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Reflections

Olive Tree as Symbol for Laudato Si’ Efforts

Olive Tree as Symbol for Laudato Si’ Efforts

The Dominican Sisters of San Rafael and various lay staff and community partners are exploring and living into our Laudato Si’ Action Platform. Laudato Si’ is the second encyclical of Pope Francis and includes the subtitle “on care for our common home”. In this challenging address to people of goodwill, the Pope critiques consumerism and irresponsible development, laments environmental degradation and global warming, and calls all people of the world to take “swift and unified global action” to counter these effects we did not see coming.

On October 4, 2022, aptly coinciding with the conclusion of the month-long Season of Creation and Feast of St. Francis, the Sisters offered a presentation called “Branch Out” to share their vision and priorities relative to the Laudato Si’ Action Platform. At the event, organized by Sr. Barbara Green who serves on the leadership council, she shared that the sisters are looking for partners—OPartners— who also seek to BRANCH OUT. “We shall seek inspiration from each other and our environment. Putting on our uniquely Dominican lense and approach and tackling this immense proposition in a way that St. Dominic may have in his day, will offer fresh perspectives and practical solutions for embracing the challenges we are choosing to focus on—knowing there are so many more possibilities.” As Sister Barbara shared with the crowd gathered, the two areas of focus for the sisters and OPartners are efforts related to decreasing our carbon footprint and water conservation.

Thank you to those who attended, whether in person or online, our Branch Out: Taking Action for Our Common Home presentation today to learn about why the sisters are committed to joining their efforts to shape the Laudato Si’ Action Platform and how you can help.

The challenge is to say “Yes” to OPartnering with the Sisters in the chosen priorities of the reduction of our carbon footprint and the enhancement of our care for water. OPartners can participate in two ways.

  1. General participation involves working informally on your own efforts and meeting occasionally to discuss strategies and actions with other OPartners.
  2. Active Planning participation involves contributing to the more intense planning of how our two chosen priorities can be shaped to fit the general specifications of other Action Platform projects—coming up with action items for the community related to the Sisters’ identified priorities. This active role will involve some research in understanding the issues, challenges, and pertinent opportunities of our local area and formulating our plans to the specifications of the action platform.

In either instance, your assistance in shaping our local action plan that will then be submitted to a larger, global action plan as part of a worldwide effort will be rich and rewarding.

Guests enjoyed a casual reception following the presentation as well as a short walk of the grounds which allowed us an opportunity to see how the olive trees on campus can help us in our response to the Pope’s challenge.

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Preachers of  Truth • Love • Justice