Atlantic-Midwest Water Committee
“educates, advocates and acts in collaboration for the dignity of life and the care of creation.”
By Sister Mary Heather MacKinnon, SSND
The Atlantic-Midwest (AM) Province Water Committee has been working energetically to offer information and to take action for the sacramentality, gift, and endangered existence of our global water resources.
AM sisters, associates and colleagues responded eagerly to the committee’s “Ban the Water Bottle” campaign and over 70% of the province communities and 50% of associates have joined the international “Blue Communities Project”:
- To recognize water and sanitation as human rights
- To ban or phase out the sale of bottled water in municipal facilities and at municipal events
- To promote publicly financed, owned and operated water and wastewater services. (https://canadians.org/bluecommunities)
Students at the SSND-sponsored Academy of the Holy Angels in Demarest, New Jersey, USA, formally banned the use on campus of single-use bottled water. The Director of Caroline House in Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA announced that beginning in September 2018, each student will receive a water bottle in their book bag and that they will use pitchers of ice water at meetings instead of bottled water.
In collaboration with the AM Haiti Committee, the Water Committee worked last year to secure grants to bring water catchment systems to seventy families in La Gonave, “The Lost Island of Haiti.” Similarly, the Water Committee helped to finance a borehole well to provide water access to SSNDs and their neighbours in Homa Bay, Kenya. To educate on the disastrous effects of fracking in North America, essentially on clean water systems, sisters are giving presentations by invitation in various areas throughout the province
An online course via Zoom (a video conference platform) for the study of Laudato si’ has been offered for AM sisters, associates, and staff; recently the course was provided also for the Novices and their community members in Rome, Italy. Special attention in this course is given to seeing how a spirituality of awe, wonder, and gratitude for all of life, and especially water, is foundational to any action on behalf of justice.
The committee is inspired and taking example from the sisters at Notre Dame Convent, Waterdown, Ontario, Canada, who studied Laudato si’ and are working now to reduce and eliminate all plastic tools, utensils, and dinnerware.
“To understand water is to understand
the cosmos, the marvels of nature, and life itself.”