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January 5, 2022, Adrian, Michigan – For years the Adrian Dominican Congregation has worked to make the Motherhouse campus more environmentally sustainable and to encourage Sisters and Associates to live in a way that treads lightly on Earth’s resources. 

But now the Congregation has the opportunity to participate in Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ Action Platform and work collaboratively with Catholic organizations around the world – from schools and universities to parishes and communities of women and men religious. 

The Action Platform is named for Laudato Si’: Care for our Common Home, the 2015 encyclical, or letter, written by Pope Francis to describe the environmental crisis that Earth faces and to explore ways to address the crisis.

Sister Corinne Sanders
Sister Corinne Sanders, OP

“The Action Platform is a space for institutions, communities, and families to learn and grow together,” explained Sister Corinne Sanders, OP, Director of the Congregation’s Office of Sustainability, during a live stream presentation. “What is most apparent right now is the critical urgency of this time, calling for a worldwide response. It is a call to be part of a community that will bring their skills and talents to this commitment to our common home.”

Noting that the Congregation has been involved in sustainability efforts for years, Sister Corinne explained that becoming part of the Action Platform would involve collaboration and accountability with other Catholic organizations. “The extra that is asked of us will be a public commitment, networking with others, and an assessment of what we have done.”

Sister Kathleen Nolan
Sister Kathleen Nolan, OP

Sister Kathleen Nolan, OP, co-presenting with Sister Corinne, introduced the seven goals of this seven-year process, designed to be a worldwide response to the environmental crisis. “Solutions must be comprehensive and bring together different fields of knowledge, all in the service of a more integrated and integral vision,” Sister Kathleen said. She is Director of the Congregation’s Office of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation.

The Action Platform goals are:

  • Response to the Cry of the Earth, a call to protect our common home for the benefit of all creatures on Earth. “To listen to the cry of the Earth and to respond is something that we’ve been about, but we’re being called to go much deeper, to invest our very selves and even to listen more intently to that cry,” Sister Corinne said.

  • Adoption of a simple lifestyle: Sister Corinne said this goal calls on all individuals to “live a 1.5-degree life … the lifestyle we would adopt if we were really to live in such a way as to limit global warming to [an increase in Earth’s temperature of] no more than 1.5 degrees.” Currently, she said, many people in the United States live in a way that contributes up to 15 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent to the environment. The 1.5-degree lifestyle would be limited to 1 or 2 tons each year.

  • Ecological education, which involves redesigning curricula to foster ecological awareness and transformative action. “We have to put a lot of energy into educating our political representatives,” Sister Corinne said. She added that the Adrian Dominican Sisters have already sponsored an Environmental Leadership Experience, a two-week program in which students from Siena Heights University in Adrian and Barry University in Miami, Florida, come to the Motherhouse to learn first-hand about sustainability efforts.

  • Response to the Cry of the Poor: Sister Kathleen noted that the cries of Earth and the cries of the poor are interrelated – as are all issues. “It’s about looking into each other’s eyes and promoting human life and all forms of life,” she said. “Our actions that contribute to climate change also contribute to the challenges of our neighbors, especially in poor countries.”

  • Ecological Economics: “The economy is a subset of human society, which itself is embedded within the biosphere of our common home,” Sister Kathleen said. She suggested ways to lower our carbon footprint and, at the same time, show concern for workers. These can include buying clothing and food only from fair-trade organizations and becoming involved in organizations such as the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which advocates for sustainable farming practices and fair wages for agricultural workers.

  • Ecological Spirituality: This involves “recovering the religious vision of God’s creation [and] encouraging greater contact with the natural world in a spirit of wonder, praise, joy, and gratitude,” Sister Kathleen said. She suggested opening our consciousness to new images of God in our relationship with the non-human world and finding ways to celebrate that reflect our new understandings of the universe.

Sister Corinne concluded the presentation by noting that becoming an Action Platform Congregation could be a decision of the 2022 General Chapter, scheduled for late June 2022. “Do we wish to join the public commitment of the global Church?” she asked. “It’s an institutional and personal commitment to a new relationship that will transform us as we enter into collaboration with other congregations, parishes, and societies of Catholic families.”

Watch the video of the entire presentation below.

 

Feature photo: This solar field, built in the north field behind the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Motherhouse, will help to generate a significant percentage of the campus’ power.


December 27, 2021, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic – During the time of year that focuses on the birth of Jesus, Sister Carol Gross, OP, gave a live stream presentation on a central figure of the nativity: Mary, the mother of Jesus and our mother.

Sister Carol Ann Gross, OP

Sister Carol’s talk, “Devotion to Mary in Latin America,” was presented on December 9, 2021, the day after the patronal feast of the United States, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and three days before the December 12 Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who is especially revered in Mexico and by many Hispanic people in the United States.

The talk was part of a series of presentations organized by the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Spirituality Committee. Sister Carol spoke from her home in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Sister Carol described in general the Marian piety of many of the people of Latin America and the Caribbean – a popular piety involving the heart. In times of need, she said, this devotion to Mary “soothes pain and strengthens hope – the loving, healing, consoling power of God or God’s mother, who is the stand-in for God at the center of Latin American culture.” 

Throughout the centuries, Sister Carol said, Mary has appeared to suffering people in a variety of images – suited to the people of a particular culture to help them to understand God’s love for them. “Myths and legends attributed to an icon of Mary speak to the needs of the people,” she explained. 

Sister Carol highlighted a number of images of Mary that are popular in various parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.

  • Our Lady of Altagracia (“high grace”) is the cultural image of Mary in the Dominican Republic. She is known as the Protectress of the Dominican Republic, Sister Carol added. The image was originally brought home by a merchant to his daughter in the Dominican Republic. A basilica now houses the image, and about 8,000 people visit the basilica every year. On January 21, the Feast of Our Lady of Altagracia, people who cannot visit the basilica take part in Masses, novenas, and processions at their home parishes.

  • Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mary appeared as a pregnant Aztec woman in 1531 to St. Juan Diego, an Aztec who had converted to the Catholic faith, at Tepeyac Hill near Mexico City. Because of her appearance, Sister Carol said, “The native people of Mexico began to recognize the Catholic faith. They say, ‘This virgin looks like us. She is ours and we are hers.’” The Patroness of the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe “is our mother,” Sister Carol said. “As a mother she understands, relates, protects, listens, comforts.”

  • The Immaculate Conception: Mary, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, is the Patroness of the United States and of other countries, such as Nicaragua, who revere her as La Purisima, the most pure one, Sister Carol said. At sundown on December 7, the eve of the feast, people in Nicaragua “flood into the streets in groups, singing hymns to La Purisima,” Sister Carol said. The feast refers to Mary’s conception without original sin, not to the conception of Jesus.

Learn more about various Marian devotions in Latin America in the recording of Sister Carol’s presentation, found below.
 

 


 

 

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