The Eco-Justice Committee of the Dominican Alliance met at Heartland Farm and the Great Bend motherhouse in Kansas March 17-20, 2011. Ten committee members were present, representing the Dominican Sisters of Houston, Springfield, Peace, and Racine. Members from Sinsinawa and Grand Rapids were unable to attend.
Participants stayed at Heartland Farm, in Pawnee Rock, 14 miles from town, holding the business meeting in the farm’s strawbale arts building, praying in the converted silo and enjoying home-cooked meals and a tour of the farm. The group traveled to Otis, Kansas, for a guided tour of Westwind Energy, a wind-turbine manufacturing facility. Dr. Scott Brantley, CEO and founder of this cutting-edge remake of a former John Deere dealership, personally led the tour.
Saturday morning found the group at the Great Bend motherhouse setting up for the 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. presentation of the fourth of the Eco-Justice Committee’s workshops, “Alternative Journey: A Climate for Change.” There were 33 sisters attending and six other folks from the local community. The program was well-received, with lively discussion and insightful questions.
After attending Saturday evening liturgy, the group car-pooled to Beaver, Kansas, by way of Cheyenne Bottoms wildlife refuge. Though an intermittent rain was added to the wetland’s bird habitat, the ducks and pelicans didn’t seem to mind. A brief hailstorm grounded most of the birds, but the sun came out just as we left the refuge.
On Sunday morning, the travelers set out for long drives or a trek to Wichita to catch flights back home. The next of the semi-annual meetings will be in Columbus, Ohio.