IHM Sisters Go Green

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The Detroit Free Press recently published an article about my nuns, the IHM Sisters of Monroe, Michigan. “Sisters Go Green at Home: Monroe-based order explores science, faith with renovation, publication of booklet” by Gregg Krupa (September 19, 2007) is about our IHM Motherhouse which we recently renovated (by necessity) with great sensitivity both to our sisters needs and to sustaining the earth. Here are some quotes from the article:

Four StoriesThe motherhouse is one of the most environmentally prominent buildings in the United States. It was named one of the top 10 green projects in 2006 by the American Institute of Architects. The Environmental Protection Agency gave it a Clean Air Excellence Award, and, last week, its 2007 Energy Star award for religious congregations.

So far, 6,000 people have toured the home to learn about the faith-driven meeting of construction and global warming.

This month, the teaching order published “Four Stories: Integrating the Universe Story, the Christian Story, the Earth Story and the IHM Story.” The nuns hope the work demonstrates how melding scientific discoveries with Roman Catholic theology and their personal declaration of a “spirituality of kinship with all members of the Earth community” yields a devotion to God that is both vibrant and worldly.

In “Four Stories,” Sister Mary Ellen Sheehan, a theologian, and the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary embrace the current scientific account of the universe and evolution, as well as the Christian story of faith and the history of their order.

“We hope it will generate many conversations and fresh ideas for a global, inclusive world view that makes greed, war, racism, classism, sexism and other imbalance on earth unthinkable,” the Leadership Council of the order says in the preface.

Care for God’s creation — people, animals, plants, land, air, water … everything — is nothing new to our Catholic tradition. Today we are learning new ways to use science and technology to help us care for the world. These learning also help connect us with others — the people in our city and neighborhood, architects, contractors, carpenters, scientists — to help us live out our faith vision.

“We’re educated women,” said Sister Joan Mumaw, vice president of the order. “Most of us have master’s degrees and PhDs. So, even today, even though we have sisters in their 80s and 90s, we are still learning theology in the light of new science, in the light of new understandings. If you believe that Jesus took on human form and human life, he took on all of it — not just being in church.”

To learn more about the book “Four Stories” or to order a copy, click here or on the book cover above.


Another Sister Julie, CSSF September 21, 2007 at 11:29 am

Yes, green is keen! Your motherhouse looks wonderful (love the memorial stones around the fountain)! One of our provincial homes (near Pitsburgh, PA) won an award for their cutting edge green renovation of their grounds in 2003.

Ann September 21, 2007 at 11:53 am

Well done to you all! I love to hear of good, worthwhile positive achievements especially when they come from within the Church and can at the same time be enjoyed by everyone.

Elizabeth September 21, 2007 at 5:14 pm

Wow… I have to say that is amazing! Way to live your Calling! “We, like every generation before us, were invited to understand our faith in the light of current realities,” has to be the best Catholic quote of the year. It surprised me to read it, I have to confess. But I’m putting it on my Quote Board. Thanks!

Sister Julie September 24, 2007 at 10:10 am

Pretty cool, eh? Thanks, Elizabeth. Sister J