Land Ethic

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.

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 Sisters of Providence Identity Lens will guide our decision making. The standard to which 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?

Implementation and Evaluation

The implementation and ongoing evaluation of this ethic is entrusted to Congregation members with the leadership of the 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 General Chapter. Revised January 2012 and again in June 2012 by the 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, SP Chief Operating Officer; and Tracy Wilson, Providence Associate.

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(Note: The following came from Catholic Climate Covenant)

Pope Francis reminds us that “Lent is the favorable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in His word, in the sacraments and in our neighbor.” This can be accomplished by “deepening our spiritual life through the means of sanctification offered us by the Church: Fasting, prayer and aimsgiving.”

To help you in this spiritual journey, we are pleased to provide you with these resources for your use this Lenten season.

Lenten Creation Care Calendar

Many of us give up something during Lent. We invite you to participate in a “carbon fast,” and take steps to reduce your carbon footprint. The “Lenten Creation Care Calendar,” can assist you, your family, parish, school, or religious community be more mindful of the ways that our daily habits impact both “our common home” and those most impacted by our neglect. With daily ideas for prayer and simple actions to reduce our carbon footprint, the calendar is a treasure trove for the season. You will notice that the second page is upside down. It is set up so you may print and photocopy (double-sided) and use as a bulletin insert.

— The calendar is adapted from a resource from our friends at Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light, Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, and Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions. —

St. Francis Pledge

As Lent is a season of prayer and fasting, it is the perfect time to consider taking the St. Francis Pledge to pray, act, and advocate to solve climate change. Have you taken the pledge? Has your parish or school taken it as a community? Help us spread the word about the St. Francis Pledge and share it with at least one friend. Join thousands of others praying and taking action for our common home.