These are some of the ways that the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas plans to work with the goals of the Laudato Si Action Platform, December 2022 through November 2023. To see the first year action plan click here.
RESPONSE TO THE CRY OF THE EARTH
- The climate and sustainability director will continue to collect data on electricity, gas and vehicle emissions at our properties.
- The director will initiate a pilot solar project at our Belmont campus. He also will initiate a pilot solar project at one of our residences and begin thinking of replicating that at other residences.
- The director will pilot a program of electric vehicles for sisters and groundskeeping staff.
- The director will install water-filling stations at some sites.
- The Justice Team will promote gardening at our properties in the U.S., such as the one the kitchen staff has created in Merion, PA.
- Mercy Focus on Haiti will support production of food through satellite nurseries, soil conservation and farmers’ collaboratives; support the creation of a veterinarian pharmacy and orientation of a new veterinary technician; and increase construction of rainwater-harvesting cisterns from the rate of 5 per month to 10 per month.
RESPONSE TO THE CRY OF THE POOR
- The international Justice Team, which includes representatives from the U.S., Latin America and the Philippines, will more deeply explore the intersection among all of our critical concerns of Earth, immigration, non-violence, racism and women. This will include a focus on environmental justice and the U.S. military’s carbon footprint and excessive budget that squeezes out funding for other needs.
- Mercy Focus on Haiti will begin cohort #4 of the 18-month Pathway to a Better Life ultra-poverty eradication program for women. A new program for select graduates will assist them with identifying ways to improve their own lives even more.
- Mercy Focus on Haiti’s partnership with the House of the Good Shepherd for the elderly inform and mentally ill people of Gros Morne will increase oversight of food and propane shortages in light of gang violence and inflation; increase oversight of fruits and vegetables grown onsite for residents; and increase the presence of healthcare workers at the residence and create an environment of greater collaboration between healthcare workers and residents.
- Mercy Focus on Haiti will actively engage with academic leaders and faculty in programs in Gros Morne to enlarge their students’ merciful outreach, global understanding, and dedication to serving Mercy critical concerns.
- Mercy Focus on Haiti will adapt its Work to Eat emergency food deliveries and occupational program to current needs.
- The Justice Team will host immersion experiences at the U.S.-Mexico border and will develop an experience into the destruction practices of extractive industries and extractivism, and encourage participants to follow up with advocacy and education of others.
- A member of the Justice Team will provide leadership for a pilgrimage to Honduras and El Salvador Nov. 29-Dec. 12 to support human rights and learn more about the root causes of migration, which include environmental degradation and climate change. This will be followed by advocacy and education of our network.
- The Justice Team will develop and share a backgrounder on extractivism and recommendations for action and deeper reflection with Chapter delegates.
- The Justice Team will follow up on the international climate talks with education and advocacy on the issue of irreparable loss and damage that the most vulnerable countries are experiencing.
- Mercy Volunteer Corps will once again place a volunteer at Sanctuary Farm in Philadelphia.
- Mercy Investment Services will expand and deepen the integration of environmental, social and governance investment strategies by:
- actively allocating capital to address diversity gaps amongst decision-makers and financial access within the Inclusive Opportunities Fund;
- expanding the emerging managers program supporting firms owned or products managed by people with diverse or underrepresented backgrounds; and
- deepening Mercy Partnership Fund’s continued dedication to racial and gender equity as well as those that emphasize international opportunities.
- Mercy Investment Services will continue to:
- increase funding of mission-based environmental, social and governance investment managers and thematic managers in the equity fund;
- originate additional commitments to impact managers in the Environmental Solutions Fund, which invests in renewable energy, energy and water efficiency, materials recycling, green buildings and sustainable agriculture;
- commit additional investments to projects whose primary thematic area is environmental sustainability, impacts from the extractive sector or migration, or that address a just transition to a low‐carbon future in the Mercy Partnership Fund; and
- continue rigorous engagement with more than 150 corporations using shareholder advocacy to promote emissions reductions, global climate justice, sustainable production and responsible consumption.
