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Sisters of Providence earn runner-up status for leadership and sustainability

The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, was named one of six national Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) 2019 Cool Congregations Challenge runners up.

The annual contest accepts applications from church congregations around the United States who are doing work to address global warming by reducing their carbon footprint as they create models of sustainability within their communities.

The Sisters of Providence received runner-up status in the category of Community Inspiration. The Congregation learned of the honor on Jan. 28.

Sisters of Providence General Councilor Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp said the Congregation has been aware of IPL since “almost the beginning of our work on climate change.”

“It was one of the organizations that we said we wanted to ‘follow’ because of the interfaith component,” Sister Jeanne said. “Additionally, the Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light group keeps us apprised of state advocacy initiatives to which we need to give our attention.

“It is a recognition given to us for our work in inspiring the Sisters of Providence, the Associates, and those in the broader community to reduce our consumption of greenhouse gases,” Sister Jeanne added.

“The Sisters of Providence and other national winning congregations are casting a vision for the kind of world in which they want to live, and then carrying out that vision with practical actions that make a real difference in creating lasting solutions to climate change,” President of Interfaith Power & Light Rev. Susan Hendershot said.

Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp

Sister Jeanne said after becoming aware of the competition, she suggested the Congregation apply during a Climate Change Task Force meeting. She and Providence Associate Jeanne Rewa submitted the Congregation’s application.

The Climate Change Task Force created the Congregation’s Providence Climate Agreement, of which the Sisters of Providence initially pledged to reduce their Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2 million pounds. After reaching that goal in 2019, the Congregation forged ahead, creating a new goal of reducing its CO2 emissions by 4 million pounds.

“Jeanne Rewa has been the quiet driving force of the Climate Change Task Force since its inception,” Sister Jeanne said. “She had the idea for the pledge sheet, designed it and shared it with the Congregation at an annual meeting.

“We are honored that our work to inspire others to mitigate climate change was recognized by IPL. We hope that the recognition will spur us on to continue to work toward our new goal of 4 million pounds by June 2021.”

Sister Jeanne added she and the Congregation hope the recognition will inspire the public and others to “join us in political advocacy as well.”

The Cool Congregation Challenge shows that people of faith are united by concerns about climate change and are taking action – with or without support of government policies. The winners provide strong moral role models for their communities, and their activities have a ripple effect with people in their own homes.

Interfaith Power & Light is mobilizing a religious response to global warming in congregations through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Learn more about the Congregation’s Providence Climate Agreement here.

For a complete list of winners and runners up, click here.

About the Sisters of Providence

The Sisters of Providence, a congregation of 214 women religious, with 300 Providence Associates, collaborate with others to create a more just and hope-filled world through prayer, education, service and advocacy. The Sisters of Providence have their motherhouse at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, located just northwest of downtown Terre Haute, Ind., which is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1840. Today, Sisters of Providence minister in 13 states, the District of Columbia and Asia, through works of love, mercy and justice. More information about the Sisters of Providence and their ministries can be found at SistersofProvidence.org.

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Jason Moon

Jason Moon serves as media relations manager for the Sisters of Providence. Previously, he spent more than 16 years in the newspaper industry.

Media contact

For inquiries or information, contact Jason Moon at jmoon@spsmw.org or 812-535-2810.

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