Land Ethic

USDA organic garden at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.

As members of one sacred Earth community, we Sisters of Providence commit ourselves individually and communally to care for our resources and to make decisions regarding their current and future use as we seek to balance our individual and SP communal economic needs with the sustainability needs of Earth community. The following commitments will guide our decisions regarding the care and use of our resources.

“This land was no longer for me the land of exile; it was the portion of my inheritance, and in it I hope to dwell all the days of my life.” — From the journals of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

Care and Use of Resources

  • We will conserve natural resources and preserve species unique to an area.
  • We will make every effort to use non-toxic materials that will not poison Earth community in the present or in the future.
  • We will promote conservation and reduction of consumption by recycling and purchasing recycled materials.
  • We will practice conservation and restoration of land through food production, management of forests and wild spaces, and healing and re-habitation of diminished areas.
  • We will be advocates for ethical principles in resource use at local, state, national and global levels.
  • We will explore options and possibilities as we seek both environmental and financial sustainability.
  • We will research options such as: land trusts, easements, deed restrictions and the transfer or selling of development rights, for the protection of our resources and will investigate their ramifications.
  • We will provide educational opportunities and share our own lived experiences, both individually and communally, in our efforts to live in right relationship within Earth community.

Criteria to guide our decisions

The questions from the Sister of Providence Identity Lens will guide our decision making. The standard to which we will hold ourselves accountable is whether or not this choice or action concretely furthers the mission of Providence at this time.

What positive effects will this choice or action have on my/our being in right relationship?

How will this decision or action bring hope and healing to Earth community?

How does this decision or action promote justice, non-violence, peace-making?

How will this decision or action affect Earth community?

How does this decision or action offer a creative alternative?

How does this decision or action affect the common good?

What potential adverse effects might this choice or action have in any of these areas?

St. Joe’s Lake at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.

Implementation and Evaluation

The implementation and ongoing evaluation of this ethic is entrusted to Congregation members with the leadership of the Sisters of Providence General Officers. We will consistently engage in contemplative reflection and evaluation of this document and its use. Whenever possible, we will encourage the development of similar guidelines in the institutions with which we are associated and the dioceses in which we minister. A written evaluation of the use of the Land Ethic will be submitted as part of the preparation for each General Chapter.

Authors of this Land Ethic

Adapted from the Land Ethic of the Sisters of Charity of New York. Developed January 2011 by Sisters of Providence Jean Fuqua and Ann Sullivan, and Sister Maureen Freeman, CSJ, in preparation for the 2011 Sisters of Providence General Chapter. Revised January 2012 and again in June 2012 by the Sisters of Providence Land Ethic Committee: Sisters of Providence Rose Ann Eaton, Jean Fuqua, Ann Sullivan and Dawn Tomaszewski; Sisters of St. Joseph Mary Lou Dolan and Maureen Freeman; Pat Goodwin, former SP Chief Operating Officer; and Tracy Wilson, Providence Associate.

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