From the Carondelet Earth Committee
Since we issued the invitation to you to lower and/or mitigate your carbon footprint in measurable ways, we have received a variety of reports on the steps that you have taken. Read on to learn the creative actions your sisters and associates have taken and resources that they recommend.
I looked up “carbon footprint” online and found some helpful information. I’m embarrassed to acknowledge I never quite grasped the meaning of that phrase. That’s why I looked it up and found useful info.
Things that make up your carbon footprint: all your food and drink, energy sources in your home, transportation, and travel.
Ways to reduce: use less energy (electricity), unplug electronics, heater and A/C, light bulbs, purchase foods from locals, less meat, laptop instead of a desktop, and avoid products with palm oil, look at how much I have, air dry clothes, and Waze app gives traffic info so you’re not sitting in traffic running your motor.
I have already been doing a variety of things but I didn’t connect them to “carbon footprint.”
Regarding climate change: I am recycling all my paper trash, recycling organic material for compost, lowering heat and cooler thermostat, recycling all aluminum cans. Reading Laudato Si’ as a cluster and discussing every two weeks. Emailing congress when I receive petitions regarding climate proposals etc.
I used some of my time at home to send a letter to Walmart, encouraging them to discontinue the use of plastic bags and letting them know that their customers will adapt very readily to bringing their own cloth bags, citing examples of where that is working. I hope to have an impact.
Sister Jane Hurley, my neighbor, and I started sharing a car. I will go to the bank for her when I go, and we both plan to drive less.
I also compost, recycle, and send money to have trees planted. During COVID-19, the Sisters at Carondelet Village have two shoppers who get our groceries if we want them delivered. We turn our grocery list in on Monday, and the groceries are delivered on Friday. I think I will continue to have groceries delivered because I buy less and just what I need. I won’t be tempted to buy sale items or other things I don’t really need.
I have tried to be very diligent in reducing my carbon footprint by limiting how much I buy and how much I throw “away.” There is no such place as “away,” in the words of Earth Mama Joyce Rouse. Garbage goes to a landfill, which generates methane, one of the worst greenhouse gases. I have been more intentional about purchases (reduce) and about finding ways to reuse things and to recycle. I am very excited about using a Terracycle plastic waste recycling box. These boxes are an expense, so it challenges us to put our money where our values are. We are amazed at how many plastic food bags and wrappers we have because we try NOT to use processed food.
I have also given trees for gifts through Heifer International and paid for carbon offsets through Terrapass. I am fortunate that the community car I use is a hybrid, and I am advocating for the purchase of more hybrids for our fleet.
I am very excited to be doing this with Sisters and ACOF across the congregation!
This year as we prepared the budget for the Congregational Office, we were mindful of the fact that we had just signed a commitment related to sustainability of the environment and that our 2019 Chapter had called us to respond to the crisis of Earth and global warming. Therefore, we calculated our office’s carbon footprint and budgeted an offsetting amount that we will spend in some kind of action that will neutralize that impact.
At the Congregational Office, we were very excited to participate in the global celebration of the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si’. We invited members to “Go deeper, journey farther, and respond boldly and creatively,” to the call of Laudato Si’ offering several opportunities for action. Our office bought a Terracycle box that allows us to recycle pens, pencils, and markers. Personally, I switched my shampoo and conditioner to a “bar” product, similar to a bar of soap. It works well. It has no microplastics in the product and comes in a paper box rather than a plastic bottle. We invited each person to take one more step in their journey to save our planet. This is mine.
Thank you to each of you who shared how you are making significant and bold changes to your lifestyle in order to affect climate change. The COVID-19 pandemic is teaching us how important it is that every one of us do our part to keep each other safe. The same principle applies if we truly want to have a positive impact on our climate crisis. The actions of each one of us are crucial.
Please continue to send in your experiences and reflections to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to sharing more inspiring reports!
Who holds the record for long-term service in the Congregational Center? CSJ history buffs are going to say Mother Agatha Guthrie, who was either assistant or superior or superior general from 1866 to 1904. We think the next in line is Sister Mary Pamela (Pam) Harding who is completing 18 years as the executive assistant in the Congregational Center.
Pam began serving in this position when the 2002-2008 team began their term of office and has served three more teams. In the congregational office, Pam is the person who knows where everything is and who the “go-to” people are. When she began this service, the congregational office was still on the campus of St. Joseph’s Academy. Pam started with the congregation just after retiring from administration at the Academy, so she didn’t have far to move. However, she was destined to help move the Congregational Center twice during her tenure.
Now, after all these years of dedication, Pam is moving into a well-deserved retirement. In these years of quiet, competent service, Pam has taken care of almost all the correspondence with Rome, civil lawyers, and vice/province leaders and their staffs. She has tabulated congregational surveys, handled the paperwork for canonical issues, coordinated translations, compiled the yearly statistics report for Rome, and helped coordinate the details of four congregational chapters. Any wonder she is ready to retire?
The new team has relied heavily on Pam these first six months of their term. “We are glad Pam is not going far,” said Sally Harper. “I am sure we will be calling her when we need to tap into her vast reservoir of knowledge.”
