Wednesday, September 13, 2023

A Call to Pray, Reflect and Take Action as a Mission

It has been record-breaking heat on earth where people had to endure the brutal hot temperature in longest days of July.  This has not happened in 120,000 years as reported by scientists in the news.  San Antonio hit a triple digit temperature for the most days of July with 125 degrees in some areas of Southern Texas.  The end of the Summer this year is about to come by September 22.  It comes with hope that the change in season will soften the blow of the summer’s raging temperature.  The end of the season does not, however, end the truth on Climate Change.  On October 4, Pope Francis will publish an exhortation as another message calling us to reflect on our call to revisit Laudato Si, the encyclical published on October 2015 in lieu of the call for ecological conversion.

The summer’s wildfires and bush fires have impacted lives of people, animals, and even cost billions of dollars of damages to the environment and livelihood across the country and in other parts of the world such as Greece, Canada, Australia, Croatia, France, Spain, etc.  A lot of these wildfires are record-breaking in in terms of the number of fires and the extent of the burned areas.   As scientists already reported, this climate change is anthropogenic.  This means, what we are experiencing is caused by human activity and not by cosmic-induced phenomena.  The solution is in our hands.  The greenhouse effect of burning fossil fuels, and other carbon-emitting human-based activities causing atmospheric changes.  The symbiotic relationship of the atmospheric changes to the geological, biological, and ecological system is getting manifested through the changes in weather patterns becoming erratic, and more dangerous.  We are observing the occurrence of natural disasters such as typhoons, storms, and hurricanes that are becoming more frequent and more disastrous which the climate scientists have already warned us.  If human beings are resilient and adaptable to changes, why bother about this Climate Change?  Weather patterns as part of the climate of a region help people and even animals to adapt to the kind of living environment and sometimes survival mechanism. As we are already experiencing effects of Climate Change, the urgency about this crisis demands our action now.  The United Nations (UN) sees 1.5 °C as a critical turning point to avoid cataclysmic results by the end of the century.

There have been several actions such as studies, and even Kyoto Protocol treaty to moderate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 1997 even before the historic Paris Climate Agreement in 2015.  The Paris Climate Agreement marked the world-wide commitment of 194 parties to tackle Climate Change.  Pope Francis wrote the Laudato Si encyclical in 2015 to educate us of our interconnectedness with the creation, and to invite us to answer the call for ecological conversion.   The world has not been more aware of this call.

This is the time to pray, reflect, and take action.  Today is the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross.  It is today when St. Helena, while on a pilgrimage on the events where Jesus Christ had thread upon, discovered the true cross in Jerusalem in 320 AD.  It was on September 14 that her son Constantine dedicates the Church of the Holy Sepuclcher in September 14, 335 AD.  Today, we offer our prayer, reflection, and works that Jesus Christ will be triumphant in our lives to pray, reflect and take actions.  As we have learned in the movie "The Letter" as part of the Laudato Si project reflecting the situation in the world, the four vulnerable recipients of the environmental phenomenon are the poor, indigenous, nature, and the youth. This is an invitation to reflect the call to be united in a cause for ecological conversion and to be especially united in solidarity with our vulnerable brothers and sisters incuding the Creation where we all belong.


Message from Laudato Si Movement Program Coordinator for Texas and New Mexico

Rally for the Climate Emergency

Texas State Capitol

Sunday, September 17

Noon – 2 p.m.

Calling all Catholics!  In support of restoring God’s creation to have clean water and air, abundant biodiversity, rich soil quality, protect human health from conception to natural death and to bear witness to the climate emergency we face, you are invited to the south steps of the TX State Capitol.  Come stand and raise your voice for those whose voices are not heard, suffering from environmental injustice and racism.  Hear and learn from speakers and organizations about what more you can do and more importantly, be witness to all political and business leaders to take collective action to end the war against our Earth.  We do this in solidarity with the NYC March to End Fossil Fuels, for the upcoming start of the UN Climate Ambition Summit, as we demand a rapid, just and equitable transformation to save our planet.  Catholics will gather at 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral at 203 E. 10th St. for prayer before proceeding to the capitol at 11:45 a.m. as a people of faith.  You do not need to register but to help with a head count, please let us know how many you are bringing to the event at SignUp Genius  *This is a permitted event by the State Preservation Board.

