2020 is the 100th anniversary of the The Catholic Women’s League of Canada (CWL). The CWL’s national convention/AGM was to be held in August. However, with the onset of the COVID19 virus restrictions, all conventions/AGMs were cancelled. The National Council of the CWL were proactive in using (www.vatican.vatechnology to engage several of the guest speakers for the National Convention to give their presentations as webinars. The webinars were called the Summer Speaker Series. Well over 1,500 people from across Canada and from several other countries tuned in to the webinars. Today, I share with you some of my notes from the second session.
August 11th - Dr. Donna Orsuto, professor of spirituality at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy spoke to us from Rome on "Women Together Caring for our Common Home." For more information on Dr. Orsuto, check the end of this article.
Dr. Orsuto – Part I
Dr. Orsuto emphasized that we as women can implement Laudato Si’ (www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-frances). This encyclical, she believes, is more relevant now with the COVID19 pandemic than when it was released five years ago by Pope Francis. Orsuto encourages us to focus on the messages in Laudato Si’. She points out that Pope Francis is passing on Jesus’ message: “You Lord are calling on us.”
Today is the Feast of St. Clare (1194 – 1253), the first woman to write a monastic rule for women. For St. Clare, Orsuto says, “less was truly more.”
Pope Francis, five years after his encyclical (June 14, 2020) released a book entitled Journeying Towards Care for Our Common Home: Five Years After Laudato Si’ in which he presents challenging proposals for the practical implementation of his encyclical throughout the church and in the wider world. Orsuto and the Pope believe that everything is connected. Each specific crisis we face is a part of a single, complex, socio-environmental crisis that requires a true ecological conversion.
Orsuto refers to the Canticle of Creation (St. Francis of Assisi) which Pope Francis uses to open and close the encyclical, Laudato Si’. Our common home is a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. We have an intimate relationship with nature:
Orsuto speaks of the methodology underlining Laudato Si’. We must SEE, JUDGE and ACT.
Dr. Orsuto tells us, “Change your Lifestyle!” Can I live without my air conditioner? We must live our vocation to protect God’s handiwork. This is intentional, not optional. We must face our tendency to consume and embrace a lifestyle where ‘less is more.’ We must develop a deep enjoyment which is free from the obsession with what we have. We must cherish each moment. We need an ecological conversion, a community conversion. Be connected with all creation. Spend time in nature. Be grateful for the gift of creation. Repent as an individual and as a society of our sin against the environment. Change our lifestyle. “Live simply so that others may simply live.” (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton/Ghandi) Read the pledge suggested by Pope Francis (www.livelaudatosi.org) and of the Global Catholic Climate Movement (www.catholicclimatecovenant.org/program/st-francis-pledge). “I pledge to pray, live, and advocate Laudato Si’.”
The pandemic has helped us to slow down. We must sustain this ‘slowing down’ and remain together as family living a simple life even after the pandemic. We can use Pope Francis as a model: He walks the talk, taking personal responsibility for his actions.
Dr. Orsuto – Part II
Women together can influence how Laudato Si’ is implemented in our homes, parishes and communities.
SEE: Orsuto asks, “What have women done before? Mary Ward in 1670 said, “And I hope in God it will be seen that women in time will do much.” What are women doing now? What’s the best way forward? What are practical ways to act together?
Three women who put into action ‘care for our common home’:
Orsuto feels that these three women were prophetic. Our grandmothers, our mothers, teachers, catechists and parish workers also have shown us in their actions that ‘less is more.’ In the present, our young people like Greta Thunberg are witnesses of ‘care for our common home.’ We need dialogue between the generations. The young are not in decision-making roles yet; the older generation is needed to make decisions.
Women have already taken initiative:
JUDGE/DISCERN: How can women best implement Laudato Si?’ We need to be connected and co-responsible:
ACT: Where do we go from here? We need to react as a human family, to pray together that with God’s help we can make a difference. Dr. Orsuto encouraged us to say the Common Prayer for the Fifth Anniversary of Laudato Si’ available on the internet (laudatosiweek.orgwp-content/uploads/2020/04/LSW-Common-Prayer.pdf) and to continue to be inspired by Pope Francis.
In closing, Dr. Orsuto shared a quote by Mahatma Ghandi, “We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”
Originally from the United States, Dr. Orsuto lectures and gives retreats worldwide. She is the co-founder and director of The Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas in Rome and has authored various books and numerous articles in the area of spirituality. Dr. Orsuto is active in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue. She currently serves as a consultor for the Congregation for Divine Worship and is a member of the Commission for Ecumenism and Dialogue of the Diocese of Rome. In 2011, Pope Benedict XVI named her a Dame of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of Saint Gregory the Great.
Hi! My name is Fr. Doug Jeffrey, OMI and I am the pastor of the Meadow Lake Cluster. I serve the faith communities of Our Lady of the Smile, Waterhen, St. Jude's, Green Lake and Our Lady of Peace, Meadow Lake. I arrived in the cluster on August 15th, 2019. You can see more information about me on the home page!