Pam’s 50th Jubilee celebration was to have been this August until the coronavirus upended all those plans. If it’s within human power, that’s not going to stop the retirement party. We are planning to celebrate and thank her for her wonderful contributions later this summer.
Our sisters from near and far who have known and worked with Pam know untold details about how she has served the congregation well and generously.
THANK YOU, PAM! Enjoy the reward of freedom retirement promises. You deserve it!
The Administrative Assistant provides software support to office staff and volunteers; collects data to track and assess ongoing projects; assists the Director of Communications with the website, app, and social media; and assists with general clerical duties as needed.
The Sisters of St. Joseph move always towards profound love of God and love of neighbor without distinction.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet is a congregation of women religious that traces its roots to France in 1650.
Today, we have four provinces in Albany, New York; Los Angeles, California; St. Louis, Missouri; and St. Paul, Minnesota with a vice-province in Peru. The Congregational Offices are home to the Congregational Leadership Team and a small staff who provide support to our sisters, associates, and friends around the world.
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The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph calls us all to dismantle racist systems and work to be antiracist individually. As members of the Federation, we join them in this public statement:
“The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph strongly condemns the police-killing of another Black man on the streets of our nation. Our hearts are breaking as we mourn with the family and friends of George Floyd, as well as Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee, and all the others who have lost loved ones to law enforcement violence.
“The continued killing of Black people; the constant harassment of people of color; and the denial of the rights and dignity of our Black American neighbors must end now.
“Racism is America’s original sin. It is a virus every bit as deadly as COVID-19 that has infected our nation since its inception and until we address it, people of color will continue to die, and our nation will never heal. Racism, whether the institutional racism which privileges some at the expense of others or the daily acts of microaggressions, hate, and discrimination, diminishes us all.
“The resilience and well-being of humanity depend upon us dismantling these systemic, structural, and cultural realities of white supremacy, endemic to the fabric of our country. We commit ourselves to the creation of the ‘One Sacred Community,’ where all people are treated as the sacred creation that they are. Racism denies that most profound truth, that all of us are created in God’s image and each of us is entitled to dignity and respect.
“As women religious and their partners in mission, we acknowledge our own complicity in institutional racism. We pray for our nation’s healing, yet we know that is not enough. We ask forgiveness from people of color – without expecting or requiring it – to move into action. It is time for bold, decisive action – it is long past time to dismantle white privilege and rededicate ourselves to building God’s beloved community.
“As a Federation, we vow to turn our words into precise actions addressing the institutional racism that lives within our institutions and within ourselves. We vow to support criminal justice reforms, including a call for independent bodies that conduct investigations of police misconduct and broad, sweeping reforms to policing, incarceration, and the judicial system. As part of the reconciliation for the death of George Floyd, we urge Hennepin County Attorney, Mike Freeman, to pledge a just and timely adjudication of this tragedy.
“We call on the people of the United States to work with greater urgency to eliminate the systemic racism that infects the very soul of our nation. For the U.S. Federation, that requires us looking at all of our institutions and introducing guidelines to ensure that we are working to a more just society. This includes an honest look at the hiring and promotion practices at all levels, including the Federation, congregations, our schools, hospitals, and ministries.
“As we continue to work to dismantle institutional racism, we are all asked to do the deep, ongoing inner work that antiracism requires of us. This includes listening to, learning from, supporting, and elevating the Black voices from within our sisters, partners in mission, and more broadly.
“We ask God’s blessing on the struggle that lies ahead. We, as a Federation and as individuals, must do better.”
Yesterday, our Congregational Leadership Team sent the following letter to Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky.
Dear Bishop Stowe,
Greetings of peace to you in this time of Pentecost. We, the Congregational Leadership Team of the Sisters of Joseph of Carondelet, an international congregation of women religious with four provinces in the United States, are writing to thank you for your leadership in our Church. Most particularly, we are grateful for the way you stand with our most marginalized brothers and sisters: the LGBTQ community, immigrants, and people who are the targets of racist rhetoric and violence.
We read of the events that recently took place in Detroit when Auxiliary Bishop Battersby made it public that Fortunate Families would no longer be welcomed in any facility affiliated with the archdiocese. That same article mentioned that you are the ecclesial advisor to the executive director of Fortunate Families, and that Bishop Gumbleton is the local ecclesial advisor to the group. That puts you in prophetic company, and thus it surely makes you the target of much criticism and worse.
We are aware that a public statement like that of Bishop Battersby not only speaks loudly in his archdiocese, but that it puts pressure on other bishops, especially men like you who have publicly supported LGBTQ people and their families. We also admire you because this is not the only controversial issue on which you have taken leadership in our Church. We have read about your stance on broadening the views presented in Faithful Citizenship, your support for immigrants, and your public calls for US bishops to exercise greater leadership in denouncing the racism that is growing in our country. We agree with you on all these issues.
Bishop Stowe, we write today as your sisters to thank you for being the kind of leader the Church in the United States needs. We pledge to stand with you in solidarity with our oppressed and marginalized sisters and brothers and to keep you in our prayer that you may have the grace and strength to continue to act with wisdom and courage. If there is any other way we can support you, please do not hesitate to call on us.
In these days of Pentecost, we thank God for you and ask the Holy Spirit to be with us all as we strive to understand and respond to the signs of our times.
Congregational Leadership Team