Sisters ramp up conservation efforts The Sisters of Notre Dame serve in a variety of areas including catechesis, pastoral ministry, education, health care, social ministry and missionary activity. Across all of their ministries, a shared concern for social justice and the environment permeates everything they do. The sisters call this effort Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC). This past summer, JPIC coordinators from each of the four Sisters of Notre Dame U.S. provinces met with superior general Sister Mary Kristin Battles and assistant general Sister Mary Shauna Bankemper. Sister Mary Patricia Dorobek, JPIC coordinator for the international congregation, was also in attendance. The sisters agreed to make a new, coordinated effort to raise awareness about environmental issues in their communities. “Our whole life, charism and everything we do is for JPIC,” said Sister Betty Mae Bienlein. The coordinators decided to partner with the Pachamama Alliance, an international non-profit organization “dedicated to bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on this planet.” Since 2005, volunteers for the Pachamama Alliance have led thousands of educational workshops on how to assist in local conservation efforts. “We feel that the mission of the Pachamama Alliance fits well with the goals we are trying to accomplish,” said Sister Betty Mae. In July, 17 Sisters of Notre Dame attended a Pachamama Alliance workshop in Ventura, California called “Awakening the Dreamer.” The symposium helps participants understand the grave state of Earth’s natural resources and overcome their feelings of helplessness in the face of those issues. All four provinces will host the “Awakening the Dreamer” workshop at least once. In November, the sisters in California hosted a workshop at Notre Dame Academy in Los Angeles that drew 30 participants and many students from Notre Dame Academy High School. “The goal is to join with others who want to make a difference and to put a fire in their belly,” said Sister Betty Mae.
Sister Betty Mae Bienlein (right) with symposium presenters Bob Dodge and Kristin Jensen Storey.
Things you can do u Walk or bike to work or school v Print or write on both sides of paper w Take shorter showers x Eat less meat y Take a reusable water bottle or coffee cup on the go z Give unwanted clothes and toys to charity
The Vision & Challenge newsletter is published tri-annually by the Sisters of Notre Dame in California.