Rally for the Climate Emergency

Texas State Capitol

Sunday, September 17

Noon – 2 p.m.


People of good will who care about clean water and air, biodiversity, soil quality, the climate crisis or human health, are invited to this state permitted event on the south steps of the TX State Capitol.  Come stand and raise your voice for those whose voices are not heard, suffering from environmental injustice and racism.  Hear and learn from speakers and organizations about what more you can do and more importantly, be witness to all political and business leaders to take collective action to end the war against our Earth.  We do this in solidarity with the NYC March to End Fossil Fuels, for the upcoming start of the UN Climate Ambition Summit, as we demand a rapid, just and equitable transformation to save our planet.



Other Information on the Catholic Youth Conference: Join or support young Catholics marching for their future (


Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Choosing Natives for Resilient and Bio-diverse Eco-system

I occasionally volunteer for Headwaters, where I would meet a few people who are also passionate about nature and building community.  I would learn some interesting facts about nature while I get myself immersed in the beauty of nature.  Working with nature can be relaxing, fu
n, and educational.  You can see interesting plants blooming in the middle of the forest, you can meet fellow nature enthusiasts, you can work hard under he sun and you can have your daily exercise getting your hands dirty with soil while walking, standing, and reaching out for something can be your exercise of the day.   
The last time I volunteered for Headwaters, I learned about the Natural Plant Society of Texas.  They give regular and scheduled talks to the public so that the public and members can be aware of the essence of having a locally sound yard and habitat for local species among other things.   One of the recent flowers that I learned from my recent encounter is the "fall obedience."  One of the friendly folks explained and showed to me why it was called “obedience.”  When you push or touch this flower to face a certain direction, this flower will stay where you push it towards.  It is normal that when you touch a flower, it will bounce back at you.  Not this flower.  I also learned that Bermuda grass is a kind of invasive plant.  It does not belong to San Antonio Region, and therefore, it is considered non-native and harmful to the local plants.  We plucked all the Bermuda grasses, weeds, and other invasive plants in all designated areas until we could no longer find any.

After learning a few things about the local plants from my nature-friendly friends, I became conscious of my surroundings, especially those that my new naturalist friend told me.  When I look at the Bermuda grass in the lawn of some of the houses in the neighborhood, it seems natural, green grass on the ground.   It looks beautiful and serene.  However, think twice before you appreciate that lawn with foreign grass.  Having a Bermuda grass and very green lawn in San Antonio, Texas would not be an ideal garden feature you would see or even adapt.  Maintaining Bermuda grass in Southern Texas is not recommended by horticulturist and Natural Plant Society.  It can take up a lot of water for the kind of weather and the drought situation in this region.  I learned from the Natural Plant Society that if you are to keep grass in your lawn in Texas, it is better to choose buffalo grass, horse herb as a turf, which belongs to a family of low-water-use landscape.

Why remove the non-native? Non-natives are normally high maintenance.  It is mostly the local plants that are considered known food for consumption of the local animals and insects.  As a source for food consumption, their numbers would generally dwindle down while the non-native plants occupy and compete with the space and resources that are meant to be for the local plants.  The diseases that the local plants are prone to will also cause these natives to decrease more in number while the invasive non-native plants, being immune to local plant diseases, continue to grow.  Eventually, the native plants have been suffocated by the non-native and invasive plants.  With the presence of only non-natives in the habitat, the animals and insects would no longer find food familiar to them.  One example is that if the bees cannot find flower that they are familiar with, they will go to another habitat, or another place that is suitable for them, having food and a safe habitat. With the drought-stricken city or even state, the residents are to be aware of the benefits of planting natives.  These plants are normally acclimated to the weather and can be low maintenance in terms of water and heat resistant to sun exposure.

