The SEDOS (Service of Documentation and Study on ]Global Mission) this year was online due to Covid-19 restrictions. It took place from 3 – 7 May 2021 on the theme Living Green Mission, covering three main aspects of Education, Sustainability and Spirituality. Five SSNDs who participated in the seminar share their experiences and learnings.
The call to live green mission deeply touched me. It challenges my lifestyle, especially regarding the mission that awaits us today...Go and repair... Go and proclaim the gospel. The speakers gave insightful testimonies of the ministry of empowerment in the areas of agriculture, technology, sustainable living and spirituality. Fr. Richie (Philippines) and Fr. Matairatu (Fiji Islands) enriched us with examples of innovation and empowerment of the poor through sustainable models of agriculture and marketing.
Our world needs this transformative way of living; a relationship of mutual responsibility between human beings and nature. I am more convinced that personal and communal ecological conversion, living green mission, is possible. We can help people imagine their own sustainable future. One speaker, Fr. Brian, SJ, rightly said, “As we commit ourselves to finding solutions to our problems, we must embed Creative Mourning and acknowledge our ecological sin”. Indeed, “A great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge stands before us, demanding that we set out on the long path of renewal.” (Laudato Si’, 202). (Sister Carolyn Anyega, SSND, General Councilor)
The SEDOS “residential” seminar, “Living Green Mission” continues to deepen my understanding and carrying out of Laudato Si'. I appreciated all the talks about the spirituality of ecology and about the many practices around the world. I would like to mention especially the opening speech of Fr. Joshtram Kureethadam, SDB: The Ten Green Commandments of Laudato Si'. Small simple deeds count.
You may ask yourself, how can I do something for our common home? Here are ten suggestions from this talk:
1. Take care of our common home
2. Listen to the cry of the poor.
3. (Re)discover the Gospel of Creation.
4. Recognize that the abuse of creation is ecological sin!
5. Acknowledge the deeper human roots of the “Crisis of Our Common Home”
6. Develop an integral ecology
7. Learn a new way of dwelling in our common home.
8. Educate toward ecological citizenship.
9. Embrace an ecological spirituality.
10. Cultivate the ecological virtues: praise, gratitude, care, work, justice, sobriety, humility.
In the small country Slovenia in the center of Europe, we also experience many global warming issues: warm winter, late spring frost, flooding, droughts. We are aware: The time is urgent; we need to act now. (Sister Terezija Hostnik, Slovenia, SI)
I gained much from each presentation. As we look to a new reality, not the old normal, it is important to let young people share their dreams; then help them clarify their goals, thus giving them skills to know who they are as persons (Fr. Mairatu). My present ministry is spirituality, retreat work, ongoing spiritual accompaniment. Fr. Brian Grogan spoke of the need for Ecological Mourning. I could have stood up and cheered! Too often we experience something significant and move on without a backward glance to what has happened. Regarding ecology, we need to deeply mourn what we have done to creation, embrace the ambivalence, and ask ‘How can my mourning be integrated into my spirituality?' We’ve had the experience. We must not miss the meaning, as TS Eliot said. If I mourn very little I will change my ways very little. I think the whole week was fantastic! Many thanks. (Sister Paulette Tomlinson, SSND, AM)
I am deeply grateful for the chance to participate in the ‘Living Green Mission’ Seminar and for the great opportunity to learn about innovative, transformative actions from people of various cultural backgrounds. The living experience shared by the young priest, Rich Gomes, MSH, from the Philippines deeply touched me. He shared his inspiring Cosmic Journey and Stewardship Project of empowering the poor to create an alternative model of an agriculture and marketing system that is sustainable, income-generating and just. It was also very meaningful for me to learn more deeply that it is from our living the communion with God, among all human beings and with all creatures that make us authentically in relationship with the integrity of creation. It was very inspiring to deepen my awareness that the “Trinitarian dynamism that God imprinted in us” impels and nurtures us to live ‘a green mission,’ aware of our interconnectedness and interdependency, and it is diversity that promotes our sustainability. The more profound understanding of these aspects urges me to live with Christian hope in the journey of ecological conversion and to focus on transformative actions for justice, peace and care for the integrity of creation. (Sister Marinez Capra, International Shalom Coordinator)
I am very grateful I had the opportunity to attend the SEDOS seminar. I was really enriched by the presentations and the prayers. It was very interesting to hear about the many great initiatives to help people in need. For example in the Philippines in the Ecological Education Center they teach the indigenous about sustainable farming. It was also exciting to understand that we have all the necessary technologies and engineering devices to solve most of the ecological problems. I gladly learned about the theological background of the integrity of creation, and it was encouraging to hear that we have a number of reasons to hope for the survival of our small blue Planet, drawn from the divine order of things. (Sister Eròs Katalin M. Renáta, MG)