Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletJune 18, 2019

Earth Concerns News

Province Home/Land Committee Shares Weekend's Story by Dorothy Bunal

On the weekend of September 23-24, 1994, the Home/Land Committee sponsored an Autumn Equinox Event featuring Earth Awakenings, an original musical drama celebrating the planet we call home. Approximately 200 persons participated in this wonderful expression of concern for creation. On Saturday, 50 individuals entered into a process of prayer, story-telling and futuring. The committee has been encouraged by persons not able to attend the event to recapture some of the stories in Carondelet East; so this is the first in a series printed with the knowledge that the written word cannot capture all of the passion and deep call generated by the experience itself.

            The opening prayer was a striking combination of sights and sounds. With the music, Novus Magnificat, and a spiral timeline, participants prayed the Story of the Universe.

            The Home/Land Committee presents pieces of the story and invites sisters and associates individually or together to use the statements as a litany, remembering this is our story, a tale with a fifteen-billion-year history!



The universe begins fifteen billion years ago as the primordial flaring forth of stupendous energy out of Ultimate Mystery. It expands and expands in every direction.

Within a few minutes, hydrogen and helium form and everything, all of creation, begins to unfold from them.


The first stars appear after a billion years. They expand, then collapse into themselves, forming carbon, oxygen, sulfur, iron, all the elements necessary for life. This process continues for billions of years into our own time, creating a trillion galaxies, each with billions of stars.


Six billion years ago, in our Milky Way Galaxy, our mother star explodes in a flash of brilliance. From the rich, gaseous debris come tungsten, copper, florine, silver, silicon, magnesium, titanium, calcium, all new beings never existing before, which will one day become part of elephants, tabby cats, butterflies, Mozart and ourselves!


Five billion years ago, our star, the sun is born.


One-half billion years later, the earth and the other planets in our solar system form. Earth is full of fire and creativity. As it cools, its surface develops a crust. Vapor escapes from its boiling interior, forming clouds. Rain begins and lasts for centuries, bringing forth oceans, cooling the surface further and hardening it into rock.


Four billion years ago, bacteria emerge. Earth awakens. Life begins!


Two billion years ago, there is an oxygen crisis on Planet Earth. In the sea, there are many simple plants emitting so much oxygen into the atmosphere that life is threatened; so earth invents an oxygen-using microbe. We still have today in all the cells of our bodies descendants of those first oxygen-using microbes.


A little over a billion years ago, cells join with one another for survival and development.


One billion years ago, sexual reproduction begins, and animals start eating one another.


600 million years ago, worms and jellyfish appear with the first nervous systems.


500 million years ago, fish emerge. Now the nervous system is protected by bone, a key development for further complexity.


425 million years ago, life moves onto the land.


370 million years ago, the first trees and amphibians come.


330 million years ago, wings for insects appear.


233 million years ago, dinosaurs and flowers appear.


216 million years ago come the first mammals.


Birds, 250 million years ago…


30 million years ago, the first apes…


Whales, the largest marine animals of all time, emerge 25 million years ago.


Grass spreads across the land, 24 million years ago.


A little over two-and-a-half million years ago, the first humans appear on earth.


500,000 years ago, clothing, shelter, fire…


100,000 years ago, ritual burials…


40,000 years ago, human language begins.


32,000 years ago, the first musical instruments are made.


20,000 years ago, spears, bows and arrows are used for the first time.


10,000 years ago, farming begins.


3,500 years ago came the rise of the Great Civilization.


2,000 years ago, Jesus is born.


400 years ago, the rise of modern nations begins.


Earth is seen from space 30 years ago.


(compiled from Thomas Berry’s Story of the Universe and other sources, January 1995)