CARING FOR THE EARTH
7 November 2016
I had the pleasure of launching the Institute Sustainability Policy – ‘An Integrated Approach to Sustainable Living’ last Friday.
I sincerely thank the Sisters who have worked over a long period of time to develop the document and also those who have been modelling some of its core values and strategies as part of living sustainably in their local communities.
The launch of the Institute’s Sustainability Policy – ‘An Integrated Approach to Sustainable Living’ is the product of a great deal of thinking, education, action and commitment over many years by many people.
It is not a beginning but a special milestone along the journey that Sisters of Mercy, and those who walk with them have been taking over these many years. It is not a beginning nor is an ending.
We did not set out to write a policy, be it ever such a fine piece of work. Rather we set out to make this Institute, ISMAPNG, an organization, a living reality, which is about the Care of the Earth, in which Caring for the Earth is a recognised characteristic of each member and of every activity. So we hope the policy will be a stimulus to take us further on the journey.
The policy fits within the context of the commitment to the Earth and Earth-beings expressed in the Mission Statement for the 2011 founding Chapter of ISMAPNG, and prior to that, the commitment to the Earth and Earth-beings of most and maybe all of the former Mercy groups that came together to form the Institute. We inherited some fine initiatives among them Rahamim Ecology Centre and the Mercy Creek project in Cairns.
We have an extensive ministry network across Education, Health, Aged Care, Community Services, Communication and of course Ecology. The Institute was significantly blessed in having at its very beginning some wonderful people whose commitment to care of the Earth was both evident and effective. In many different areas there has been significant activity and dedication as our Sisters, ministry leaders, work colleagues and others.
So I see the policy as a very serious point in the life of the Institute as it attempts to be an agent of the Mercy of God in the whole of our world. It is a public commitment by ISMAPNG, from the narrowest way that can be defined to its most inclusive and expansive reality. We will commend to all ISMAPNG people the policy itself, the principles that underpin it, and the areas it identifies for particular attention.
May the policy spur all of us to greater effort – efforts by individuals, efforts by groups large and small, efforts by the Institute as a whole organization. You will hear more in the next few months of some specific initiatives by the Institute itself which are currently being planned.
The action we take and the work we do in the name of Caring for the Earth are all very important, yet of even greater importance is the conversion, the turning of heart. I want to pray to God, the Creator of All, in the words of Pope Francis from ‘A Prayer for Our Earth’:
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing
To be filled with awe and contemplation
To recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Berneice Loch rsm