In a concerted effort to make a tangible response to the climate crisis, the Franciscan Sisters Minoress as well as the English/Scottish Province of the Religious Sisters of Charity have made a bold commitment to go green by turning away from fossil fuel investments.
The announcement comes during the ‘Season of Creation’ -a global celebration of prayer and action for the environment, and is made just days after Pope Francis said that “now is the time to abandon our dependence on fossil fuels and move, quickly and decisively, towards forms of clean energy and a sustainable and circular economy.”
Faith leaders from across the world have responded to the climate crisis that is experienced by all, and most strongly by poorer nations in the global south.
Sr Patricia Jordan FSM, Mother General of the Franciscan Sisters Minoress reflected: “On his deathbed, Saint Francis said, ‘I have done what was mine to do, may Christ now teach you what you are to do…………….’
……We each have our own part to play in protecting our environment, all of creation and the most vulnerable in society. Pope Francis said that St Francis shows us how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society and interior peace. We the Franciscan Sisters Minoress, as followers of Saint Francis of Assisi and in response to the challenges of Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si” and the needs of the times, have taken the decision to divest of our investments in fossil fuels. Our charism of minority places us in communion with God and all creatures but especially with the poor and all those in need. As ‘little ones’, accepting our weaknesses and limitations we put our trust in God, who alone can achieve His work through us. We have a duty to be responsible stewards of all God’s gifts, namely “our common home” and to protect all of creation and our most vulnerable brothers and sisters throughout the world.”
Sr Rita Dawson RSC, Provincial of the English/Scottish Province of the Religious Sisters of Charity, outlined her congregation’s discernment, in terms of taking a stand on the environment: “We are proud to be part of the move to a fossil fuel free future. The sisters in our province unanimously agreed that divestment from fossil fuels was the way forward for us and an investment in the future of life on our planet. For many years now our Congregation has adopted care of the earth as a special commitment and our sisters have been encouraged and enabled to grow in their understanding of how to respond to that commitment. As we deepened our understanding of the nature of climate change and the contributing factors we have tried to respond positively by taking steps to limit the damage and we aspire to replacing our carbon footprint with a green one. In doing all this we face the same challenges as everyone else living in a consumerist and privileged society. We are constantly reminded by the media of the threat of climate change. We are concerned that the damage that the use of fossil fuels is doing to the temperature of the earth will endanger the poorest and most vulnerable people worst and greatly compromise future generations. Equally we value God’s Creation as a whole and of which we are a part. Every creature is connected to us, plants, animals, soil, oceans. We are aware of the web of life and that everything we do, buy, every choice we make has an effect of the health of this web. A million species are endangered and many are already lost. We recognize that all species are loved by God and any action causing damage to our brothers and sisters or other creatures through our human activity is completely unacceptable to the Creator. Our decision to divest from fossil fuels is a moral one. It became evident to us that it is quite simply the right thing to do.”
James Buchanan, Bright Now Campaign Manager for the Christian climate change charity Operation Noah, said, “As the scale of the climate crisis and the urgency of action required increases by the day, it is wonderful to see faith institutions at the forefront of the fossil fuel divestment movement, shifting investments out of the problem and into the solution.”
For more information on the divestment process, congregations can contact James Buchanan as follows: firstname.lastname@example.org +44 7801 570 653