Mudita Menona Sodder of Mumbai belongs to the Indian Province of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Presently the JPIC coordinator of the Indian Province for her congregation, for the past 10 years, she has been an active member of the Justice Coalition of Religious, president of Fellowship of Indian Missiologists, and has been engaged in full-time ecospirituality work: retreats, conferences, seminars, and similar activities. Her academic background was in history, sociology, and anthropology, and she did 50 years of teaching and administration as a teacher, social worker, guide, principal, manager and adviser, with much experience in faith-based justice work and religious life.
Integrity of creation, global warming and climate change became a serious concern for religious by 2002. We Religious of the Sacred Heart immediately recognized the broken body of Christ in the broken and suffering Earth. As women of "communion, compassion, contemplation, reconciliation and hope," in our general chapter of 2008, our congregation took up the focus of integral ecology.
Over the past 15 years, our congregation has responded to the climate crisis by reflecting on our constitution through the lens of JPIC (justice, peace, and integrity of creation). Revisiting our experience — of living a life of simplicity in a more integrated way — we called it "Life Unfolding, Offering the Gift." We did a "see, judge, act reflection" on the impacts of mining in 2014. Living in historic times of change and uncertainty, our general chapter in 2016 challenged us to reach new frontiers, live more humanly, create silence, and be and act as one body by loving, practicing and giving witness to JPIC at all levels of our life and mission.
As justice, peace, and integrity of creation (or JPIC) coordinator of the Indian Province since 2012, Sr. Mudita Menona Sodder was part of an international JPIC meeting in 2018 in the Philippines, with 62 participants from 42 countries. She arrives for the meeting in this photo, after having chemotherapy the previous day. (Courtesy of Mudita Menona Sodder)
As JPIC coordinator of the Indian Province since 2012, I was part of an 11-day international JPIC meeting in the Philippines in 2018. Focusing on compassion, relationships, and transformation, we used Otto Scharmer's Theory U of leading from the future as it emerges. The meeting was preceded by three intensive stages where we shared our JPIC stories, self and resources (sensing); explored the broader context of social, scientific, environment, political, cultural and economic spheres (presencing); and synthesizing them in words or symbols (creating) in the context of Pope Francis' encyclicals Laudato Si' and Fratelli Tutti, connecting them with our congregation wisdom and traditions.
These concepts generated a lot of energy and action, and the meeting culminated with a vision statement and a booklet, Being Artisans of Hope in our Blessed and Broken World (2019). We also produced a JPIC International Structure and Strategic Plan (2020-2023) inviting us to start transformative communities of practice through connection, social discernment, ethic of caring, transformative education, and sustainability. Our 2021 special chapter invited us to further connect in a heart way.
Our JPIC office in Rome and United Nations nongovernmental organization in New York publish a quarterly newsletter for global education and advocacy. We assure adequate financial resources for action on behalf of the environment, such as my ecospirituality studies in the United States in 2020. We work with global groups like the Laudato Si' Movement. (I am on the Asia Pacific Eco-Conversion Working Group.)
We celebrate Earth Day every day, breaking ourselves to give birth to a new humanity and a renewed, protected Earth.
We’re delighted to share with you this blog from the monthly feature “The Life” courtesy of our friends at Global Sisters Report. This month, The Life panelists reflected on the question: What is your personal and congregational response to the climate crisis? Have you or your community been involved with action steps around the Laudato Si' platform? CLICK HERE to read more blogs from The Life series, GSR’s monthly feature about the unique, challenging, and very specific lives of women religious around the world.