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Honour and Respect Our Common Home by Taking Concrete Action

Stéphanie Manseau

Last Tuesday, the sisters and lay employees of the mother house of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame assembled to highlight and celebrate the efforts made thus far to diminish the ecological footprint of the house.

In fact, since 2014, words have been put into action and the mother house has been taking concrete steps to become “green”: evaluating and improving the energy efficiency of the heating system; composting; switching to biodegradable cleaning products and fair trade coffee, etc.

During the celebration on February 21, several persons bore witness to the evolution of the process. We needed to: evaluate the needs and reflect on possible solutions, discuss, pray, and change our ways of doing things. For Sister Agnes Campbell, Congregation leader, the daughters of Marguerite Bourgeoys were up to the challenge: 

The first effort was in the area of education and, being daughters of Marguerite and staff who work with the daughters of Marguerite, this was an opportunity to help liberate – to liberate us from the way we always did things.

Sister Fernande Cantin, leader of the international community of the mother house, talked about “setting the wheels in motion,” while recalling that not everyone moves at the same pace – some faster, some slower – but that all are journeying along the same road. Ms. Bineta Ba, CND social justice network coordinator, referred to the connection between this step and the mission orientation of the last General Chapter of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame. It invites us to “honour and respect our common home” and to “take concrete action, resist the forces of destruction and promote life in all its forms.” Although this quote is taken from the Chapter of 2016, concern for the environment dates back much further than that. Sister Ercilia Janeth Ferrera Erazo recalled that there are many references to nature found in The Writings of Marguerite Bourgeoys.

Thus, the sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame have long been prepared to receive Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’ and that is exactly what Mr. Normand Lévesque, founder and director of the Green Churches Network, came to talk to us about. Mr. Lévesque, who accompanied the sisters of the mother house in their reflection on making “green” choices, shared with the assembly his favourite quotes from Laudato Si’. He highlighted a few elements that were particularly pertinent to our Canadian context and he repeated the words of Pope Francis who affirms that “change is possible.” All that we had heard that day had clearly proven that.




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