Maryknoll Sisters #EarthDay Celebration 2016
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Building an Earth Community
Sister Ann’s Earth Ministry Work Around the World
Sr. Ann Braudis, MM, just returned from Guatemala where she spent the month of February investigating justice issues related to the abuse of rivers and the people and wildlife that depend on them. While there, she met with Mayan community members who live in Sayaxche, along the Passion River, which has been contaminated by a toxic industrial spill. This has caused immense hardship and worry to the community who depend upon the river for their livelihood and water needs.
Last April, in this remote area of Guatemala, a toxic spill from a drainage container used by the African palm oil company Reforestadora de Palma del Petén (REPSA) contaminated the Pasión river, on which the people there depend. All of the 23 species of fish and other river life, and animals dependent on the river, died.
Palm oil companies have cultivated more than 80 percent of the land surrounding and in the town of Sayaxche. The production of edible palm oil is a process that uses large quantities of water and toxic pesticides, and is destructive to the soil. REPSA’s palm oil reaches the U.S. in products like ice cream, soap, and shampoo, as well as bio fuel which is in ever increasing demand.
Sister Ann met with community members who raised numerous concerns about these human and land rights violations. Nearly everyone spoke; their stories were heart-rending and traced years of abuse. There is great concern for the children who are ill due to the contaminated environment.
The indigenous people who suffer from these abuses need many things to survive. Among them are:
- Educational centers
- Health centers
- A justice system to process land claims and other legal issues
- Credit to facilitate investment in local projects.
These services are guaranteed by the constitution but due to old style politics and rural poverty, a sense of hopelessness is everywhere. With your support, the Maryknoll Sisters can bring hope and help to the Guatemalan indigenous people.
Sister Ann also founded the Center for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation in 1993, an ecological sanctuary in Baguio, Philippines that offers educational activities such as retreats, seminars and workshops. These programs explore how to take care of the earth.
Drawing on science and faith, the Maryknoll Sisters hope to change hearts and minds about caring for creation, especially for the younger generation.
An ecological sanctuary of 2.8 hectares of pine forest, gardens and an area dedicated to biodynamic cultivation, the Center for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation offers educational activities for taking care of the earth. Emphasis is placed on an artistic and spiritual approach to the topic of caring for God’s creation.
Here in the U.S., Sister Ann is engaged with the Saw Mill River Coalition, a a dynamic partnership of nonprofit groups, government agencies, municipalities and businesses dedicated to revitalizing and protecting the Saw Mill River, a tributary to the Hudson River in NY.
How can you make a difference?
Please help Sister Ann in her mission, as well as all our Sisters who serve poor, oppressed and marginalized people in 24 countries around the world.