“It’s important as human persons that we see our place in this universe and on this planet. We’ve lost our sense of belonging on earth.”
Sister Doreen Longres is Co-Director of the Maryknoll Sisters Environmental Office. In her twenty-one years in Peru, she learned ecological practices and the sacredness of the earth from the Aymara indigenous people. Now she translates that into holding up the integrity of creation. In order to live harmoniously on the land for which they have been entrusted the Maryknoll Sisters commissioned an environmental resource assessment and then weighed what decisions could be taken for land use, energy use, wildlife management, water. Woodswomen cleared an overgrown mile and a half walking trail through the woods on the property. Energy efficient light bulbs, broader recycling, and green house cleaning measures were part of the education efforts. Greater care has been provided to the wetland buffered by the property. The office has joined with Sisters Congregations along the Hudson and other in NY with an environmental priority.
Sister Doreen was born in the Bronx, grew up in Ozone Park and joined Maryknoll in 1963. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Community Service from Rogers College, she was assigned to Peru in 1970. With language study of both Aymara and Spanish, she went to the town of Huancane in the Prelature of Juli, nestled in the Andes mountains on the shores of Lake Titicaca, 12,000 feet above sea level. In the Institute of Rural Education in Juli she assumed the responsibility for the formation of leaders of the indigenous communities spread throughout that area. She was a member of a team in Mocachi in both pastoral ministry and community development. Sister Doreen served three years as Coordinator of the Maryknoll Sisters in Peru and worked in the Congregational Office of Social Concerns.