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Report from The Congregation on Cosmology/Eco-justice

June 15, 2017

My work continues to be about disseminating information to the sisters in the Congregation through our Province links system on issues to do with Ecology & Justice and to encourage the sisters to engage in petitions and lobbying work around such issues.

Image: iStock. Used under licence

With regard to petitions and lobbying this work is in conjunction with other groups in the country especially a coalition called Stop Climate Chaos [which includes groups like Friends of the Earth] and the Catholic Church based justice organisation Trócaire. [Trócaire was established back in 1973 with a dual purpose: to support the most vulnerable people in the developing world – due to conflict and natural disaster and increasingly climate change —and to raise awareness of development at home in Ireland.]

I have continued to issue petitions and information around climate change and fracking. With regard to the latter we have been part of the campaign to ban fracking in Ireland. Thankfully, just over a week ago the Irish parliament passed all the stages involved in a bill introduced to ban fracking in the country.

Another area related to climate change has been the call on the Irish Government to divest from fossil fuel support. I have issued information, petitions, and encouraged people to attend meetings around the Divestment Bill currently going through the Irish Parliament. This is in conjunction with Stop Climate Chaos and Trócaire. In this regard there was a real effort to get people to attend a meeting in Cork where politicians from different parties talked about their position on divesting from fossil fuels and moving to more sustainable sources of energy.

Other similar issues include:

  • Disseminating material from groups like the Global Climate Movement in particular around the need for Church and Church-related groups to engage with the global warming issue, and to be more conscious of the need for climate justice.
  • Sending out any updates received on human rights, migration, and the refugee crisis, and asking people to support stands against terrorism in all its forms and across the globe
  • Supporting and sharing information on the work of the SHEP Earth Awareness Group. This is a local initiative [but with a global reach] of a few mercy sisters and the long established Cork based group— Social and Health Education [SHEP]. They have put on evenings in their local offices where they showed DVDs on climate change and its impact. These have been well attended and have given people opportunity to become more aware of, to reflect on and engage with a range of issues relating to climate change.
  • Invitations have also been circulated inviting people to petition Members of the European Parliament [MEP] to vote against CETA—the global trade deal with Canada. Also to petition world leaders to protect endangered species around the globe.
  • There has also been engagement with some more local issues such as petitioning members of Parliament [TDs] re the housing crisis in Dublin.

Carmel Bracken rsm & Kathleen Glennon rsm continue their work in creating a variety of ritual style resources concerned with cosmology and the new consciousness.
Specifically, they have done some revision on the Reflection on Water for Global Frackdown Day. It was updated for use on World Water Day. Anne Walsh worked with a graphics designer to create a beautiful format for that. Access the ritual - Full colour: A4 Paper Size, US Letter Size; B&W: A4 Paper Size, US Letter Size

Another ritual created by them entitled Widening the Circle of Mercy ritual has also been updated, graphically presented and uploaded onto the Global Catholic Climate organisation website as a resource for Mercy2Earth.

Both rituals are also being uploaded onto the International Presentation website – they are gathering resources.

Carmel Bracken rsm & Marcella O’Connell rsm continue their involvement in the Future We Need group.
This has primarily concerned itself with the SDGs. The booklet on mining, published last year, is now in its third print. CEIST [a Trustee body for 110 Voluntary Catholic Secondary Schools in Ireland] has uploaded it to their website and did a write up on it in their newsletter.

The group hopes to continue their work on the SDGs, building on previous submissions they have made to the UN. Last December they organised a one day pilot workshop on how the SDGs might be looked at from a different perspective. Carmel and Marcella led a reflective meditation on loving kindness, as part of the workshop as well as using a short video presentation on the SDGs.

RE future directions as well as continuing current involvements and keeping abreast of the work in the cosmology area it is my hope to get membership to feed back to me, in more systematic ways, information on issues and approaches they are engaged in, particularly regarding climate change and its impact on the poorest at every level.

Messages to: Margaret Twomey rsm