As Sisters of St. Joseph we believe that we are a part of creation and not apart from it
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, protect, 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.
The Garden Ministry
We have established an organic garden on the Brentwood grounds in keeping with our belief that all of God’s creation is sacred and should be treated with respect and care. The soil remains in its pristine state without pesticides and pollutants and free and healthy chickens provide organic eggs.
We have been working to preserve the land and to return it to agriculture. Parcels of land have been leased to farmers and the fields are slowly being restored to agriculture. The vegetables grown here are totally organic and are available at a farm stand for purchase by the local community.
In response to our Land Ethic Statement, the congregation partnered with organizations interested in promoting clean, sustainable energy use and generation on Long Island. We have installed a ground mounted solar array system on the Brentwood property operative since December 2017.
The Brentwood campus has extensive beautiful lawns but these lawns also compromise the health of the soil and ground water. To make our grounds more sustainable we are in the process of replacing lawns with rain gardens, native grass meadows, and native plants.
The Sisters of St. Joseph are attempting to improve the sewage disposable system on the Brentwood campus in a cost-efficient sustainable manner while reducing the nitrogen threat to the groundwater.
The Brentwood campus is a 212-acre parcel that contains significant natural and community resources. Our 40 acres of woodlands overlie large quantities of pure drinking water on Long Island and boast a great diversity of trees, plants, and birds.
The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph Opposes the Trump Administration’s Affordable Clean Energy Rule
We, the U. S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, compelled by the Gospel and by our heritage to be responsive to the “dear neighbor” without distinction, are concerned for all of God’s creation and our sisters and brothers everywhere.
We stand with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in our deep concern about the release of the Trump Administration’s Affordable Clean Energy rule. The proposed rule would significantly weaken the Clean Power Plan (CPP) which sought to speed the closure of coal-burning plants and the conversion to clean energy in order to reduce carbon pollution, mitigate climate change, and protect the health and welfare of all people, especially the most vulnerable.
The 2014 CPP set flexible national standards to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent and premature deaths from power plant emissions by nearly 90 percent in 2030 compared to 2005. The new Affordable Clean Energy rule allows states to decide if and how they want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-burning power plants, placing the health of the nation and the planet at continued risk.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s own analysis shows that under the proposed rule carbon dioxide emissions will continue to rise and could lead to as many as 1,400 premature deaths annually.
Climate is a common good given to all and for which all are responsible. Each of us is called to cooperate with God to protect our common home and to care for all of God’s creation. We believe, with Pope Francis, that all nations have “a clear, definitive, and ineluctable ethical imperative to act” to protect Earth and its people.
None more so than the United States as we, historically, have been the world’s largest carbon polluter, adding almost six billion tons of carbon dioxide every year to the atmosphere.
In his Encyclical, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis, reminds us of our biblical call to live in right relationship and to cooperate with God’s design for our world. We call on all people of good will to join us in opposing this rule that threatens the health and safety of our neighbors and our planet home. We urge all Americans to take the opportunity to register their concerns during the required comment period for the Affordable Clean Energy rule.