Sister Kathleen Storms with Pope Francis.

Conference at the Vatican, July 5-6, 2018

by Kathleen Storms, SSND

One of the highlights of this summer in Rome was attending the two-day conference on the third anniversary of Laudato Si’. I have been a firm supporter of this encyclical by Pope Francis since I had the opportunity three years ago to read it before it was published.  For me it has given us a new creed of beliefs founded on the “Gospel of Creation,” as expressed in scripture, teachings of the Church over the centuries and by numerous popes.

The focus of the conference was on “integral ecology”—a term coined by Pope Francis to speak about the oneness of all creation. Integral ecology brings together the wisdom of science, theology, economics, education, spirituality, the arts as well the stories of indigenous peoples, youth and elders from around the globe. The 35 keynote speakers shared a common theme: The urgency of action now by every one of us.

If you haven’t already read Laudato Si’, that might be the first action step. Here are websites to help you ponder Laudato Si’ and the conference:

Another highlight of the conference was the special audience with Pope Francis. Each of the 400+ of us in attendance were able to shake his hand and wish him well. To look into the eyes of this holy man and say, “Thank you for being the face of God for so many of us.” It was an unforgettable experience for me. I am committed more than ever to care for our common home.