To Reverence Earth

The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. (Laudato Si 13)

What shocking photos or news of the devastation of our Earth have sent you over the top?

  • Was it the burning of vast forest areas in the Amazon in order to clear land for ranchers to farm their cattle?
  • Was it the whirlpool of ensnarled plastics the size of Texas in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?
  • Was it Earth Overshoot Day – “By August 22, 2020, humanity will have used up all of the renewable resources – water, soil, and clear air – that the planet can replenish in 2020. Then we’ll be living on credit for the rest of the year.”

In our 2005 Chapter, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas identified Earth as one of our five Critical Concerns which have since profoundly permeated our ministries. We determined:

To reverence Earth and work more effectively toward the sustainability of life and toward universal recognition of the fundamental right to water.

In commemorating the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si, the Sisters of Mercy launched Mercy Earth Challenge – a year-long series of personal, communal and systemic actions to encourage people to make environmentally conscious life choices.  We just completed a component on water and will next study food and food waste. For five weeks, we will explore how industrial food production turns this necessity of life into a commodity; the impact of processed foods on the health and livelihoods of people around the world; how the palm oil found in many products is destroying the Earth’s rainforests; and ways to reduce food waste at home. Our Environment Committee recently announced the intention to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across Mercy properties to net zero by 2045.

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas