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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How am I caring for our planet?

I find myself asking several times a day now this question of how I am caring for the planet and all of us on it. We have a commitment to Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation; this is at the heart of our charism but how am I living it? Then I am torn by the suffering caused by natural disasters: earthquakes, floods, fires, tornadoes, and now the volcano eruption in Chile that is causing great damage to both Chile and Argentina and more people are without homes. I think my asking the question is at least raising my consciousness and that is good.

When my nephew and his wife were here I discovered that she is now doing a great work, one that she created for St. Vincent de Paul's Society in Phoenix, Arizona. She had been working with many volunteers and they wanted to do even more to help others. She began to interview people in need of help with their living quarters; she would then select a situation where she could ask volunteers to help fix up a house for an elderly couple whose money all went now for medical bills, or a single mother who made only enough for food for her four children but could not afford furniture; then there was the single father with three boys who needed everything to furnish the house but was just able to make his payments on it with nothing left over - my nephew showed me pictures of before and after and it was really a good experience to see how they made a difference in the lives of so many by just getting the volunteers to help paint, asking for donated furniture or bedding, etc. The young volunteers even created art work for the walls in the children's rooms. I was impressed with what one person with a creative idea has been able to do since January! She is working long hours but says she has many volunteers who are being enriched by the experience of making a difference in the lives of these people. She screens carefully before selecting those to help and sometimes puts the family on trial before she brings in the volunteers. She even teaches them how to clean when that is needed.

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