PDCCW establishes committee to focus on “Laudato Si'” and care of creation

Council Comments l Sister Sandra Brunenn, OSB

Thank God for springtime! Flowers and fruit trees are blooming. Farm machinery is prepared for action. Garden centers are bursting with new arrivals. AND it’s mushroom hunting season! What beauty . . . what hope . . . and what productivity surrounds us. (I read recently that McLean County produces more soybeans than anywhere else in the world.) Surely, as spring arrives, a predominant feeling we share is gratitude for our central Illinois homeland!

At the same time, reflection may lead us to concern as we consider the recent United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres summarizes that “our world needs climate action on all fronts — everything, everywhere, all at once” if we are to avoid catastrophic global warming. This echoes a sense of urgency that is clearly stated in the letter of Pope Francis, “Laudato Si’,” published in 2015. Francis says, “It is my hope that this Encyclical Letter, which is now added to the body of the Church’s social teaching, can help us to acknowledge the appeal, immensity and urgency of the challenge we face.” (LS15)

We recognize that actions we take now impact the quality of life that will be inherited by our children’s children.


Hopefully, as we live in gratitude for our central Illinois homeland, and recognize the challenges confronting our common home, we are motivated to express our thanksgiving in action. A Vatican initiative, the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, encourages the whole Catholic community to set goals and develop plans for action to realize the goals set in Francis’ letter “Laudato Si’.”

It is to this end that the Peoria Diocesan Council of Catholic Women is establishing a new committee focused on the care of creation. We meet via Zoom once a month. So far we have encouraged parishes to share Lenten calendars with a care of creation focus. We hope to offer suggestions for education and action in parishes throughout the diocese. If you share these concerns and would be interested in joining the committee please contact Mary Ann Hughes at hug13@aol.com. We welcome young people, too! Our next meeting via Zoom is Thursday, April 20.

We would also like to build a network of people from our parishes who would serve as the communication link between the committee and parish leaders. Please let Mary Ann Hughes know if you would be interested in performing this service.

We celebrate Earth Day on Saturday, April 22. Let’s use this day to celebrate the beauty of Earth, our common home, and commit ourselves to its care for our sake and the sake of those who will follow us.

SISTER SANDRA BRUNENN, OSB, is director of initial formation for the Sisters of St. Benedict of St. Mary Monastery, Rock Island. She has also served as a teacher, spiritual director, and pastoral minister, and was prioress of her Benedictine community from 2012 to 2020. She is assisting the Peoria Diocesan Council of Catholic Women with its new Care of Creation Committee.

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