Even more conscious of the climate if we use our resources to have vegetables and fruit-bearing plants that are local to us.  Thus, if you are spending a lot of money on your yard, you can harvest something right out of your garden over a few months.  That will be your food security apart from having gardening as a hobby.  When you have a edible garden in your yard, you know the kind of food that you are putting into your body. Hopefully, you will not use chemicals so you can have an organic and satisfying meal.  If you have some leftovers, you can enjoy being charitable by donating your extras to the local food pantries or distribution centers.

Another native plant that is perfectly suited to San Antonio weather is the Texas sage, and oleander.  These do not require much water and are considered a sub-tropical shrub.  These plants work best in USDA zones 8-10.  They can be in full bloom amidst the triple digits weather most of the time.  

When we choose native plants, we conserve our precious water so that it can be used for some other purposes that are critical during the summer season.  The local wildlife and birds will also thank you for choosing native plants.  This type of plant can also save you time in pampering and checking whether they need fertilizer or some trimming and other maintenance that you would do for a non-native species.  Since these plants are known locally, the ecosystem can thrive and flourish according to how nature designed them to be.  Given their natural habitat, the plants can adapt to the make-up of the soil, the weather, and other resources that make the plant grow.  The animals and insects can also find their local sources of food, without going further.  With local consumers, and local producers in the natural habitat, we cooperate with the nature to have healthy and bio-diverse eco-system.

Check out this interesting and cool music by Hila the Earth who invites all to get the native plants on the map:   Hila the Earth - Native Plants (Let's Get Them on the MAP!) (

Learn more about native plants by checking the website: Why Native Plants? - Native Plant Society of Texas (

 Check out out events and survey to serve you better: Justicia, Paz y Tierra / Justice, Peace and Earth: Common Home (

 Happy Season of Creation!  Let's make nature thrive.   

Friday, September 1, 2023

La Raíz Humana de la Crisis Ecológica

Para iniciar el Tiempo de la Creación participa en el Webinar: ”La Raíz Humana de la Crisis Ecológica”.
No nos servirá describir los síntomas, si no reconocemos la raíz humana de la crisis ecológica. Hay un modo de entender la vida y la acción humana que se ha desviado y que contradice la realidad hasta dañarla. ¿Por qué no podemos detenernos a pensarlo?. (LS 101)
Imparte: Biol. Areli Nayath Castillo Méndez

Tiempo de la Creación


¡Feliz Tiempo de la Creación!
Del 1 de septiembre al 4 de octubre celebramos el Tiempo de la Creación uniéndonos en oración y acción en todo el mundo. El tema de este año es "Que la justicia y la paz fluyan". Aquí compartimos algunos recursos que pueden ser de tu interés. Esta temporada es una oportunidad más para reafirmar nuestro compromiso de ser protectoras de la creación de Dios.

(a) Oración del Tiempo de la Creación. Dios Creador, de tu comunión de amor brotó la vida como un río caudaloso y surgió todo el cosmos. En esta Tierra de amor desbordante, el Verbo se hizo carne y surgió con las aguas vivificantes proclamando la paz y la justicia para toda la creación. Leer o Imprimir la oración AQUÍ

(b) Actividades. Eventos latinoamericanos sobre el cuidado de la casa común. VER

El Movimiento Laudato Si, Capítulo México ofrece un Webinar a las 9 p.m. este 1 de setiembre sobre ”La Raíz Humana de la Crisis Ecológica.” Información. Enlace Zoom

El comité de Derechos Humanos & JPIC en Perú organiza el curso de Custodios de la Casa (formulación de proyectos). Información e inscripciones.

(c) Ecositios (Serie de videos cortos). Algunos de los lugares vivos en los alrededores de nuestra casa en San Antonio, Texas. Videos

(d) Mensaje del Papa Francisco por el día mundial de oración por la casa común. Leer

(e) Página web del Tiempo de la Creación. Todos los recursos AQUÍ



Sitios ecológicos


Todos los videos fueron creados y producidos por S. Marylou Rodriguez CCVI.

Short Film Series about Eco-Sites & San Antonio Events




All videos were created and produced by S. Marylou Rodriguez CCVI.

Season of Creation


Happy Season of Creation!

