On Eve of First Anniversary of Papal Encyclical, Jesuit Institutions Are Living Laudato Si’
From Carbon Challenges to Community Gardens, Jesuits Heed Pope’s
For Immediate Release
(Washington D.C., June 14, 2016) — As the one-year anniversary of Laudato Si’,
Pope Francis’ groundbreaking encyclical on the environment, approaches, Jesuit
institutions are taking stock of their response to the pope's rallying cry to
care for our common home.
From carbon emission challenges to organic farms and sustainable
practices, to environmental courses and an online environmental textbook, to
prayer services and reflections that incorporate Ignatian spirituality, Jesuit
parishes, schools, universities and social ministries are living Laudato Si’,
while recognizing there’s much more to do. Click here to see a roundup of Jesuit
institutions’ environmental programs and activities.
“We are just beginning to see the impacts of the encyclical, which
is not about short-term change or easy fixes,” said Jesuit Father Timothy P.
Kesicki, president of the Jesuit Conference, the organization that represents
the Society of Jesus in Canada and the U.S. “Pope Francis is calling us to
ecological conversion and integral change, to free ourselves from a culture of
waste and to live in solidarity with creation and the most vulnerable. This is
at the heart of our teaching and who we are as Catholics.”
As members of the pope’s religious order, Jesuits have taken special
care to prioritize action on the issue. Following is a sampling of how Jesuit
institutions have risen to the challenge:
Jesuit universities leading the way: All 28 Jesuit
universities in the U.S. have embraced Laudato Si’. Jesuit schools and
universities are integrating themes of sustainability, ecology and social
justice into their dialogue, practices, course offerings and curriculum.
University Chicago held a symposium last fall,
“Caring for Our Common Home: Conversations on Ecology & Justice.” Just
weeks after the release of the pope’s encyclical, Georgetown University in
Washington, D.C. announced it would not
make or continue any direct investments of endowment funds in companies whose
principal business is mining coal for use in energy production. Last fall,
Xavier University in Cincinnati won the 2015 “Learning
By Design” Magazine award for integrating sustainability into the design and renovation of
its main classroom building, Altar Hall. Xavier is also identifying ways to
integrate ecology into its curriculum and in the fall offered a course on
Sustainable and Resilient Communities at the intersection of social justice and
Ignatian Carbon Challenge: Created by a team of theology and science teachers at Cheverus High School in Portland,
Maine, the Ignatian
Carbon Challenge invites both individuals and
institutions to address climate change and environmental justice through a
series of monthly challenges. The online program is run by the Ignatian Solidarity Network, which
works to educate and form advocates for social justice animated by the
spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola and the witness of the Jesuit martyrs of
El Salvador and their companions.
Prayer and discussion at Jesuit parishes: Many of the 62 Jesuit parishes in the U.S. have
responded to the encyclical by holding prayer services and hosting discussions
on the implications of Laudato Si’. For example, St. Ignatius Loyola Parish and
School in Sacramento, California, hosted an educational series on the
encyclical and on September 1, the World Day of Prayer for Creation, held a
schoolwide prayer service.
Free online environmental science textbook: In January, Healing Earth, a free online environmental textbook
created by the International Jesuit Ecology Project (IJEP) was launched for higher education and secondary schools around the world. This online
textbook addresses the major ecological challenges of our time, including
climate change, from an integrated scientific, spiritual, and ethical
Ignatian spirituality meets organic farming: In Guelph, Ontario, the Ignatius Jesuit
Centre encompasses 600 acres of farmland, wetland and woodland. The Centre
offers Ignatian spirituality retreats and programs for people seeking to
connect their lives with God and all creation, while Ignatius Farm is a model
for organic and community-shared agriculture, and the mentoring of organic
growers. And at the Ignatius Old-Growth Forest, 100 acres are being restored,
offering a beautiful place for people of all ages to connect with the natural
Montreal at La Ferme Berthe
Rousseau, an associate work of the Jesuits' French Canadian Province, people
facing personal challenges in their lives are welcomed. Through community life
on the farm and communion with the land – living with residents and visitors,
taking care of the animals, harvesting the vegetables – residents can begin to
About the Society of Jesus in Canada and the United States
Founded in 1540 by Saint Ignatius Loyola, the Society of Jesus
(Jesuits) is the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic
Church. Jesuit priests and brothers are involved in educational, pastoral and
spiritual ministries around the world, practicing a faith that promotes
justice. In Canada and the United States, there are 30 Jesuit colleges and 80
pre-secondary and secondary schools with a shared goal of developing competent,
compassionate and committed leaders in the service of the Church and society.
Jesuits minister in parishes and at retreat houses and serve as chaplains at
prisons, hospitals, nursing homes and in the military. In Canada and the U.S.,
the Jesuits are represented by the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United
States, headquartered in Washington, D.C. For more information on the Society
of Jesus, visit www.jesuits.org.
(Washington, D.C., November 2, 2017) — Timed to coincide with the upcoming UN COP23 climate change conference in Bonn, Germany, Jesuits and lay collaborators from around the world will hold a series of events in Bonn to complement and amplify the talks taking place next week.
(Washington, D.C., October 4, 2017) — Today, on the Feast Day of St. Francis, the saint most identified with care for creation, two Jesuit organizations have partnered to produce what’s being called an Ecological Examen.
(Washington, D.C., September 5, 2017) — Dear Dreamers: We write on this difficult day to remind you of God’s love for you and to tell you that you are not alone. Across the U.S., Dreamers like yourself have graced classrooms in Jesuit schools — from the smallest among you to those now earning advanced degrees. You came to us for an education, you came for pastoral and spiritual guidance, and we welcomed you — not because of your nationality — but because you are our brothers and sisters in Christ. No government can tear that sacred bond.
(Washington, D.C., June 22, 2017) — This summer, the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits — the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church — will welcome 29 new priests in the U.S., Canada and Haiti (a member of the Jesuits’ French Canada Province).
(Washington, D.C., May 15, 2017) — The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (PWPN) has announced that Jesuit Father William Blazek will become its U.S. national director next month, succeeding current director Jesuit Father James Kubicki. Founded as the Apostleship of Prayer and recently renamed by Pope Francis, the network communicates the pope’s monthly intentions to 50 million members in 89 countries, seeking to mobilize people in prayer and action. Its youth branch, the Eucharistic Youth Movement, is present in 56 countries.
(Washington, D.C., February 22, 2017) — The Jesuits of the U.S., together with the Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation and St. Francis Mission on the Rosebud Reservation, are deeply concerned by the recent decision of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers concerning the Dakota Access Pipeline.
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