In his widely discussed encyclical on the environment, Pope Francis called upon humanity to have compassion for our “common home.”
“The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change,” Pope Francis writes in his Encyclical, named Laudato Si. “The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. Here I want to recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share.”
La Posada’s Client Mentor, Sister Thérèse Cunningham, SHSp, welcomed the Pope’s words with excitement. One of Sister Thérèse’s main roles at La Posada is teaching clients about the importance of environmental sustainability, conservation and energy-efficiency practices.
“Pope Francis is both prophetic and challenging in his call to us to act responsibly to stop the exploitation and destruction of our planet Earth,” Sister Thérèse said.
She said La Posada invites clients to participate with staff in “caring for our common home” by composting, recycling, reducing waste and reusing what can be re-used. Clients perform tasks such as collecting rainwater in barrels to water the shelter’s sustainable garden – home to plants, flowers and vegetables. La Posada also offers clients presentations on composting, recycling and conservation of resources such as water and energy.
“It is important to bring to our clients’ awareness the ways in which their decisions and ours can either contribute to the care and protection of our environment or adversely affect it,” Sister Thérèse said.
Many others in the community share La Posada’s concerns for the environment.
In a recent interview with The Monitor, Bishop Daniel E. Flores, of the Diocese of Brownsville, said he hopes local environmental issues can be approached with more inclusion.
“I think that has to rise in our discussions about the future use of our resources here in the Valley,” Bishop Flores told The Monitor. “What kind of Valley are we going to leave for children?”
The work is ongoing, but Sister Thérèse expresses hope in the work of La Posada and the lessons the staff instills on clients.
“I truly believe that, by planting these seeds in the hearts and minds of our clients about caring for and protecting our planet, that one day by God’s grace those seeds will sprout and bear fruit in actions that will impact our environment for the better,” Sister Thérèse said. “May Pope Francis continue to speak out courageously and challenge our world to act responsibly for the good of our common home.”