Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletOctober 17, 2017

Earth Concerns News

The Power of a Few Individuals in Saving the Earth by Sister Betsy Van Deusen, CSJ


Last spring the Home/Land Committee hosted a program called Awakening the Dreamer; Changing the Dream. Last month, Clare Pelkey began to share some of the possibilities for dream changing, and this month we continue to share thoughts and ideas from that program which we can incorporate into our everyday life.

The third section of the invitation is entitled: Relationship with Others: Community and Social Justice and offers a long list of ideas to get us busy. As I have read and prayed with the list, I was reminded of two stories. When I served with Habitat for Humanity International, I traveled to many parts of the world, and I often said that I was the excuse for people to "do what they could." In each country where Habitat works there is a national organization; when those organizations could get the "director" from America, they created an event to bring people of faith together. My title and the "prestige" of my coming was the impetus to do what they already had the ability to do, but without some incentive, they were not likely to do it. These gatherings shared a vision and helped participants to see the need of their neighbors. The vision and the need were usually enough to get exciting projects underway in their community.

 The second story happened in the spring after my dad's death. I was out in the yard picking up sticks that had fallen over the course of the winter. My brother saw me doing it, and he came out and asked me why I was picking up sticks. I said, "Bob, I can do it, and I need to do what I can." The action was a functional event, but it was also a way for me to be connected to my dad and to continue in the process of healing.
 
Our engagement in community and social justice is much like these two stories. In the first, it was a group of people, not unlike the "Nuns on the Bus" this summer. In the second, it was one person who served in her own way to do what she could to help. Each week in Updates and each month in CE we are invited to take action on a wide range of issues such as hydrofracking in NYS, tarsands, the pipeline, the budget, Iran, Libya, etc. Sometimes, you may feel as I do and are simply overwhelmed and say, "I can't do all that"; so we end up doing nothing. I challenge myself, and I invite you to "do what you can" because when each of us does what she can, mountains are moved, hearts are changed, and politics do not go on as usual.
 
I continue to live in hope that the people on this planet will wake up and honor Earth. I continue to believe what Margaret Mead said many years ago, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has done so."