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Dominicans use creativity to care for creation

Podcast Recorded: May 7, 2021
Dominican nuns in California use creativity to care for creation

Dominican Sisters use creative ideas to improve the well-being of wildlife and people. Guests: Sisters Barbara Hagel and Jeanette DeYoung. Hear the full In Good Faith episode IGF046 at aNunsLife.org.   
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About our Guest

Sister Barbara HagelSister Barbara Hagel, OP, was born and raised in Oregon with nine siblings. After joining the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose, she served as a teacher for 12 years and a school principal for 25 years. Her deep love of nature and the outdoors then led her to Genesis Farm in New Jersey, where she took part in an extensive program to become certified in Eco-Spirituality and Care of Creation. Sister Barbara is now the Sustainability Coordinator for the Dominican Sisters. She has master’s degrees in Science Education and in Private School Administration.

sister jeanette deyoungSister Jeanette DeYoung, OP, grew up in Southern California with three siblings. After working as a registered nurse in a hospital for a few years, she joined the Dominicans and served for 25 years as director of the Dominicans’ care facility. She has also served as a teacher and vice-principal, and recently as a nurse for people experiencing homelessness and domestic violence. Sister Jeanette now assists with a variety of Care of Creation projects for the Dominican Sisters. She has a degree in Nursing and a BA in Natural Science.

Transcript (Click for More)+

Sister Maxine  
This podcast is brought to you by one of our sponsors, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross, Green Bay, Wisconsin. You are here with Sister Maxine of A Nun's Life Ministry, and my guests, Sister Barbara Hagel and Sister Jeanette DeYoung, Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose. Sisters, the gardens and the hives, they're part of that larger Dominican effort to care for creation. Can you talk for a few minutes just about some of the other projects that are going on there in that category?

Dominican Sister  
Well, one of the projects that I think is so very important is the land that we have out in the Santa Cruz Mountains, which is like 40 minutes from our motherhouse. And we got that land back in the 30s. It was like 175 acres at that point. And we got it because we had orphanages, and the state required that you have someplace to take them during the summer. So this beautiful land, where no one was around, was for sale, so we bought it very inexpensively. And for a number of years, it was a vacation spot for our children. But then foster parents came in and orphanages were no longer needed. So we had this beautiful land that had some cottages on it. And we didn't really use it for 10, 15 years. And then one of our sisters decided it would be a beautiful place to rebuild a little, so the sisters could use it for retreats and vacations. And that was our Sister Mary Lawrence. And since that time, which was the early 60s, we've had our Marywood property, and we used it for inservices, staff meetings, vacations, just enjoying the beauty of nature. But as time went on, it also became a bit of an expense. So we were trying to find some way to support it. And I think it's one of those blessings God puts in our pathway. The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County was also in the process of looking for property. And we found Marywood was the area where animals would go across the highways to get to other areas. And it was like a natural passageway for the animals to come through. But the freeway was a major hurdle for them. And many animals were killed. And it was also a safety issue for drivers. So it took about 10 years, but we got the land into the Santa Cruz Land Trust, which meant it cannot be developed. And we did have developers asking to buy the land to put beautiful homes on. But it cannot be developed no matter who owns it, for--they say--in perpetuity. And by putting the animal tunnel under Highway 17, It will help the animal passage and it will also help--they found isolating the animals with our multiple freeways around here was creating a genetic problem because there weren't enough varieties. So we're hoping by the end of 2021, we will have a wildlife passage under Highway 17, which is the main highway from Santa Cruz, the ocean, into San Jose and Oakland. I think it will be very helpful for the animals and the cars, and they have a beautiful land on either side of the freeway, acres and acres, to live.

Sister Maxine  
That isa fabulous commitment, certainly to nature and to people's safety. But in that region, to preserve that land, that place of beauty, is a true gift for the generations.

Dominican Sister  
It's a land, much of it covered with redwoods and oaks, and there's like five big meadows in the area. And it also has springs that are active all year long which feed Bean Creek which is a creek that the Land Trust wants to develop more because our need for good clean water is becoming more and more of a problem. So they're trying to develop that whole area and the water supply and because Marywood has these natural springs, quite a few of them in there, it will be very helpful to that project.

Sister Maxine  
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