Aston-PA – The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia take great joy in announcing that the congregation, as a result of a recent referendum, have declared a corporate stand on Care for Creation by which we commit to ecological education of ourselves and others leading to concrete actions both individual and communal. During their congregational assembly, held June 26-28, 2017, the sisters celebrated the passage of the corporate stand approved by members of the congregation. Although the sisters have undertaken many environmental actions over the past 20 years, we believe that a public stand is important now because of the increasing harm inflicted on Earth, and because of the call to defend creation issued by Pope Francis in his encyclical, Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home. Sister Mary Kathryn Dougherty, congregational minister, shared the underlying rationale when she said, “We believe that all of creation is sacred, and it is our moral obligation to care for her. This corporate stand reminds us and challenges us to act in accordance with our beliefs.”
Today we are witnessing environmental changes to our planet that harm Earth and the quality of life of her inhabitants. Warning signs are all around us. The beauties of nature are being lost. The contamination of our lakes, rivers, and oceans by wastewater from households and industry; the toxic air we breathe from harmful chemicals used in manufacturing; the destruction of rain forests to make way for development; fracking of the land for fossil fuels; the extinction of species who experience loss of habitat; the overuse of natural resources; and the exploitation and disregard of native peoples’ land for economic gain—all affect whole ecosystems that will not recover unless immediate action is taken. By taking this corporate stand, the sisters challenge themselves to take further steps as individuals and as a congregation to defend and protect Mother Earth. They also pledge to continue to educate themselves and others about ecology and threats to the planet.
The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia is a community of approximately 425 Catholic women religious who choose a Gospel way of life lived in community and uphold a long and honored tradition of loving God and being in relationships through loving service. We choose to live the Gospel in the prophetic spirit of Francis of Assisi and our foundress Mother Francis Bachmann. With Jesus Christ as Brother, we live as sister with one another, with the entire human family, and with all creation. Calling ourselves and one another to continuous conversion of heart, we commit ourselves to a life of contemplation, poverty, and humility. Seeking to participate in the Spirit’s action in the world, we direct our personal and corporate resources to the promotion of justice, peace, and reconciliation. osfphila.org
Sister Maria Orlandini, OSF, Director of Advocacy and Congregational Outreach, Franciscan Action Network, (202) 527-7562, firstname.lastname@example.org
Florence Smith, Director of Communications, Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, (610) 558-7726, email@example.com