From September 1- October 4, we are celebrating the Season of Creation by uniting worldwide in prayer and action. This year’s theme is “Let Justice and Peace Flow.” Here are some resources that might be of interest. Let’s take this season as an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to be good stewards of God’s creation. 

(a) Season of Creation Prayer. Creator of All, from your communion of love life sprung forth like a mighty river and the whole cosmos came into being. On this Earth of overflowing love, the Word was made flesh and went forth with the life-giving waters proclaiming peace and justice for all creation. Read more or Print the prayer card by clicking HERE

(b) Activities in San Antonio. A superb CCVI inter-ministerial team led by S. Marylou Rodriguez has created a variety of experiences that are accessible to all. See the program by clicking HERE

(c) Activities in St. Louis & beyond. The Seeds of Justice Network team offers a series of resources for prayer, action, and participation in caring for the common home. Read

(d) Eco-sites in San Antonio (Short-films Series). Sisters Miriam, Christi, Martha Ann and Marylou talk about some of the living sites around us. Videos

(e) Pope Francis' Message. 2023 World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. See more

(f) Our Sisters' Sharing. S. Martha Ann Kirk shares about Sister Water (see here), and S. Marylou Rodriguez shares about the care of the common home activities at the UIW (see page 5). 


Saturday, August 12, 2023

The Manna from Heaven: Graces Enough for Everyone

I met Juan, sitting on the floor of the parish I usually go to. He was charging his phone.  I asked him if he has company, he said, he is alone.  He is from Venezuela.  Are you alright?  I asked him.  I just have the courage to ask him amidst my poor Spanish.  Besides the Gospel of that day was about feeding the multitude and the first reading talked about "manna from heaven".  God will not forsake His people but the people must seek and ask for God's blessings instead of complain. After calling several Spanish-speaking Sisters whom I know, they were able to talk to him so I can understand his situation, I finally got his story at least good enough for me to know what can help him other than leave him on the floor, looking helpless.  

He left the Catholic Charities for a job.  The painting job only lasted for two weeks.   He has a friend in Florida but could not help him to stay in his house because of his friend's family.  He missed his court date in Florida.  He is in San Antonio, but he has been in several places according to the church staff who was also trying to look for help for him.  He wants to be deported.  The church staff was also busy with the demands of the church obligations and the parishioners that they needed to look after.   The city of San Antonio has not called them yet regarding the situation of Juan.  He showed me $10 in his pocket.  I added what I barely have.  We have a gracious God, in Jesus Christ, who provided the multitude if I can give what I have.   Juan told me that the Catholic Charities Shelter cannot accept him anymore because he has left their custody.  I called Haven for Hope but unfortunately, they do not accept refugees there.   There is one hope that I can advise him. On very few occasions in the past, I volunteered in the Greyhound bus station where the Raices and Interfaith Coalition tirelessly welcome and give sandwiches, backpacks, and advise the migrants and refugees about the next bus to get into.  With the help of his cellphone, he can look up on how to go to Greyhound Bus Station.  There are volunteers there who can further assist him.  He agreed to go to the station I suggested.  

The system is overwhelmed by the refugees and immigrants who are coming to United States.  Especially in Texas borders where the refugees without families are left to the situation of taking chances of what the system can provide. Juan's friend is not able to help and still migrants like Juan took chances of travelling from one country to another to seek refuge.  Perhaps, they are hopeless and see United States as their only hope.  The refugees are coming here because they feel lost, climate change, dying in their countries without necessary assistance, civil unrest, government instability, war, drugs, and violence.  

I can see in the news that in European countries, families are taking in refugees and immigrants.  The system in United States is mostly working through non-profit organizations, government, and non-government organizations.  The refugees are given a court date that they must comply depending on what the refugees told the immigration officer, they will have to appear in a specific place where their case will be heard.  There might be cases when refugees do not have money to buy a ticket to go to the place of the court hearing.  I occasionally volunteer in Catholic Charities, where they cater 40, 50, 100, even more than 700 refugees, asylum seekers in a day.  Every day, the Catholic Charities shelters are flooded with people waiting for their next destination.  They cannot stay in temporary shelters and thus, the work of the staff is to get them to their families, friends, or temporary shelters.  There were occasions when there were no shelters to place the refugees.  

The long-term solution to the root causes of this migration crisis requires a foreign economic policy, political will, conversion of leaders to work for the common good, our continuous conversion to change our lifestyle to put an end to increasing risks brought by the climate crisis, and an open heart, mind, and hand to assist what we can with prudence about the human trafficking that could be at large and abusing the vulnerable people including the migrants.  In case of Human Trafficking, please report to National Hotline 1-888-373-7888.  It is a crime to enslaved people for work, sex, and money.  I would not let that young man to be trafficked.  I would rather give him the right resource.  This is the manna from God to have compassion.  Compassion is similar to fish and loaves.  

Mother Teresa said, "if you cannot feed a hundred, then feed just one."  Sometimes, we are burdened by a lot of issues and challenges that we face.  We can tackle them by attending to what we can do at a given moment.  God can give us one person in front of us.  In this case, I saw Juan.  I have the option of ignoring him, leaving him looking helpless.  However, I chose to direct him to the right resource.  There are resources available in places where we are.  We must be aware of where the resources are.  Give the people the options.  Jesus Christ worked with the resources that are available and offered it up to God.  It is human's work to cooperate with God's graces, to humble ourselves that we need help, to receive the graces, and to be transformed.  

 We could easily be trapped in the idea of complaining that there are a lot of responsibilities, a lot of pending work, and a pile of things to do.  God does not want us to make miracles out of nothing because it is God's work to multiply and to change hearts so others will give too.  Each of us has been given Juan in our lives. God is asking us what we have and offer it up.  We have the option to focus on the good things we can do and offer it up.  The harvest is plentiful, and the laborers are few.  We have the option to open our eyes, heart, and use our hands and feet to put our time and resources in the service of others.  United States is a country full of talents, resources, opportunities, and dreams.  Wherever you are, there are five loaves and two fish.  

What blessings do you have to offer today?

You could be that one person that Jesus has been waiting for to give the fish and loaves.

Monday, August 7, 2023

BrainPower Connection

Notes which accompanied the presentation given by Sr. Martha Ann Kirk for the BrainPower School educators, Aug. 8, 2023. 

Our Lord Jesus Christ suffering . . . seeks relief at your hands.”                                                 ~The founding call of the Incarnate Word Sisters, words written by Bishop Claude Dubuis, 1866.

"Santa Rosa will open Dec. 1, 1869. All persons regardless of nationality or creed are welcome."     The first public statement of the Incarnate Word Sisters at the time they were founded in1869 was one of inclusion.

“Incarnate Word Sisters and Social Justice,” an exhibit, a booklet  and a possible program of dramatic stories are available.  These are sponsored by “Humanities Research for the Public Good, a part of the Council of Independent Colleges” supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  Children under 12 may enjoy this "Playbook" on the Incarnate Word Sisters  also available in Spanish

Let us learn from and be inspired by Sister Pauline Fierro, a compassionate and courageous educator featured on KSAT “History Untold”

 The Charter for Compassion developed in 2009 can help us treat others as we wish to be treated. This has inspired educational resources and movement around the world  See 2 minute film on YouTube.

San Antonio has a City Council resolutation to be a "City of Compassion." This is an invitation to each of us to live and grow in compassion for ourselves and others.

Join “CompassionateUSA: Growing, Healing, Leading” discussions, whether for Professional Development Hours or personal renewal.  Six Thursdays, 7 to 8 pm, on zoom, Sept. 14 – Oct. 19, free.   CompassionateUSA is a learning journey designed to teach self-compassion and community well-being that honors our common humanity and affirms the beauty of our differences. We seek to help people develop foundational  skill-sets, a shared vocabulary, and a common practice for all people to ultimately decrease violence and trauma and increase individual and collective healing.                                            Please register on GivePulse                                         or e-mail or call Sr. Martha Ann Kirk  210-883-5934 

Invite young women, 9th to 12th grade to join our growing Young Women’s Global Leadership Program, developing their leadership skills as they make friends and exchange ideas with youth in Kenya, Uganda, Kosovo, Mexico, and San Antonio in our monthly virtual gatherings and participate in projects.  Learn more     Contacts: Erika Arredondo-Haskins; cell/text 210-865-2338 or Sr. Martha Ann  

Sept. 1 to Oct. 4 is the Season of Creation. Please consider the possibility of your students being in the BrainPower Schools  art context based on the theme for this year "Let Justice Roll Like a Mighty River."  There are oppportunities for the Pilgrimage on San Antonio River sponsored by the Archdiocese, and to learn on the UIW campus from the Headwaters Sanctuary, the Solar House, the Community Garden, and the Pollinator Garden.  

"United to End the Death Penalty"  International Day Against the Death Penalty, Oct. 10, the Catholic Mobilizing Network Against the Death Penalty, UIW DEI, Texas Pax Christi, the Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty invite all to a Noon Vigil, evening supper, and panel with Monique Coleman, sister of a death row exoneree; Mitesh Patel, son of a murder victim; Dr. Doshie Piper, Professor of Criminal Justice. Register for events.  After the Incarnate Word Sisters experienced the brutal rape and murder of our Sr. Patricia Anne Kelly, we had a chance to met the family of the man who killed her.  We have worked against the death penalty. It is not the way to lessen violence

For information on the Season of Creation and Sustainability, see  

Two promotional films for the Season of Creation events in San Antonio:   and a shorter one

Season of Creation film series

Compostaje (Spanish):

Cooking Natural/Organic from garden to table:


Pollinator Garden:

Solar House

UIW Community Garden Tour:

Community Garden:

Blue Hole:



 Care of Our Common Home  taken 2 years ago (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle):

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

July is a Plastic-Free Month

By Sr. Marylou Rodriguez, CCVI

Proverbs 1:7 states that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge."  Our knowledge and wisdom help us to become happy, healthy, and holy.  We strive to do what is right, good, and true.  We exist to uphold the dignity of every creature in this world.  We take care of what God has entrusted to us.  When we become aware of the reality, then, this becomes our basis for what we need to do.  We do not know where we are going if we do not know where we are going to start.

July is considered as the plastic-free month to advocate for a period in our year to make this world free of plastic pollution through our actions.  Since the time that I have been advocating for plastic-free life which starts by doing something concrete, I committed myself that at least I will be able to refuse contributing to plastics in our world.  I still have a few things to ponder so my life will truly be single-use plastic-free.  The goal is either progressive change or better yet  transformation.  I have already been transformed that plastic-free life is a life of freedom.  There will always be something better.  Start with what is possible and what you can do.

Some practices or good habits that I have developed are carrying reusable straw, utensils, sports bottle for drinking, refuse the single-use plastics in the supermarket or groceries by using my own, less meat and more vegetables, go for products or goods that have less packaging or no packaging such as opting to choose loose fruits than pre-packaged fruits in plastics, eco-friendly laundry detergent sheets than detergent in plastics, etc.  If I do not have the options of buying something with packaging, I use products that are packaged in biodegraable, earth-friendly bag or reusable container than in plastics or styrofoam.  However, some supermarkets do not have this biodegradable option, and thus, there is still some work to be done.  I also encourage my friends and famiy to do the same.

What are the motivations for a plastic-free life?  The plastics and styrofoam are non-biodegradable that eventually end up in landfill, ocean, or incinerator.  These contain harmful chemicals that when burned or when ingested may cause health issues.  The production of these materials requires a lot of carbon footprint (i.e. plastics are made from petroleum), and thus, this is a big contributor to Climate Change.  Since, it takes hundreds of years for these materials to decompose, we are saying to this world to accept the trash for that long for us to live in the convenience that we are used to.  It is for the oceans, landfills, our environment and all the creatures including humans that are impacted in all these spaces when we throw something that are designed to last for a long time.  You can find out the truth about what happens to plastics when we ingest it or have been exposed to its chemicals.  There are studies that are being conducted and have been conducted about its danger.  The next right action to do is to avoid using any of these as much as possible and encourage others to do the same.

