As Sisters of St. Joseph we believe that we are a part of creation and not apart from it. We seek to treat it with love, respect and justice.
We believe that we are all one in the circle of God’s sustaining love. Earth is our home and all Earth’s creatures and systems are interrelated. Each living being is cherished by God. All have a right to be here. As conscious members of this Earth community, we recognize ourselves as responsible to act for the good of all. To ignore practices and attitudes which are destructive of any part of our living earth, would negate our expressed belief that we are called to be united in God’s creative love.
The call to ecological conversion is part of our developing spiritual vision in the 21st Century. An understanding of its theological and cosmological underpinnings will deepen our awareness of our interconnection with all creation and the unity of all things in God. We will avail ourselves of all opportunities to develop ourselves in this understanding and to act on it.
Chapter 2011 Direction Statement
LAND ETHIC STATEMENT
As Sisters of St. Joseph, our charism calls us to love of God and neighbor without distinction. We believe that all is one and that our call is to an active inclusive love that seeks this union with God and the sacred community of life that includes all of creation – air, soil, water, plants, and animals. We see ourselves in union with this community that we hold as the neighbor through whom God continues to be revealed.
We acknowledge our responsibility to balance our communal needs and the needs of Earth now and into the future. As we continue to deepen these beliefs and understandings and make decisions regarding the land entrusted to our care, we commit ourselves to the following:
- To treat all parts of Earth as sacred and Earth’s beings as our neighbors to be respected and loved;
- To honor the beauty of creation as life giving for the human spirit, allowing ourselves to be filled with awe and reverence before the wonders of creation;
- To educate ourselves, our associates, and our partners in ministry regarding the bioregions in which we live and to be well informed in modern sciences that will enrich our beliefs and perspectives;
- To affirm that every member of the Earth community has intrinsic value in its being, and the right to live in its natural habitat, and to fulfill its role in the ever-renewing processes of Earth;
- To keep in mind the needs of the persons in all of our local neighborhoods;
- To preserve, rotect, restore, and cherish the integrity, biodiversity, balance, and beauty of the land and all the species with whom we share it;
- To advocate for ethical principles in the treatment of our bioregion and to collaborate with individuals and groups who are committed to these principles;
- To monitor the ways in which we use and consume necessary products and to consider options for obtaining products that are not harmful to the land, the inhabitants, or the bioregion; and
- To research options such as land trusts, easements, deed restrictions, and the transfer or selling of development rights in order to determine the best way to preserve the land that we hold in sacred trust.
We will evaluate the consequences of all decisions made regarding the land in the context of our mission and we will be aware of the interrelated justice issues and the global implications. We will make our decisions only after serious discernment and research. As a congregation, we will consider the following questions prior to making any decisions:
- What are the moral and ethical implications of this decision?
- Are there other ecologically viable alternatives to this decision?
- How does this decision respect the present and future integrity of the land?
- How does this decision preserve the soil, water, air and species of the land and the larger bioregion?
- Have we collaborated with other persons whom this decision will affect?
Wherever we are located, these beliefs lead us to practice a mutually enhancing relationship with the land that has been entrusted to our care.