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Laudato Si’ Action Platform Launches with Leadership from the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes

On the World Day of Prayer for the Poor in 2021, the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development announced the launch of the next phase of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform.  The Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes (CSA) played a key role in its development as a member of the Religious Order working group.

The Laudato Si' Action Platform is a key Vatican initiative to empower the universal Church to achieve total sustainability in the holistic spirit of integral ecology. The human family faces increasing risks of hunger, disease, migration, and conflict due to climate change and environmental degradation, unfortunately, the most vulnerable suffer above all. 

The Laudato Si’ Action Platform provides practical tools to address this socio-ecological crisis. Anyone who pledges to be part of the platform can access free resources to evaluate where they stand on the road to sustainability, reflect on the principles of integral ecology, and make a plan to take action. 

From 2020-2021, CSA has helped shape both the model and the content for this program. Through deep and sustained conversations with the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and a global network of partners, the Holy Spirit has created a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, a shared space for action that offers new momentum to urgently address our socio-ecological crisis.

We invite you and all members of the universal Church to join us and the Vatican on this Laudato Si’ journey.  


Find out more at www.laudatosiactionplatform.org

The Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes is grateful for the call of Pope Francis to Hear the Cry of Earth and the Cry of the Poor.

In light of the growing impact of climate change on the global community, we, the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes and the Associate Community USA, honoring our interdependence with all of God’s creation and in a spirit of nonviolence, personally, communally, and collaboratively commit to actions that:

We commit to actions that:

  • Flow from a spirituality of integral ecology (Laudato Si’ – Chapter 4) that expresses interconnections among environmental, economic, scientific, social and cultural systems,
  • Respect Earth and the interdependence of all life,
  • Consume less of Earth’s nonrenewable resources through the six R’s: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose, and restore,
  • Educate ourselves and others about the equitable development of renewable, cleaner energy sources in order to
    • mitigate the impact of climate change and
    • enable the most vulnerable to adapt to climate change
  • Promote a low-carbon economy especially in Nicaragua and the USA where we serve,
  • Cooperate with governmental and non-governmental organizations that are committed to care for Earth.

This is not a new commitment, but rather a deepening of our community’s recognition of the sacred interdependence of creation and our place in the web of life. This is an opportunity to recommit ourselves to developing and acting out an ecological consciousness both individually and corporately. This renewed commitment is especially critical given the urgent need to address the global climate crisis.

The Vatican’s seven-year Laudato Si’ Action Platform calls the worldwide Catholic community and “all men and women of good will” (LS 3) to publicly engage in the work of transformation through integral ecology.

The Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes and the Associate Community USA publicly commit to the seven-year process of transformation by strategically engaging the seven goals of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform.

Stylized image of 7 Laudato Si goals

 

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Year One Plan

November 15, 2021
By CSA

CSA LSAP Year One Plan (PDF)

Goal 1 – Survey the Congregation 

What will we do? 

Assess the Congregation’s awareness and the response to the seven Laudato Si’ goals with a goal to increase both awareness and response year after year. 

How will we do it?  
  1. Create one survey (via SurveyMonkey) for each of the seven goals in electronic and written formats to collect and document information about what Sisters, Associates, and Staff 
    • know about the LSAP Goals 
    • are already doing to support those goals 
    • wish to improve upon 
  2. Accompany each survey with instructions and reflections to consider prior to taking the survey. 
  3. Conclude each survey with Pope Francis’ prayer, A Prayer for our Earth. 
  4. Translate all surveys and reflections into Spanish for Nicaraguan sisters. 
When will we do it? 
  1. Introduce surveys in February 2022 and collect data through March 2022. 
  2. Assess results April through June 2022. 
  3. Create a Laudato Si’ Action Team (LSAT) in July 2022 to define goals and objectives for following years based on survey results. 
Who will do it? 
  1. The reflection and survey materials will be adapted by CSA Administration and the JPIC Office from similar documents prepared and shared by the Shalom Branch Representatives and SSND Shalom International Office.   
  2. Sister Ruth Battaglia will assist in providing reflection resources from scripture, the Laudato Si’ encyclical, and CSA documents. 
  3. Final reflections and surveys will be approved by the General Council. 
  4. JPIC Coordinator, Tracy Abler, will assess the results and create the LSAT. 

