Introduction: People and Deep Social Change
Elizabeth Davis rsm (Newfoundland)
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In month one of our exploration of “global” in Mercy Global Presence, we explored the cosmos mercified into being. In this past month, we have contemplated Earth and integral theology. Sister Mary Sullivan dared us to embrace an ecological conversion and to grow into an “Enough Theology,” following Catherine’s plea, “Let us never desire more than enough.” Sisters Margaret Milne, Cheryl Connelly and Teresa Anderson gave us a beautiful photo essay, interweaving Maori and English words, advice from diverse thinkers and awe-inspiring photographs. Sister Maryanne Kolkia showed us how she lives integral ecology through her social and pastoral ministry, advocating for creation and human persons. The young global activist, Cate Kelly, showed us in words and actions how she is grounded in integral ecology, “My relationship with God’s creation is one of wonder, respect and comfort, and I never feel so alive as when I am interacting with the Earth.” The Indigenous Elder, Uncle Max Dulumunmun Harrison, walked with students around a pond created under the guidance of the elders to honour water, the energy of life, “We respect. – We connect. – Together we are one.” The profoundly touching prayer reflection created by Sister Anne Curtis called us into the presence of a God who dances in creation. The facilitators’ guide gave us wonderful links with other realities around us, including the conclusion of the Synod on the Amazon with its emphasis on listening to and recognition of indigenous voices everywhere. All the voices together, chanting the beauty of Earth and lamenting its suffering, dared us to contemplate and to respond together in passion and in hope.
Now we enter into month three of our exploration of what “global” means – people and deep social change. Sociologists define social change as changes in human interactions and relationships that transform cultural and social institutions. We are living in an age which is seeing more social change than any other group of humans have ever seen in such a short time. Look at your own life and the changes in recent years in your food, your clothing, your home, your prayer, your reading, your friends, your interests, your use of social media, your ministry. . . As we name some of the marks of this age – some positive and some not, I invite you to observe the realities around you.
We are the first group of humans to experience six generations of people living at the same time, each generation formed with different values. Family has a new face: same-sex parents with children, multi-racial families, single parent families and families without children. Increasing numbers of older persons mean that by 2050, there will be more people in the world over 60 years of age than there will be under 15 years of age. Poverty and inequality continue to grow with 20% of people holding 84% of the wealth and 20% holding 1.4% of the wealth – nine men hold the same wealth as the poorest 3.6 billion people. Over 60 million refugees are without a country, because of oppression or climate emergency. Violence continues in war, hate crimes against the LGBTQ community, sexual violence, abortion, mistreatment of indigenous people, ableism, threat posed by nuclear weapons, family violence and racism. Social media – facebook, twitter, smart phones, youtube – have become a dominant means of communication...
Spanish translation using DeepL Translator. Traducción al español con DeepL Translator
Elizabeth Davis rsm is the Congregation Leader of the Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland.
She is the Mercy Leaders' representive on the Mercy Global Presence Guiding Group.
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