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Providence Community commits to develop Laudato Si’ Action Platform

There is still much to be done in the struggle against climate change.

On Oct. 22, 2021, Sister Dawn Tomaszewski, SP, general superior, signed a statement formally committing the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and the wider Providence Community to “respond to Pope Francis’ appeal to participate in a seven-year journey toward sustainability and integral ecology.”

photo taken at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods by Dr. Primo Andres

This action is a continuation of the work begun by the Sisters’ General Chapter of 2016. At that time Environmental Justice was chosen as the justice focus for 2016-2021. The Climate Change Task Force (CCTF) formed as a result and invited others to collaborate in their work.

On the task

The Climate Change Task Force currently consists of Sisters of Providence Barbara Battista, Terri Boland, Cathy Campbell, Jeanne Hagelskamp (general officer liaison), Marilyn Kofler, Rosemary Nudd, Barbara Sheehan and Mary Tomlinson as well as Providence Associates Marcia Brammer, Gene Majewski, Jan Showalter and Jeannie Smith. Staff member Jason Moon also assists the task force.

In its work to create a Laudato Si’ Action Platform, the Providence Community will continue to build on work that has been done to date, including the Providence Climate Agreement and Manifesto and efforts to reduce the community’s carbon footprint as well as sustaining its 10-year commitment to pollinator habitats to protect and increase populations of bees.

In addition to offering direct services to the poor and underserved often most affected by climate change, the Congregation also continues to sponsor White Violet Center for Eco-Justice and its Farm Store at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

Plan to do

The Climate Change Task Force will work with the Providence Community to create long-term goals and develop a plan for achieving those goals over the next seven years. Assessment will be done each year to measure progress and to refine goals and strategies as needed, Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp said.

The commitment that Sister Dawn signed on behalf of the Providence Community states, among other points, that the Sisters of Providence are willing “To take up the urgent appeal of Laudato Si’ to listen and respond to the lurings of Providence to attend to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor by making it a community priority.”

The document concludes that by this commitment, “The Sisters of Providence are participating in God’s Providential work of transformation and trusting in that Providence that so far has never failed us.”

Originally published in the winter 2022 issue of HOPE magazine.

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Sister Cathy Campbell

Sister Cathy Campbell, SP, is a freelance writer and editor. She holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Spirituality from Catholic Theological Union/Chicago. Sister Cathy also ministers as a retreat facilitator for the Providence Spirituality and Conference Center with special interests in scripture and the mystics.

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