This Central Illinois-based congregation of Dominican Sisters is one of many hundreds of congregations of Catholic religious women and men around the globe publicly committed to the Laudato Si’ Action Platform. The platform is Pope Francis’ call to the church to lead the global transformation necessary to reduce the threat of climate change.
On November 15 the sisters made public their commitment to the process with this statement:
The Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois, in the United States and Peru, recognize the urgency of the ecological crises facing our planet.
We live in common with all creation.
We acknowledge the need for our personal and collective transformation.
Responding to the cry of Earth, we commit to participation in the Laudato Si Action Platform.
This seven-year journey to achieve sustainability IS for the life of the world.
Under the leadership of Sister Sharon Zayac, a committee of Springfield Dominican Sisters and Associates will oversee the congregation’s process of moving toward sustainability in the seven areas of concern as outlined in the Pope’s encyclical Laudato Si’: responding to the cry of the Earth, responding to the cry of the poor, ecological economics, adoption of sustainable lifestyles, ecological education, ecological spirituality, and community action.
“Actually, like many other women’s religious congregations, we’ve been engaged in these actions for many years,” Sister Sharon said. She cites the Dominican Sisters’ 22-year stewardship of the 164-acre eco spirituality center, Jubilee Farm, their study of and advocacy for human rights and the rights of Earth, and their recognition that global climate change disproportionately affects the most impoverished in the world, particularly women and children.
“I firmly believe that while no individual person can possibly do enough to turn the tide of global climate disaster, without every person’s individual commitments, we will never turn that tide,” she said. “It takes all of us, individually and as communities, nation states, and faith communities to do this work of saving what we can and promoting the healing of the planet for all future generations.”
In a document prepared by the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development which oversees the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, organizers called the pope’s encyclical Laudato Si’ a “moral and spiritual compass.” It calls on all people to prepare for “socio-economic and cultural transformations that allow us to flourish without [unmitigated] growth, promote cooperation over competition, seek global solidarity over division…and adopt lifestyles of sufficiency that mend our strained relationship with the natural world—our common home.”
The Springfield Dominicans are committed to doing together what they can do and welcome others to join them. If you would like to be kept in the loop, sign up for the Dominican’s Laudato Si’ e-newsletter at https://springfieldop.org/laudato-si/.
The Dominican Sisters of Springfield are part of a worldwide Dominican family, the Order of Preachers. For more than 800 years, Dominicans have preached the Gospel in word and deed. The Springfield Dominicans were established in Jacksonville, Illinois, in 1873 and relocated to Springfield in 1893. Today, thousands of Dominican sisters, nuns, priests, brothers, associates, and laity minister in more than 100 countries around the world.