June 27, 2019

What Does Earth Ask of Us?

Robin Wall Kimmerer with Mercy by the Sea retreatants as they honor the rising full “Flower Moon” with song, storytelling, poetry and community

Robin Wall Kimmerer, award-winning author of the books *Braiding Sweetgrass* and *Gathering Moss*led a weekend retreat at Mercy by the Sea in Madison, Connecticut, May 17-19.

“Returning the Gift: What Does the Earth Ask of Us?” drew 70 retreatants—ages 20 to 80—from a dozen states. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and the founder and director of SUNY’s Center of Native Peoples and Environment, Robin facilitated a celebrative experience to help awaken participants to their role in the cycle of reciprocity, both receiving and returning the gifts of the generous Earth. 

She engaged the indigenous worldview and shared the ancient rules of the “Honorable Harvest” to teach how it is one’s responsibility to find ways to enter into reciprocity with the more-than-human world through gratitude, ritual, ceremony, land care, science, art and “everyday acts of practical reverence.” 

Mercy by the Sea

As part of the Mercy Monarch Milkweed Project, retreatants participated in a restoration activity, planting native milkweed seeds donated by the University of Connecticut’s Master Gardener Program in new pollinator gardens prepared by the Mercy Garden Team. As a sacred circle, retreatants honored a full “Flower Moon” with song, storytelling and poetry on the beach.

Overall, the retreat helped to foster a new consciousness of potential spiritual and pragmatic responses to the ecological crisis we face.

- Karin Nobile

Messages to: Catherine (Cathy) Walsh, Communications Specialist, Sisters of Mercy – Northeast Community

Back to All News