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September 14, 2021, Adrian, Michigan – As people of faith throughout the world celebrate the Season of Creation – September 1 through October 4, 2021 – Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates listened to a Sustainability Update that focused on various projects on the Motherhouse Campus and on the call for the Congregation and individuals to become involved in Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ Action Platform.
Offering the September 7, 2021, presentation were Sister Corinne Sanders, OP, Director of the Office of Sustainability; Joel Henricks, Director of Facilities and Grounds; Jared Aslakson, Permaculture Specialist; and Sister Kathleen Nolan, OP, Director of the Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation.
Jared spoke of projects undertaken during this summer at the Permaculture site: from the loan of 20 goats for five days to stop the spread of invasive plants to the success of one of two hives of bees, which produced 12 pints of honey. Jared went on to speak of the success of the perennial trees, which are bearing fruit, and of the pollinator garden.
Jared noted that his intentional care of the fruit trees this season has been successful. “A lot of the perennial trees are yielding fruit, and we should expect the yield to steadily increase,” he said.
Joel offered an update on sustainability projects such as restoration of the storm water retention pond. “All the storm water is collected around the Siena Heights football field,” he explained, adding that the project is designed to control erosion and to bring clean water into the pond. In addition, wildlife that scattered when the project began is returning.
Work is starting in the Regina building parking lot in preparation for installation of a new carport, which will both support solar panels and include six charging stations for electric vehicles. Other work includes the installation of a new water main, which will be operational at the beginning of 2022, and removal of dead or dying trees throughout the campus. Also in the works is a solar array in a field at the north end of the Motherhouse Campus.
Much of the presentation focused on the Congregation’s involvement in Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ Action Platform. “The pope invited the Catholic community worldwide to join in a movement that we came to know as Laudato Si’ Action Platform, working at total sustainability,” Sister Kathleen explained.
Laudato Si’ is the 2015 encyclical by Pope Francis, in which he calls for action from the worldwide community to save and restore Earth, our common home. “The encyclical is really calling us to care for our planet and to look at how we can incorporate and engage in the vision of ecology that was outlined in Laudato Si’,” Sister Kathleen said. “Pope Francis issued an urgent challenge to the entire world to protect our common home, cultivating a deep relationship with all creatures.”
Sisters Kathleen and Corinne, along with the Congregation’s Justice Promoters, have been attending webinars to learn about the Action Plan: a seven-year plan and a public commitment to work toward a number of goals. The goals are: response to the cry of the Earth; response to the cry of the poor; ecological economics; adoption of simple lifestyles; ecological education; ecological spirituality; and emphasis on community involvement and participatory action.
“Things are falling into place for to make a significant response,” Sister Kathleen said. “The goals will help to guide our actions and they redefine and rebuild our relationship with each other and with our common home.” The Congregation’s involvement is a matter for the 2022 General Chapter in February, during which the Adrian Dominican Sisters set the direction for the next six years and elect new leadership.
In the meantime, Sister Corinne suggested some actions that Sisters, Associates, Co-workers, and other Partners in Mission can take personally, especially during the Season of Creation: read or re-read Laudato Si’; explore the Action Platform website; re-examine your carbon footprint; and sit and walk contemplatively with Earth.
Watch the entire recording of the Sustainability Update below.
Feature photo: Artist’s conceptions of two of the sustainability projects for the Motherhouse Campus of the Adrian Dominican Sisters: a solar array in one of the fields (left) and a carport, which will support more solar panels.
September 13, 2021, Albuquerque, New Mexico — When everyday people and their families prosper, we all succeed. Our neighbors are the drivers and the foundation of their communities. It is clear that everyday New Mexicans are the true experts when it comes to knowing what they and their families need to thrive. Still, families and the voices of everyday New Mexicans all too often go unheard in the conversations that affect them the most.
For 30 years, the Partnership for Community Action (PCA), based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has helped develop strong community leaders and advocates by investing in people and creating a strong voice in the communities they call home. Understanding that people know their own communities best, we encourage families to take ownership of the solutions and to lead the way.
By connecting communities to decision makers, we can create lasting change together. PCA is actively working to fight white supremacy and the literal and figurative violence that it breeds through anti-blackness, the erasure of Indigenous peoples, and the oppression of LGBTQ+ communities.
In 2015, PCA envisioned a redevelopment project centered on racial equity in Albuquerque’s South Valley, a community that has been divested from for generations. Through thoughtful and intentional community engagement with local residents, the idea of the Social Enterprise Center (SEC) was born. The project is an innovative approach to economic development, funded by public and private partnerships and led by PCA and the Southwest Creations Collaborative who have a combined history of more than 55 years of developing community-centered solutions.
The SEC will immediately employ more than 50 people on a family-friendly campus that includes nearly 20,000 square feet of commercial space. Services include a manufacturing facility operated by Southwest Creations Collaborative, childcare space for the employees within the SEC, a family/community engagement and training center, and educational support services for families.
Notwithstanding the major challenges our organizations have experienced during the pandemic, both PCA and Southwest Creations Collaborative have continued their programs and services for families. The SEC will be an innovative model that serves the economic and social needs of the community during a time when economic security and family wellbeing is at the forefront of major policy decisions. We look forward to being a part of the solution for families in our community as we rise out of this pandemic.
The Social Enterprise Center is scheduled to open in the fall of 2021.
Feature photo: Construction begins on the Social Enterprise Center, located in the heart of the South Valley in Albuquerque, New Mexico.