I was walking in one of the trails in San Antonio coming from Phil Hardberger Park going to Salado Creek, when I saw plenty of plastic bottles, containers, including styro-foam packaging in the creek.  Once we get storms, and rains, the trash will eventually will be swept into the river and then, the ocean.  Being a good citizen, I reported it to the City of San Antonio's Parks and Recreation.  The staff of the Parks and Recreation said that they organize volunteer clean-ups to go after the trash that gets accumulated especially when there is a rain or flood.  As the Little Prince said, "you become responsible for what you've tamed".  In this case, we have to tame ourselves of the use of plastics and styrofoam and in essence, we become responsible for it.  We do not want to keep on seeing trash in our neighborhood nor keep on doing the clean-up.  If you are doing the clean-up, you will know at some point, that it must stop from the root cause.

The trash next to the trail going to Salado Creek

The plastics, styrofoam, and other trash along the creek

Take the challenge to have a plastic-free July or better yet a healthy lifestyle by having plastic-free life and be part of the solution to solve Climate Change and the plastic pollution: Plastic Free July – Be Part of the Plastic Pollution Solution.

Learn more about how the plastic end up in the oceans and its cost: The Ocean Cleanup.

If you have any suggestions or comments on how to have a (single-use) plastic-free life, please post a comment.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Remembering the 53 lost lives in San Antonio

Nearly a year later, three of our sisters and dozens of others gathered this Sunday, June 25, to pray for the families of the 53 lives lost in a trailer in San Antonio, Texas. "Sisters Mary Margaret, Betty and I were able to join the faith community. As we prayed the community Rosary, we remembered each of the victims and their families. It was an experience that deeply touched my heart. It hurts to see and hear the suffering of the families who have lost their loved ones. I also feel grateful that we were able to be with the community;" shares Sister Martha Laura.

As we remember these our brothers and sisters, we renew our commitment to nurture a culture of encounter where dignity knows no borders.

You can read more about this act of love and solidarity in the following local media publication.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

2023 Annual Assembly of the Kawsay Network

By Sr. Sofia Mamani CCVI

The Annual Assembly of the Kawsay Network, a network of consecrated life in Peru against human trafficking, was held in Lima from May 25 to 28, 2023. 32 sisters from the 26 Congregations belonging to the Network gathered to analyze and reflect on the reality of human trafficking in Peru.

We started with different opportunities for encounter and friendship. On the first day, after a very experiential prayer, we received a presentation from Italy. This sister shared with us her experiences in the ministry of accompanying victims of trafficking. She challenged us to listen and look around us, who are the people close to us who might be experiencing slavery? So many of the survivors of human trafficking were victims of false job offers and mostly very impacted by economic poverty. Sister shared with us that this ministry is arduous, needs to be constant, and includes risks. This ministry requires networking because most of the offenders are well organized networked criminals. She challenged us to be very courageous in accompanying the families who are looking for their missing relatives among them children and women.

The reality of human trafficking in Peru is sad. For example, it was shared with us that the national budget for the fight against human trafficking is 0.05. With this amount, it is clear that the institutions responsible for stopping the crime of human trafficking cannot rescue the people who are victims of this crime. Furthermore, as most Peruvians experience, the laws seem to be only on paper. Listening to testimonies of survivors of this scourge is painful because it is a theft of dreams and plans of girls, boys, adolescents, young people and especially women (80%). Many women in my country are being treated as if they were things.

During these days of assembly we affirm once again that we reject that people are treated as " mercancía," that we will stand by the victims of human trafficking, and given the lack of adequate attention to the process of restitution of dignity and rights, we urge the national government and public entities, to:

  • Guarantee the protection, care, and welfare of the victim and access to justice.
  • Train justice operators to receive and facilitate the process of restoration of their rights.
  • Provide housing or shelters with specialized personnel for victims of human trafficking over 18 years of age where they feel safe and protected, where they can be empowered and achieve their integration.
  • Improve the functioning of the prosecution, criminal sanction and control system to combat the crime of human trafficking.