 

Goal 2 – Establish a Land Conservancy 

 

What will we do? 

In Response to The Cry of the Earth, we will protect the 237 acres of Earth surrounding our Motherhouse from commercial development in perpetuity. This will provide habitat for wildlife, support biodiversity, and will offer opportunities for Ecological Educational and Ecological Spirituality. 

How will we do it?  
  1. Create a partnership with Glacial Lakes Conservancy (GLC) by signing a Conservation Easement Document, which has been in progress for several years. 
  2. Partner with GLC to offer bird identifying and pollinator tours. 
  3. Establish nesting boxes for endangered species (kestrels). 
  4. Maintain our hermitages within quiet areas of our prairie lands. 
  5. Maintain and encourage use of our grass labyrinth. 
  6. Remove invasive species and plant noninvasive, pollinating plants, trees, grasses, and flowers whenever possible. 
  7. Enhance our Care for Earth webpage to document and share our information. 
When will we do it? 
  1. Sign the Conservation Easement Document in January 2022. 
  2. Host a public dedication with opportunities to tour the grounds on Earth Day, April 2022. 
  3. Offer ongoing GLC-led tours, use of hermitages and the labyrinth, and website updates throughout all seasons, observing COVID protocols when necessary. 
  4. Install new nesting boxes in August 2022. 
Who will do it? 
  1. Sister Sue Seeby is the main contact with GLC. 
  2. Sister Hertha will work with Grounds & Maintenance staff. 
  3. Tracy Abler will lead planning for the Earth Day event 
  4. Dusty Krikau will lead web design and updates. 
  5. Glacial Lakes Conservancy will provide tours and install nesting boxes. 

 

Goal 3 – Increase Solar Energy 

 

What will we do? 
  1. In Response to the Cry of the Earth, we will invest in solar energy that will allow our Motherhouse and on-site Maintenance building to be 100% powered by the sun.   
  2. In Response to the Cry of the Poor, we will invest in solar energy to help offset the costs of operating a local homeless shelter.  
How will we do it?  
  1. Purchase solar blocks from the Alliant Energy solar garden which, when added to energy produced by the on-site solar panels on the CSA property (currently generating 50% of our energy needs) will allow us to reach our goal of 100% solar-powered energy. 
  2. From the same Alliant Energy solar garden, purchase solar blocks to support the energy costs of the St. Katharine Drexel Shelter (SKDS).  
When will we do it? 
  1. The Alliant Energy solar panels will be fully operational by the end of 2021. 
  2. The newly built SKDS will open its doors in June 2022. 
Who will do it? 
  1. Alliant Energy will build and maintain the new solar garden; Sister Sue Seeby will be the main contact with Alliant Energy. 
  2. As a member of the Capital Campaign Leadership Cabinet for the SKDS, Sister Jean Steffes will oversee the purchase of additional solar blocks.  

 

Goal 4 – Consume Less Renewable Resources 

 

What will we do? 

In response to the Adoption of Simple Lifestyles, Motherhouse staff and residents will individually and collectively create ways to reduce waste, re-use materials, and increase use of environmentally friendly products. 

How will we do it?  
  1. Transition to use of only biodegradable garbage bags within Motherhouse buildings. 
  2. Transition to use of natural cleaning products within Motherhouse buildings. 
  3. Emphasize avoiding single-use plastics and paper through Plastic Free July and other campaigns, education, and lifestyle changes. 
  4. Provide a single-use plastic bag recycling collection point in the employee lounge.    
  5. Increase energy-efficiency when replacing the dishwasher in the staff lounge which is at end-of-life. 
  6. Create a “Motherhouse swap” of unused or unwanted items in residence and the staff lounge. 
  7. Purchase a Little Free Library for local schools and neighbors to take and share used books. 
  8. Educate Motherhouse residents on composting and, when available, staff members with additional space in their personal compost piles can collect compost from residents and staff. 
  9. Plant a vegetable garden to support meals for residents and the local community. 
When will we do it? 

