Sisters of St Joseph Lochinvar

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Explore, Embrace, Embody Goes Global

An article about the Laudato Si Action Plan (LSAP) of the Sisters of St Joseph in Australia entitled Explore, Embrace, Embody was published recently on the Vatican News site and in the English edition of L’Osservatore Romano.

You might ask how our LSAP came to be featured on a Vatican publication.  The answer is that the Mary Baynie who is the Communications Officer with the Sisters of St Joseph at North Sydney participated in a series of webinars hosted by the Laudato Si Platform in Rome for people involved in communication.  On completion of the series, Mary was invited to write an opinion piece about our LSAP.  Subsequently, the article appeared in L’Osservatore Romano.

Mary explained that the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart and the Sisters of St Joseph of Lochinvar have the same common history and charism.  Both were founded by St Mary MacKillop, Australia’s first canonised saint and Father Julian Tenison Woods on the feast of Saint Joseph in Penola in 1866 for the education of poor isolated children in colonial Australia.

She went on to quote Sr Mary-Ann Casanova, the LSAP Project Manager who said that Both Mary and Julian were committed to sustainable living.  As a priest and scientist, Father Julian combined his spiritual and scientific passions in seeking environmental solutions.  He advocated for legislation and management practices that respected the rights of the poor to earn a just living, the need to preserve biodiversity and the needs of future generations.

Today, the Sisters and those who identify and work with them continue to respond to current needs.  In this sense, the Sisters took up the challenge of Pope Francis in Laudato Si for ecological transformation: Josephite congregations have sought to identify and address the needs of Earth, its peoples and all creation. (Sr Mary-Ann)

This commitment was expressed in Explore, Embrace, Embody, its Laudato Si Action Plan that incorporated the Laudato Si goals, reimagined in a Josephite context.   During 2023, this plan took concrete form in its campaign against plastics, particularly, soft plastic.  It did this through firstly, raising awareness of the devastating effects plastics have on the environment and secondly, through encouraging people to reduce, recycle and reuse the plastics that abound in household products today.

In the face of such a huge shift required in our attitudes and behaviour, we can feel overwhelmed.  It is good for us to remember the words of St Mary MacKillop: Do all you can with the means at your disposal and calmly leave the rest to God.

Click here for link to Vatican News site

Click here for link to L’Osservatore Romano site