It was really painful to hear so much deceit, exploitation, and indifference. Certainly, we ended up very touched to see so much vulnerability in a crime that seems unseen by many people. Also, as Red Kawsay we dreamed that together we could open a house in Lima to welcome survivors over the age of 18. We have that challenge and hope. Several of us are already in the process, and it is still necessary that some of us or our Congregations accept the responsibility of leadership. Accompanying survivors is a task that involves multiple disciplines. The call is there. I believe that each of our Congregations could offer something and together we could respond to God's cry.

Asamblea Anual de la Red Kawsay 2023

Escribe Hna. Sofía Mamani CCVI

La Asamblea Anual de la Red Kawsay, red de la vida consagrada en Perú contra la trata de personas, se desarrolló en Lima (Perú) del 25 al 28 de mayo 2023. 32 hermanas de las 26 Congregaciones pertenecientes a la Red estuvimos reunidas para analizar y reflexionar sobre la realidad de trata de personas en Perú.

Iniciamos con diferentes espacios para el encuentro y la amistad. El primer día, después de una oración muy experiencial, recibimos una Conferencia desde Italia. Esta hermana nos compartió sus experiencias en el ministerio de acompañar a las víctimas de la trata. Ella nos retó a escuchar y a ver en nuestro entorno. ¿Quiénes son las personas cercanas a nosotras que podrían estar experimentando esclavitud? Muchísimas de las sobrevivientes de trata de personas fueron víctimas de falsas ofertas de trabajo y mayormente muy impactadas por la pobreza económica. La hermana nos compartió que este ministerio es arduo, necesita ser constante, e incluye riesgos. Este ministerio requiere de un trabajo en red porque la mayoría de los agresores son criminales bien organizados en red. Nos retó a ser muy valientes para acompañar a las familias que buscan a sus familiares desaparecidos entre ellos niños, niñas y mujeres.

La realidad de trata de personas en Perú es triste. Por ejemplo, se nos compartió que el presupuesto nacional para la lucha contra la trata de personas es 0.05. Con ese monto, es claro, que las instituciones responsables de detener el crimen de la trata de personas no pueden rescatar a las personas que son víctimas de este delito. Todavía más, como experimentan la mayoría de peruanas y peruanos, las leyes parecen solo estar en papel escrito. Escuchar testimonios de sobrevivientes de este flagelo es doloroso porque se trata de un robo de los sueños y proyectos de muchísimas niñas, niños, adolescentes, jóvenes, y sobre todo, mujeres (80%). Muchísimas mujeres en mi país están siendo tratadas como si fueran objetos. 
Durante estos días de asamblea afirmamos una vez más que rechazamos que las personas sean tratadas como “mercancía,” que estaremos al lado de las víctimas de la trata de personas, y ante la falta de atención adecuada al proceso de restitución de la dignidad y derechos, urgimos al gobierno nacional y entes públicos, que:
  • Garanticen la protección, cuidado, y bienestar de la víctima y el acceso a la justicia.
  • Formen a los operadores de justicia para recibir y facilitar el proceso de restauración de sus derechos.
  • Dispongan viviendas o centros de refugios con personal especializado para las víctimas de la trata de personas mayores de 18 años donde se sientan seguras y protegidas, puedan habilitarse y lograr su integración.
  • Mejoren el funcionamiento del sistema de persecución, sanción penal y fiscalización para combatir el delito de la trata de personas.
De veras que fue muy doloroso escuchar tanto engaño, aprovechamiento, e indiferencia. Ciertamente, terminamos muy tocadas al ver tanta vulnerabilidad en un crimen que parece invisible para muchas personas. Y también como Red Kawsay soñamos que juntas podríamos abrir una casa en Lima para acoger a sobrevivientes mayores de 18 años. Tenemos ese reto y esperanza. Ya varias de nosotras están gestionando, y aún hace falta que alguna de nosotras o nuestras Congregaciones asuman la responsabilidad del liderazgo. Acompañar a las sobrevivientes es una tarea que implica múltiples disciplinas. El llamado está ahí. Creo que cada una de nuestras Congregaciones podría ofrecer alguito y así juntas responder a este llanto de Dios.