03 Oct 2021
Sisters Commit To Seven-Year Plan Toward Environmental Sustainability

The Sisters of St. Francis have issued the following Statement of Commitment to a seven-year plan of integral ecology to care for the Earth and its inhabitants and to avert the climate crisis:


The Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton, Iowa, Sojourners, and Associates, called by the spirit of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, join with Catholic sisters and brothers worldwide in committing to a seven-year transition to Integral Ecology as part of the global Laudato Si’ Action Platform.


We recognize the interconnectedness of environmental, economic, political, social, cultural, and ethical issues, as stated in our corporate stand on Care for Creation. We accept scientific evidence that climate change is happening and is caused in great part by human activity.


We acknowledge that achieving the vision of a healthier and more just world requires a transformation of our culture, spirits, and practices, deepening our understanding of our relationships with the Creator, Creation, and each other.  


We pledge to be faithful stewards of Creation and work collaboratively to reduce our impact on the environment and in solidarity with those on the periphery of our society.  


Our commitment is grounded in our mission of living and promoting active nonviolence and peacemaking.


The commitment, released on the Feast of St. Francis on October 4, is in response to an appeal to join with Catholics across the globe to work collaboratively toward building a better world for generations to come.  The Laudato Si’ Action Platform movement involves seven diverse sectors:  families, parishes and dioceses, educational institutions, healthcare institutions, organizations and groups, the economic sector, and religious orders. Each sector is being asked to embark on the seven-year plan to live out the calling of Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home – the landmark encyclical released by Pope Francis in 2015.


In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis urges us to undergo an “ecological conversion,” one that develops our awareness of the relationships between Creator, creation, and all of humanity. This ecological conversion, he says, is not something we experience once, but rather a continued enrichment of our spirits and a deepening of our understanding. It is a process of acknowledging our contribution to the social and ecological crisis and acting in ways that nurture healing and renewing our common home. 


The term “integral ecology” is an important theme that is woven through Laudato Si’.  It refers to the interconnection of care for creation, human dignity, and the disproportionate impact of climate change and environmental degradation on the poor and vulnerable.  In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis makes clear that our care for one another and our care for the Earth are intimately connected, noting that humanity is not faced “with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather one complex crisis that is both social and environmental”.


The action plan that the Clinton Franciscans have committed to create will cover seven focus areas: a response to the cry of the Earth, a response to the cry of the poor, ecological economics, adoption of sustainable lifestyles, ecological education, ecological spirituality, community engagement, and participatory action.


It is a natural progression for the Clinton Franciscans. Sister Jan Cebula, President of the Sisters of St. Francis, explains, “We took a Corporate Stand on care for Creation in 2019, but have also taken stands which address the death penalty, nuclear disarmament, immigration reform, human trafficking, and basic human rights and income inequality – all of which are interrelated.  We all have a role in ensuring that our global society is one that respects the dignity and interconnectedness of all created life.  In the spirit of hope, we invite everyone to join us in this exciting movement.” 


The title of the papal encyclical “Laudato Si” is literally translated as “Praise be to you.”  It is a phrase from St. Francis of Assisi's 13th-century "Canticle of the Creatures”, a poem and prayer in which God is praised for the creation of the different creatures and aspects of the Earth.  The home of the Sisters of St. Francis in Clinton, The Canticle, is named after this inspirational work. 


The mission of the Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton Iowa is living and promoting active nonviolence and peacemaking.  For more information about the Sisters of St. Francis, please visit: http://www.clintonfranciscans.com


More information about the global Laudato Si Action Platform movement is available at:  https://laudatosiactionplatform.org/

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