All efforts will begin immediately, be ongoing, and will continue to increase in number. 

Who will do it? 
  1. Sister Joanita Stelter will research cleaning products and garbage bags and introduce them to Sisters and Housekeeping for implementation. 
  2. Tracy Abler will order the library and arrange painting with Sister Doris Klein, and installation with Maintenance. 
  3. Tracy Abler and Dusty Krikau will collect food scraps for personal composting. 
  4. Motherhouse residents will plant, till, and harvest the garden. 
  5. All residents and staff are encouraged to avoid single-use plastics and papers, to participate in the swap, and contribute to the library. 

 

Goal 5 – Grow Laudato Si’ Animators 

 

What will we do? 

There are nearly 10,000 certified Laudato Si’ Animators worldwide, three of which are CSA Sisters and one a Staff/Associate. Our goal, in response to Ecological Education, is to increase the number of certified Laudato Si animators in the CSA or local Fond du Lac community by at least one each year. 

How will we do it?  

Promote the free training sessions offered by Laudato Si Movement, as they happen each spring and fall, to CSA staff, associates, and sisters, and to local community members. 

When will we do it? 
  1. The fall session runs from August to October. 
  2. The spring session runs from March to May. 
Who will do it? 
  1. Tracy Abler will share training dates in the Justice Alerts, through personal contacts, and via email. 
  2. Chelsea Koenigs will share training dates on social media. 
  3. The current base of animators will be available to share their training experiences, offer support and encouragement throughout the year. 

 

Goal 6 – Engage Our Communities in Laudato Si’  

 

What will we do? 
  1. In response to Ecological Economics, we will acknowledge and thank local companies and organizations for their sustainable and ethical practices, and for protecting dignity and care of workers.  
  2. In response to Ecological Education, we will provide access to ecological education materials to the general public on our website.  
  3. In response to Community Resilience and Empowerment, we will plan and/or participate in peaceful demonstrations and rallies for climate and racial justice. 
  4. We will share the Laudato Si’ Action Platform and its goals with other religious communities. 
How will we do it? 
  1. Write letters to acknowledge and thank other organizations making similar commitments to solar energy and sustainable practices, while also sharing our commitment to Laudato Si’ Action Platform and including and informational LSAP literature. 
  2. Create a playlist of recordings on YouTube and Facebook and share them on the CSA webpage with links to all reference materials. 
  3. Create an electronic directory of books and videos available to borrow from the CSA JPIC library, and post this on the JPIC Resource webpage. 
  4. The JPIC Office and Committee will collaborate with individuals and community organizations to be present in the community. 
  5. Provide presentations to service groups and nonprofit organizations. 
  6. Share information via email with local churches such as Holy Family, Pilgrim UCC, Open Circle UU Fellowship, and others. 
When will we do it? 
  1. Letters to local businesses will be written as we become aware of instances happening. 
  2. YouTube recordings will be loaded as they become available. 
  3. Contents of the CSA JPIC library directory will be made electronic in the Spring, added to the website by Summer, and new materials added on an ongoing basis. 
  4. Presentations will be coordinated as requests come in and events are planned. 
  5. Emails will be shared as they are received and distributed appropriately. 
Who will do it? 
  1. Tracy Abler will draft letters for approval, have them signed by the four General Councilors, and mailed out. 
  2. The Marketing/Graphic Departments will create a LSAP brochure to accompany mailings. 
  3. Sister Ruth will categorize and document all current hard materials into an electronic document.  
  4. Tracy will assign the task (to Dusty in Asana) of updating webpage when new materials are received. 
  5. Dusty will upload all online content. 
  6. Tracy will coordinate presentations with Council liaison and/or other staff. 
  7. Tracy and Dusty will coordinate communication of LS information to other religious communities. 

 

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