Gratitude for God’s gifts is at the heart of Ignatian spirituality. Our appreciation of the beauty of nature and our interconnectedness with all creation calls us to a focused care for all living things. Our biblical understanding of justice and relationships, and tenets of Catholic Social Teaching focus our heads, hearts and hands on careful stewardship of creation. Increasingly, we are attuned to the deep connection our First Nations people share with the earth and the spirituality connected with all creation. Our response to the fragile planet is a spiritual imperative, not simply a form of social activism.
In 2014, the IBVM articulated Five Calls including the call ‘to live sustainably, discerning what is enough.’ A year later Pope Francis focused on integral ecology in his ground-breaking encyclical Laudato Sí. The Province takes seriously the plea for ecological conversion in Laudato Sí. The Sustainable Development Goals relate directly to integral ecology; an integrated approach to environmental and social justice that highlights the bond between humans and the natural world. The CJ/IBVM desk at the United Nations encourages us to reflect critically on the link between the poverty of the earth and the poverty of so many. The promotion of Laudato Si is a major focus of the Mary Ward JPIC. As of June 2021, the entire Mary Ward network is working together to implement the Vatican’s Laudato Si 7 Year Action Plan.
Our communities, schools and ministries respond to climate change creatively by going plastic-free, committing to a Province carbon offset scheme of tree-planting, adopting environmentally-friendly heating and cooling measures, and divesting from fossil fuels. At the invitation of the IBVM General Leadership Team, all provinces are invited to develop an ecological justice project as part of the 200 year Jubilee celebrations marking the arrival of Mary Ward’s Institute in Ireland under the leadership of Mother Teresa Ball in 1821. We petition, protest and pray; we acknowledge that our actions today have a huge impact on the future of all God’s creation.