- The Chapter Planning Committee will Incorporate environmentally and socially just practices into Chapter, as much as possible given hotel venue.
- The Justice Team and Climate and Sustainability Director will start exploring possibilities for working with other congregations of women religious to influence practices of dining service companies who serve our convents, retirement centers and other facilities.
- The Justice Team, Climate and Sustainability Director and the communications staff will develop a calendar for sharing sustainability tips and inspirational stories throughout the year. This will include material from Mercy Earth Challenge, Mercy Meatless Mondays, A Mercy Guide to Living Laudato Si, the Climate Director’s Green Mondays blog, suggestions from our Mercy network, and new work on natural burial and use of Earth-friendly cleaning products.
- The Justice Team will provide education around how to have a more environmentally sustainable Christmas season.
- Mercy Volunteer Corps will offer a webinar on simple living for current and former volunteers.
- Mercy Education will focus its student leadership conference and its educators’ conference on the Mercy Critical Concern for Earth in 2023. At these conferences, the speakers and locations will directly address the climate crisis and its impact on the most marginalized among us. Presentations will include sessions on water justice issues and environmental racism that challenge the sustainability of life, especially for those living in vulnerable areas of the world. Participants will be called to make a commitment to “ecological conversion” through their own environmental practices and commitment to Pope Francis’ call in Laudato Si, as well as in their pedagogical applications that focus on and promote care for Earth in the classroom.
The site of the educators’ conference in Kingston, Jamaica, will bring a new perspective to participants on Care for Our Common Home and our Critical Concern of Earth. It will provide an opportunity to experience a diverse culture and the differences in impact that those in marginalized communities experience.
- The Justice Team will work with Mercy Global Action at the U.N. to provide education and advocacy around the U.N. Conference on Water in March, Oceans Week in June and the international climate talks in November.
- The Justice Team will present on the Laudato Si Action Platform to Mercy groups, institutions and ministries to expand participation. These will include a presentation to Mercy associates Dec. 1 and to Carlow University staff Dec. 6.
- The Advancement Office will continue to share resources on Laudato Si and how Mercy is participating in the Platform.
- The Justice Team will promote and host screenings of The Letter, a film based on the themes of Laudato Si’.
- Mercy Focus on Haiti will support Gwynedd Mercy University’s “year of education” on water and rainwater harvesting.
- Sisters in Latin America will continue their formation process for sisters, associates and other collaborators in Panama eager to learn and reflect on Pope Francis’ writings, with a focus on Fratelli Tutti.
- A sister in Panama is creating videos on agro-ecology practices in the framework of the project “Land, Life and Hope.”
- The Justice Team will engage high school, college and university students in our work around climate change and extractivism. This will include hosting students from Assumption High School in Louisville, KY, for a Washington, DC-based immersion experience and continuing to connect with college and university students and staff who participated in a DC immersion experience in May 2022.
- The Justice Team will promote Laudato Si animators’ trainings and create a network of Mercy animators to work together and support one another.
- Mercy Volunteer Corps staff will have its spring retreat at Mercy Ecospirituality Center and once again offer a 6-week summer volunteer program at the center.
- The Justice Team will invite deeper and broader participation in the Season of Creation in 2023.
- The Justice Team will continue to re-package and re-use materials from the Awakening to a New Consciousness theological reflection process on extractivism for Mercy and other audiences.
COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION AND EMPOWERMENT
- The Justice Team will support sisters, associates and others connected with Mercy in engaging with local and state environmental and social justice organizations in the U.S. and in acting in solidarity with communities outside the U.S. Team members themselves will continue to engage in international, national, state and local environmental and social justice coalitions.
- The Justice Team will mobilize our network to continue to participate with the Poor People’s Campaign throughout the year and to participate in nonviolence days of action in September 2023.