Walking Gently on Earth’, a book produced by the Mercy Sisters, Western Province was launched on Saturday, November 26, in Knock House Hotel, Co Mayo to a packed assembly.
Launched by Éanna Ní Lamhna, environmental consultant and broadcaster, the book tells of the Sisters’ efforts and commitment to live more sustainably so as to protect “our common home”.
It was published and presented as a requirement for an Eco-Congregation Award as part of the Eco-Congregation Ireland project of the Irish Inter-Church Meeting, which encourages parishes to take an eco-friendly approach to worship, lifestyle, property, community outreach and contact with the developing world. The award is designed to affirm good practice in environmental stewardship and help churches and communities witness to the importance of caring for God’s creation.
The Congregation of the Mercy Sisters of the Western Province is the first ever Religious Congregation to receive this award.
The sisters were nominated for the award by the Irish NGO Vita, with whom they work in partnership in Ethiopia, where they have helped create ‘The Gamo Gofa Green Zone’ model of development; ie a community-led sustainable development project in the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) of Ethiopia.
Among the guest speakers at the event were John Weakliam, CEO of Vita, and Professor Emeritus, John Sweeney of NUI Maynooth, a climatologist and joint sharer of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.
The Eco-Congregation award was presented to Sister Caitlín Conneely, Provincial Leader of the Mercy Sisters by Catherine Brennan, a Sister of St Louis (SSL) and a founding member and Catholic representative of Eco-Congregation, Ireland.
In her acceptance address, Sister Caitlin spoke of the honour it was for her to accept the award and shared some encouraging and challenging words.
“The call to walk gently on the earth seems simple but we know that it is very challenging for those of us who live in this part of our world. “Today’s event invites each one of us and the community in general to take this call very seriously.”
Since the launch, a copy of the book was presented to An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, to bring with him on his visit to Pope Francis.
The book costs just €10 and is available from Sr Margaret Tiernan, Árd Bhríde, Castlebar, Co Mayo (087 6984554) or Longford native Sr Mary Doherty, Convent Lodge, Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim (087 6330862).