Ever wonder how Earth Day got started? This observance arose from an interest in gathering national support for environmental issues in 1970. Two senators asked Americans to join grassroots demonstrations and chose the date April 22 to be the annual date on which to celebrate.
“Praised be to you, my Lord, through our sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us.” These are the words of St. Francis of Assisi in his wonderful song of creation. He reminds us that the earth is our common home. Pope Francis, in his encyclical “Laudato Si,” reminds us that “Indeed, the earth, which is our common home, cries out to us in pain because we have hurt her by how we’ve used and abused her. The violence we render is now evident in the sickness of the water, the soil, and the air. In our sinfulness, we have forgotten that we are made from the dust of this very earth ourselves.”
Saints Vincent, Louise, and Elizabeth Ann all spoke of the beauty of our planet. They too spoke of our close relationship between those who are poor and our fragile planet an dhows we are all connected. As Daughters of Charity, we believe that every person has dignity and that there is a need for us to promote ways to afford a sustainable lifestyle for us all.
Let me make our efforts collective in showing our deep gratitude for such a sacred planet and let us treat Mother Earth with care, respect, and dignity. In the words of Pope Francis, “The poor are the majority of the planet’s population. We have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment so as to hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”
Written by Sister Regina Hlavac, D.C.