Sisters of Earth was founded in 1994 by several Catholic Sisters from the U.S. and Canada, who were engaged in exploring the new cosmology and implications for this emerging worldview. Sisters of Earth is an informal network of women who share a deep concern for the ecological and spiritual crises of our times and who wish to support one another in work toward healing the human spirit and restoring Earth’s life support systems. We are teachers, gardeners, artists, writers, administrators, workshop and retreat presenters, mothers, contemplatives, and activists in North America, South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and beyond. This network of sharing and support is open to all women whose life and work would identify them as Sisters of Earth. We hold a general meeting every two years in different parts of the USA.
This July, Sisters of Earth met in Cincinnati at Mount St. Joseph University. Representing Carondelet were associates and Sisters from most of our provinces. The theme for the 2018 conference was “Sharing the Wisdom, Shaping the Dream: Creating the Future We Want.” Throughout the conference, we together explored this theme through prayer, ritual, conferences, workshops, conversations, and pop-ups. Pop-ups were five- to ten-minute presentations that gave attendees a chance to share examples from their work/ministry/lifestyle of Active Hope.
Those of us from Carondelet would like to share with you our own pop-ups in the context of our takeaways from the conference experience. Some of our takeaways are connected to specific conferences and moments within the Sisters of Earth 2018 Conference. Other reflections/concerns are takeaways that are located in the context of our preparation for Chapter in 2019.
This was my first time attending the SOE Conference. My most significant learnings, came from the “pop-ups” They were full of examples of various communities living out their relationship with the entire Earth Community. I began to see ways forward for all of us that would impact the Earth Community in a positive way. Some ideas shared were:
I would be glad to have conversation about any of these topics.
The main points that struck me at SOE as relating to the idea of Earth as context were the following:
Life on Earth has been successful in adapting to change for about four billion years, why not use some of her strategies? One way to do this would be to use, in Gloria Garcia, IHM’s terms, bio-mimicry or bio-emulation, using life’s strategies. Principles involved in doing this include interdependence and valuing diversity for health of the whole.
So some questions for us as we adapt to change might include:
“What you can plan is too small for you to live.” -David Whyte, What To Remember When Waking
The best part of this conference for me was the reconnecting with sisters from all over the globe who are actively trying to live in an Earth-sustainable way within unjust social and economic systems that affect Earth’s ability to renew life. It is hard to remain counter-cultural and challenging to keep aware of my own choices. Reconnecting with the Sisters of Earth is like a shot in the arm to continue responding to our Acts of Chapter question: “How will this action affect the whole Earth community?”
A very powerful experience of the SOE conference was the “hybrid” presentation of Awakening the Dreamer. The process of beginning in gratitude (Who are we?), moving to our pain (Where are we?), seeing with new eyes (How did we get here?) and going forth (Where do we go from here?) deepened my awareness and called me to active hope. I felt these questions echoing within me as a way to reflect and to live more authentically in my personal life, and also in my ministry and community circles. There is an urgency to question the long-held assumptions of church, country, and community. There is an urgency to live the challenges of “inter-being” and to truly be in communion with the Earth family. The SOE conference was a gift and a privilege!