ABOUT CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME: ECOSPIRITUALITY AT GENESIS
Three decades ago, Genesis foundress, Sr. Elizabeth Oleksak, SP, had a vision for an ecospiritual community at Genesis. Through programming and on-site ecological practices, her dream evolved to include the 19-acre Providence Arboretum on the grounds of Genesis. The mission of the Arboretum is simple: Raise awareness about the interconnectedness of all creation, infused with the Divine energy that makes us all One.
Thomas Berry reminds us “we need to move: from a spirituality of alienation from the natural world to a spirituality of intimacy with the natural world, from a spirituality of the divine as revealed in words to a spirituality of the divine as revealed in the visible world about us.”
Welcome to the new “New Ecospiritual story” at Genesis
Care for Our Common Home – the “new story,” reinvigorates the work founded by Sr. Elizabeth, SP, the Sisters of Providence of Holyoke, and the wisdom teachers who helped shape and influence the ecospiritual legacy at Genesis. Never before has an ecospiritual mission at Genesis been more important. In the thirty years since Sr. Elizabeth launched her vision, the global community has witnessed dramatic changes and overall degradation to human and ecological resources. These are well-articulated in global consensus documents such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the highly regarded Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports.
In his Papal Encyclical, Laudato Si’: Care for Our Common Home, Pope Francis speaks to the need for “communitarian ecological conversion… Social problems must be addressed by community networks and not simply by the sum of individual good deeds…The ecological conversion needed to bring about lasting change is also a community conversion.” (219).
Care for our Common Home embodies the belief that a spiritual awakening must occur in order to reimagine our place and responsibility within the whole of Earth. Earth’s wellbeing is our wellbeing. Rooted in a profound love for Earth that emerges from a deep spiritual commitment and understanding of the climate and other ecological crises facing all of creation, Care for Our Common Home will work to raise awareness and help mitigate the human role in contributing to these crises. Our work will help others recognize our existential interdependence with earth. We agree with the chorus of calls from faith and other leaders that a change of heart leading to ecological awakening and transformation is essential for charting a path of hope and healing for Earth and ourselves. It is the work of changing hearts and minds that provides the emphasis for Genesis’s ecospirituality commitment.
"All human institutions, profession, programs, and activities must now be judged primarily by the extent to which they inhibit, ignore or foster a mutually enhancing human/earth relationship." ~ Thomas Berry
Care for Our Common Home collaborates across wisdom traditions and with academic and community sectors to support an integral ecology that “take[s] us to the heart of what it is to be human” (pg. 10 Laudato Si’: Care for Our Common Home, Papal Encyclical). There is no separation between spiritual calling and the call of Earth. By combining a heads, hearts, and hands approach to our programs, we help one another learn how to activate profound felt experiences of the animated life force of creation, live into the beautiful mutuality of all things, and develop renewed intention and tangible sustainability practices to take forward into our lives.
"If the world is to be healed through human efforts, I am convinced it will be by ordinary people, people whose love for this life is even greater than their fear. People who can open to the web of life that called us into being" ~ Joanna Macy