ACTION PLATFORM COMMITMENT
The Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters publicly commit to join the worldwide Catholic community in responding to Pope Francis’ urgent call to participate in a seven-year journey toward ecological sustainability whereby we address the climate crisis that threatens Our Common Home, the Earth, and its inhabitants, especially the most vulnerable. This commitment energizes the heart of our mission to stand with those on the margins and gives it a new focus for this critical time.
We pledge to develop a seven-year action plan to respond to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.
We are a small and aging community. In view of this reality, we whole-heartedly commit to collaborate with others in the work of caring for the Earth and reversing the damage humanity has caused to our Brothers and Sisters and to our Planet Earth.
BUILDING ON WHAT WE HAVE DONE
Pope Francis has issued an urgent call to every person living on the Earth, and most specifically to the entire Catholic Church, to address the serious threats to our Common Home. The Dicastery (Department) in Rome that is spearheading the response to the Pope’s call is the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development. Every sector of the Church is being challenged to contribute to the Laudato Si’ Action Platform.
Religious Congregations alone represent more than 660,000 people. Each Congregation is asked to discern which goals they will focus on in light of their reality, mission and charism. Then, in building an Action Plan, we are encouraged NOT to start from scratch but rather to look at what we have done and are already doing to respond to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor and build on that.
Over the years, we have lived simply with gratitude for God’s creation, caring for our Victory Noll home and at times growing our own food. We have planted trees, vegetables and flowers that attracted a variety of wild life: birds, bees and deer are among our favorites. In 1995 we engaged Rev. Al Fritsch to do a land audit. This helped us bring a more pronounced ecological dimension to our property and culminated in a 10-year plan led by the Cherish the Earth Committee. Some of the specifics included planting milk weed for monarch butterflies, composting, recycling, promoting solar ovens and reducing lawn and mowing. Later we declared the Victory Noll Campus smoke-free and formulated a Land Ethic as a guide for planning and decision-making.
As we grew smaller, we recognized the need to lighten the load of administration and reduce the ownership of buildings we no longer needed. Therefore, between 2016-2021 we sold:
Our health care facility to Saint Anne’s Communities in order to respond to the needs of lay persons in the area as well as to the needs of our sisters;
A total of 125 acres of trees and prairie to ACRES Land Trust to preserve and protect this land for future generations to enjoy God’s creation;
The original buildings on the Victory Noll Campus to Huntington County for restorative programming versus incarceration for drug or alcohol offenses due to addiction.
These new owners are carrying the spirit of the Victory Noll mission forward into the future in a new way. At the same time, our Victory Noll life has become more simple.
At our Chapter in October 2021, we affirmed a Legacy Plan by which we committed a significant portion of our present and future financial resources to responding to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.
In the Fall of 2021, we read and shared in small groups on Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Si’, and gave feedback to our Laudato Si’ Committee to formulate the first draft of an Action Plan.
Standing on what we have done up to this moment, we commit to go forward with the Action Plan to which we commit ourselves, individually, communally and congregationally. The three goals will guide us in the journey toward our common destination of sustainability of the Earth via integral ecology, addressing both human and social concerns — pursuing ecological education, deepening our experience of ecological spirituality, and a commitment to community action and advocacy.