Integrity of Creation Resources
The School Sisters of Notre Dame's Integrity of Creation Committee offers these suggestions for resources to “nurture our consciousness of unity with all creation.” We hope these resources will be helpful to you in your personal lives and in your ministries.
The Voice of the Infinite in the Small is a prayer resource for the small crawling and flying creatures. Science and religion together tell us that all of creation is interwoven, interdependent and that we would do well to respect all life forms whether or not they obviously contribute to our pleasure. Let us pray about those who are considered small and unworthy and ask to become aware that God’s love extends as much to them as to any. Let us be mindful of the smallest efforts and the tiniest creatures as we go about our tasks great and small.
Laudato Si': Pope Francis recently released his Encyclical on climate change. The School Sisters of Notre Dame suggest the following resources to help understand it and put it in perspective.
Laudato Si' video from the Vatican
Laudato Si': A Document for All Seasons by Mary Ellen Dougherty, SSND
Respect for the Earth by Sister Kay O'Connell, SSND
Study & Action Guide from the Columban Fathers
Lex credendi, lex vivendi: A response to Laudato Si’ by Sister Ilia Delio, OSF
Laudato Si’ . . . a Call to Contemplation by Sister Nancy Sylvester, IHM
The Catholic Climate Covenant
- Resources, stories, opportunities for action are available on their website.
- Find a list of quotations from the encyclical arranged by subject here.
USCCB's Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development
- Bulletin Insert lists important themes in the encyclical and includes suggestions for prayer and action.
- Discussion Guide on Laudato Si’
- Caring for God's Creation offers resources for Liturgy, Preaching, and Taking Action.
Symphony of the Soil, a documentary by Deborah Koons Garcia, explores the miraculous substance of soil. Scientists, farmers, and ranchers speak respectfully and movingly of this precious element, which is the very substance of life on Earth. It is impossible not to see soil differently after viewing this film. As The New York Times says, “Unfolding with gentle joy and an unexpected beauty, this ode to the miracle of the Earth’s topmost layer gives us a newfound respect for the ground beneath our feet….Infused with an infectious love for its subject, Symphony of the Soil presents a wondrous world of critters and bacteria, mulch and manure.” 2014 Lily Films. For purchase or information visit www.symphonyofthesoil.com.
Celebrating Earth Day: Catholics are called to respect God’s creation and deal with environmental issues, particularly as they affect the poor. Vatican and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ statements have highlighted the moral imperative for Catholics to care for God’s creation and its impact on those least able to respond. Learn more about how you can celebrate Earth Day on April 22 or visit the following websites for information and resources which can be used personally or with SSND community, parish or other groups: Catholic Climate Movement and Catholic Climate Covenant.
Lenten Water Reflection: The members of the SSND Atlantic-Midwest Province Water Committee invite you to spend time during Lent 2015 to reflect on the priceless gift of water in our world today. To assist you, they have created an online Lenten Calendar that is designed to help us ponder, study, celebrate, and protect this natural resource, which is in severe ecological crisis. The Lenten Calendar begins on Ash Wednesday, includes weekly Sunday reflections and concludes with reflections for the Easter Triduum and Easter Sunday. The resource is available at: Lenten Water Reflection 2015
Lent resource: Creation Covenant is a 2015 Lenten resource, explores God's covenant with all creation in light of present-day habitat loss and the extinction of plants and animals. The five-week program for individuals or groups connects Christ's suffering 2000 years ago with his suffering today "in ten thousand places" (G. M. Hopkins) so that we respond not only to Jesus’ suffering and death but also to the suffering and death within creation where God lives and acts. Designed by Terri MacKenzie, SHCJ, Creation Covenant is a timely response to what Pope Francis wrote in Joy of the Gospel: "God has joined us so closely to the world around us that we can feel . . . the extinction of a species as a painful disfigurement. Let us not leave in our wake a swath of destruction and death which will affect our own lives and those of future generations. The resource is available at: Creation Covenant Lenten Reflections 2015
2014: Advent in the New Universe Story is a four-session resource from Terri MacKenzie for those interested in deepening their understanding of the Christmas/ Incarnation reality in the context of the new creation story. The Incarnation is a Mystery that a lifetime of contemplation would not exhaust, and yet we are continually called to explore this Mystery, especially during Advent. These reflections will facilitate that exploration. Useful for individuals but designed for groups, the weeks' topics include the following:
New Consciousness, New Christian Understanding;
The Cosmos Prepares for New Life;
Evolving Understanding of Humanity's Place in Creation; and
This 10-page resource is available free: 2014: Advent in the New Universe Story
Fracking, a simplified term referring to hydraulic fracturing, is the high-pressure injection of water, chemicals and sand into shale deposits, 6-12 thousand feet below us, to release the gas and oil trapped within the rock. Today many of our states across the nation are affected by fracking operations or by the mining of sand that then affects wild life and the people living in the area. Sister Ethel Howley, SSND, social responsibility resource person for the SSND Cooperative Investment Fund, has provided an analysis of the issue with suggestions for reflection actions you can take: Fracking and the Earth Community 2014.
Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken: Despite sad and sobering events in our human history and present realities, the author estimates that there are well over one million organizations working toward ecological sustainability, social justice, and the welfare of all of Earth’s life-forms. As Bill McKibben comments, “This is the first full account of the real news of our time, and it’s exactly the opposite of the official account.” Millions of people are passionate and active! Penguin Books, 2007.
Ecology at the Heart of Faith: The Change of Heart that Leads to a New Way of Living on Earth by Denis Edwards: As the ecological crisis deepens, religious faith has an increasingly important contribution to make to the ecological movement. Denis Edwards shows that humanity and the world are together being made into the image of God. He points out that the Christian belief in the Incarnation at the heart of our faith is deeply connected to creation and therefore to the care and preservation of Earth and all its creatures. He echoes Pope John Paul II’s insistence that care of creation is a moral issue and calls for an “ecological conversion.” This is a beautiful book for prayer as well as study. Orbis Books, 2006.
Journey of the Universe by Brian Thomas Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker tells the “epic story of the emergence of the universe and of the community of life with a new vision for how we might bring forth a vibrant Earth Community.” This short book is beautifully written; it is concise and insightful, informative and highly readable. We discover with awe that the SSND charism of unity emerges from the essential oneness of the universe and of the Earth community of which we are a part. Available at the Journey of the Universe website.
Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth is an excellent collection of essays of the voices of those who have gone deep to understand the nature of the relation of the human with the Earth. The essays by these renowned pioneers present a foundation for re-discovering, re-feeling, and re-connecting with nature as sacred and for recognizing our current ecological crises as essentially spiritual in character. The essay format of this book, as well as its content, makes it quite as effective for a book club discussion as it is for personal use. Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth, edited by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, The Golden Sufi Center, Point Reyes, CA, 2013. For more information, visit the Spiritual Ecology website.
Living Beyond the “End of the World” – A Spirituality of Hope by Margaret Swedish, Orbis Books. Margaret Swedish lays out a series of interconnected forces which are undermining life as we know it: global warming and climate change; the depletion of petroleum sources; the exhaustion of natural resources; the collapse of the world economy; and the escalation of global violence. While not at all sugar-coating these growing threats, Swedish presents them as a challenge to people of faith. She asks us what kind of human beings we will be as we live through this difficult and frightening period of human history. She outlines the values, vision and spiritual resources that might nurture a new human community and ensure a future for future generations. A "must read" for us as we live out our call to facilitate the transformation of all creation! The book is available on Amazon.