Thanks to Sr. Maxine Pohlman, SSND, Director of the La Vista Ecological Learning Ctr.
On Saturday, April 21, Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker gave the keynote address at a conference held at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois entitled Our Sacred Earth, Our Common Home. Dr. Tucker is a Senior Lecturer and Research Scholar at Yale University where she has appointments in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies as well as the Divinity School and the Department of Religious Studies. This event is the second in a series devoted to the study and implementation of Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si’.
According to Sr. Maxine Pohlman, SSND, Director of the La Vista Ecological Learning Center which co-sponsored the event, “The participants were inspired by Dr. Tucker’s enthusiasm as she shared her appreciation of papal encyclical Laudato Si’. She helped us to wake up to its importance in the Catholic tradition of social encyclicals as well as its worldwide influence and impact beyond Catholicism. Being a leader in the emerging field of Religion and Ecology, she was able to unite the two as she led us through the content of the document.”
Throughout her presentation, Dr. Tucker praised Pope Francis for his leadership and call to action: “The spirituality of Francis in the encyclical is clear: It begins with Mother Earth, the Canticle to Brother Sun and Sister Moon, Bonaventure, you all know the mind’s path to God goes through the natural world…and so much of this is awe-evoking action…we’re looking for renewable energy, the renewal energy we’re looking for is the energy of the spirit. To renew the face of the earth. And that’s where religious communities, spiritual sensibilities and moral force will make a difference.”
After the keynote, the attendees split up for break out sessions, one by Sr. Cheryl Kemner, OSF and Nicole Heerlein of Franciscans for Earth: “The Challenge of Technology and Simple Lifestyle,” another featuring Sr. Maxine Pohlman, SSND, Director of La Vista Ecological Learning Center: “Backyard Revolution,” “Care for the Earth; Care for the Poor” by Sr. Connie Probst, OSF – Co-Director, St. Anthony’s Food Pantry, and “What Can My Parish and Family Do?” by Jamie Hasemeier of Holy Redeemer Parish. In addition, Dr. Tucker held a break out session for religious sisters.
The event, which attracted about 100 people ran from 9 AM to Noon at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. The day was co-sponsored by: the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows; La Vista Ecological Learning Center; the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and the School Sisters of Notre Dame.