The Healthy Waters and Coastal Restoration Interest Group was formed in 2009 through the desire of RSCJ to pray, reflect and act together around issues related to the water crisis and coastal degradation. Formed in response to the continuing environmental crisis in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, the first gathering was held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to discuss what could be done, in partnership with others, to address our fragile ecosystem and water issues in the world.
Since that time, the group has grown steadily in this shared interest and passion. As of today, there are more than 100 members of this group, living in five countries of the world and in 17 cities. The group is comprised of RSCJ as well as RSCJ Associates, the Associated Alumnae of the Sacred Heart, faculty members of Sacred Heart schools, and other friends of the Sacred Heart family.
Members are concerned about rivers, lakes, oceans, water scarcity, water accessibility, water management: all aspects of the global water crisis. The group is reflective of water as a sacrament and the relationship between water, faith and climate change. Through this reflection, group members participate in advocacy networks, sign petitions, and share information, resources and prayer. Their focus is on healthy water – not just in the fragile Gulf area, but everywhere in the world.
With the calls of Chapter, 2016, the group aligns its goals with the call to “reach new frontiers”—reaching out in partnership with others to educate, protect and defend our fragile eco-systems and water resources.
Our intention is “to be one body which loves, practices and gives witness to justice, peace and integrity of creation at all levels of our life and mission.” (Chapter, 2016)
As an expression of this commitment, members of the interest group participate in education and advocacy campaigns and work to protect the environment. As individuals, we try to every extent to live in harmony with the environment and to integrate our lifestyle with eco-awareness.
- Deepen our practice of spirituality as a dimension of the Church’s call to the integrity of creation, reflecting on LAUDATO SI, the encyclical letter on “care for our common home.”
- Collaborate with other religious and nonprofit organizations at the local levels such as the Audubon Institute, the Sierra Club, the Gulf Coast Restoration Organization, and many others across the country and the word which support our shared mission.
- Participate in Network of Sacred Heart Schools events and activities, which support eco-awareness and green initiatives among school constituency groups. The Network of Sacred Heart schools has sponsored in collaboration with individual school’s service opportunities during the summer months. Many Sacred Heart schools participate in the Interest group, sharing information with one another around this important topic. You can find a database of resources on the “integrity of creation“ for schools.
- Foster the imperatives of the United Nations and the global water crisis. Support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which creates a global framework for connecting and engaging around emerging and current issues. Utilize the immense resources to inspire action, to inform and advocate around water and water-related issues.
- Share news with each other and others, including the report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. See this great summary of action steps that came from this report.
- Stay up-to-date on water issues on the local, state, national and international levels. Visit one of the sites they use: www.thegreatstory.org.
- Share contemplative and prayerful dimension: Members shared books, videos and prayers on this issue such as a meditation from Richard Rohr on Living on our One Earth.
The Healthy Waters and Coastal Restoration Group has a Facebook group, open to anyone interested in learning more about living in harmony with the environment. Please visit the page and click the “ask to join” button. All members of the Sacred Heart family and friends are also invited to join the Healthy Waters Group and learn more about this critical issue.