has developed, with many Sisters contributing over the months. This vehicle is a way to unite our efforts in peace, justice and ecology while staying focused on the Directives we have set for ourselves:
- Continue to articulate and integrate our Spirituality in our sharing among ourselves and with others.
- Increase our use of social media to promote Precious Blood Spirituality.
- Stand with the marginalized, make a collective commitment to promote and witness nonviolence, and strive to effect reconciliation among God’s people.
- Act responsibly in the use and care of our planet’s resources.
- Network with other individuals, agencies and groups to be effective in our current reality.
As of November 2017, we have taken the next step of jointly working with the Missionaries of the Precious Blood in these endeavors, coordinated by Colleen Kammer.
– Story by Sister Mary Lou Schmersal