For Catholic sisters, eco-missionary activity isn’t trendy. It’s integral to their work.

By Susan Smith
April 12, 2022

When most 19th century apostolic congregations of Catholic sisters were founded, responding to and being directed by bishops was the name of the game. But after the Second Vatican Council that mindset began to change as other criteria such as reading the “signs of the times” became important in discerning new missionary imperatives. Today, Catholic sisters all over the world are prioritizing care for creation as integral to their work. […]

From the 1970s onward, Catholic sisters were influenced not only by bishops' environmental statements and scientific publications about environmental degradation, but also by the works of theologians such as Jesuit Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Columban Fr. Sean McDonagh and Passionist Fr. Thomas Berry, cosmologist Brian Swimme and more recent eco-feminist publications such as St. Joseph Sr. Elizabeth Johnson's Women, Earth, and Creator Spirit and Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love, Brazilian theologian and Augustinian Sr. Ivone Gebara's Longing for Running Water: Ecofeminism and Liberation, the publications of Franciscan Sr. Ilia Delio and more.

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