Last fall, members of the Justice and Peace diocesan committee of Moncton, (Canada) organized a Laudato Si’ study day for religious. The event was held at the motherhouse of the Religious, Notre Dame du Sacré Coeur, Moncton. Sr. Denise Lirette fj was the main animator.
The event proved to be a very enriching experience concerning the environment, the creation seen as a gift from God and on our responsibility toward its preservation and upkeep in line with the challenges offered to us in the Holy Father’s recent encyclical, Laudato Si’.
Four audio-visual presentations helped and enriched our prayer. Illustrated hymns by Robert Lebel and Patrick Richard helped us to proclaim God’s wonderful creation. The audio-visual put together by Daughters of Jesus challenged us on our responsibility in caring for our “common home”, the earth. A fourth audio-visual allowed us to be in touch with the contemplative gaze of youth between the ages of nine and fourteen as they admired the splendors of nature.
During her various interventions, Denise commented on certain passages of the encyclical Laudato Si’ as well as other resources. Among others, she dwelt on the following passages found in Pope Francis’ work:
« “…all creatures are connected, each must be cherished with love and respect, for all of us as living creatures are dependent on one another” (42)
“The human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together; we cannot adequately combat environment degradation unless we attend to causes related to human and social degradation” (48)
After each talk, Denise invited the assembly to break in small groups to share on the following questions:
- 1- What aspect of nature speaks most to me about God, helps me to come closer to God?
- 2- What do I find most frustrating as I witness the lack of responsibility in the conservation of the environment and also in the lack of respect, of sharing, of co-responsibility, of interdependence within society and the Church?
- 3- When was I most deeply touched during the day – prayer, audio-visuals, sharing, talks?
The result of the group sharing touched us deeply and challenged us.
We were impressed by everything: the hospitality of the Sisters who welcomed us, the prayerful and serene atmosphere of the day, the fraternal bonds between the Sisters of the different congregations as well as Denise’s interventions and of her manner of presenting them.
Denise gave us the desire to continue to deepen Pope Francis’ very rich encyclical and invited us to reflect and share on the following questions during the winter months:
- “What seeds for the future are we willing to sow by the choices we make today?”
- What do we have to offer our culture, our society in this moment of our reflection?
This in view of meeting anew in the spring to share the outcome of our reflection.
Dora Bourgeois, d.j.