Australian Mercy Sister Adele Howard has taken the work of the Mercy International Association in promoting reflection and action on the themes of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si' to the world stage.
Sr Adele writes that during her participation in the recent Laudato Si' conference at the Vatican, she was able to share a new Mercy International resource with other attendees, including Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
Cardinal Turkson, in his opening remarks, stated clearly that the planet was ‘on the brink of an unprecedented global challenge regarding the sustainability of our common home’ which, due to the effects of climate change, now ‘places a question mark on the very future of human existence and its civilization’, writes Sr Adele.
He went on to say that ‘we are running out of time and that we may be condemning future generations to a common home in ruins.’
The organisers also stated that ‘at the end of the Conference, we hope to come up with some concrete and participatory lines of action for the care of our common home, conscious that we need to act as individuals and communities, at the local, regional, national and at international levels.’
It was in this context that I was pleased to be able to share with Cardinal Turkson the progress that has been made across Mercy International Association in promoting reflection and action on the themes of Laudato Si' through the use of the four stage Process of MIRP (the Mercy International Reflection Process). I was also able to share with him the recently prepared MIRP Handbook which outlines the process in detail and assists the group leaders or participants to engage with the process in the light of the themes and challenges of Laudato Si’.
It was clear that the initiative taken by the Congregation and Institute Leaders of MIA in 2015, which led to the MIRProcess being developed and implemented through 2016-2017, was already fulfilling the hopes for the implementation of Laudato Si’ as expressed above.
What became evident during the excellent presentations at the Conference was the sense of urgency and the need for renewed efforts to engage in further exploration, understanding, reflection and action to address ‘the possible collapse of the planet’. Cardinal Parolin in his opening address said that ‘to take care of our common home, to save our common home, is one of the most urgent issues of our time.’
Through our initial efforts to develop and implement the Mercy International Reflection Process across the Mercy world, with its focus on the cry of Earth and the cry of the Poor, we have begun to address this urgent call to engage with those in our Mercy and faith-based networks to work for ‘the radical change which present circumstances require’ (Laudato Si'., 171).
A renewed engagement in this Process, with its call to ecological conversion in the face of the present crisis of our common home, is an appropriate response to these challenges from Pope Francis and all the key speakers of the Laudato Si’ Conference, as together we seek to respond to this unequivocal focus of Catholic Social Teaching in the light of the Gospel.
This is an abbreviated version of the original article published on the website of the Mercy International Association.
PHOTO: Sr Adele Howard rsm sharing the MIRProcess Handbook with Cardinal Peter Turkson at the Laudato Si' conference in Rome in July (Mercy International Association).