CALLED TO BE AN AGENT OF CHANGE AS A PBVMBack
At one of our Deanery meeting at Kanjamendi, Pastoral Centre, Kandammal, I requested if we could encourage all our children and parishioners to segregate degradable and non-degradable waste and to work towards organic farming and protecting our environment. I also asked if we could use inclusive language in prayer, e.g. human instead of man.
The group accepted the proposal and asked me to give a 20-minute input on environment and the document on Laudato Si. I nervously accepted the challenge, conscious that there were few female voices heard at our meetings. I prepared my presentation with resource materials from Lancia, our expert in Eco-Spirituality, my experience as IPA Justice Contact in India and my life and work in Zambia.
I gave my presentation on 16th December 2016. I spoke about the Social Teachings of the Catholic Church, the Pastoral Plan for the Church in India by the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) 2013, the Rio Summit, the MDGs, the SDGs and Laudato Si. All these documents called the faithful to save and protect the mother earth and the people made poor. Afterwards, I was thanked me for the inspiring and challenging presentation. I said to thank my Congregation for what I was able to share with them.
The Deanery meeting concluded with the group taking practical steps to share about the SDGs and Laudato Si to the various groups we are working with, the priests were requested to integrate them in their sermons and to encourage our children in the hostels and schools to start segregating waste, compost making, to prepare organic kitchen garden, tree planting etc.
As I travelled home that day my thoughts went back to my days of working as IPA Justice Contact in India along with my companions. Today I am deeply grateful to Nano Brennan who guided, inspired, challenged and supported me in the Justice ministry, Marlette Black who helped me to understand what is Rights-based approach in our ministry by using the Two Feet Theory and the Systemic Change Road Map, to the Leadership Team for the opportunity given to attend the TFT training through the intervention of Elsa and the IHRTP training with the support of Fatima and the Leadership Team of then Zambian Vice Province.
My life and work in Zambia taught me many things around organic farming, kitchen garden and composting and the credit goes to Inez and her team. I was given the opportunity and the freedom in my community to implement all that I had learnt in organizing people, very specially children in planting trees and to create a more just and sustainable communities.
Here in Boudh, Odisha we teach the play school, LKG and UKG children to plant trees, to use waste baskets and to segregate waste. I realize, that as an adult whose ways are already set, it is difficult for me to implement the good things I have learnt, whereas teaching children these practices means that they will easily pick up good habits, so that when they grow up they can make a difference in society and build a world of love, justice, peace and integrity of creation.
So, my dear sisters it is with deep gratitude I tell you that I am proud of my Congregation and what we can offer to the world as followers of Jesus and sisters of Nano Nagle. As I travel and interact with other religious groups I realize the richness of our Congregation. I think our minds are saturated with plenty of information and we have a responsibility to connect with local, national and international groups to share all that we have learnt using our own God given unique gifts.
Sr. Annmary Andrews PBVM