Many Catholic Sisters are choosing Catholic Sisters Week, March 8-14, to share publicly our commitment to join with every person living on our Planet in addressing the serious threats to Earth and its inhabitants.
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.
Pope Francis has issued an urgent call to all people, especially the Church, to respond in action to the Climate Crisis. He pleads with all who are taking the climate crisis seriously, to unite and bring about real, positive change.
Sisters are taking this call very seriously as both a challenge and an opportunity. It is exciting and hopeful to know that the Church can make a significant contribution to a major shift away from destruction and abuse toward unity and care for the earth and for all who call the Earth home.
It is important to realize that we are not starting from scratch and that the call is to build on what we have done up to this time to lovingly care for God’s creation. We initiated a Cherish the Earth Committee to carry out recommendations flowing from a Land Audit which was done in 1995. This audit helped us bring a more pronounced ecological dimension to our property and culminated in a 10 year plan. Some of the specifics included planting milk weed for monarch butterflies, composting, recycling, promotion of solar ovens and reduction of lawn and mowing. Then several years ago, as part of our planning for the future, we realized that one of the most precious assets or resources with which we had been gifted by Archbishop Noll, is the land near the Forks of the Wabash on which our motherhouse is located. We are also very much aware that this is the land on which the Miami People lived. Mindful of all this, we sold a large portion of our property to ACRES Land Trust to preserve and protect these acres for future generations to enjoy.
In addition, the buildings on the Victory Noll Campus have been sold to Huntington County, and will be used by Community Corrections. We are grateful that this land will contribute to a healing experience for persons dealing with addictions to drugs or alcohol.
And finally, residents at Saint Anne’s Communities at Victory Noll continue to enjoy riding and walking around the grounds when weather permits.
For many of us what is called for is an ecological conversion and what better time to focus on conversion than during Lent. Each of us can ask the question, “What is it that I can do to protect and heal our Earth?” Just one example would be to reduce food waste by buying what you will eat and donate excess purchases to the food pantries in town. Learning, becoming more aware, bringing the aspects of this worldwide crisis to prayer and committed action, are all a part of ecological conversion.
Finally, we wish to applaud the efforts on the part of the City of Huntington to plant more trees, recycle, do River clean-up, provide parks and make our city buildings more energy efficient. If we all do something and do it together, we can make a significant difference to our City, our State … and our World!
Sr. Beatrice Haines
Social Justice Coordinator
Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters