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The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians’ new programs and projects

The educator sisters take up the ecological challenge

01 April 2023

As Pope Francis reminds us, “our land burns”. The peoples of the most resource-rich territories are the poorest, who are often forced to suffer hunger, violence and abuse caused by an unjust economic paradigm, marked by exploitation and oligarchy, which is disrespectful of national sovereignties.

In his encyclical Laudato Si’, the Pope offers a possible solution to the “dominant technocratic paradigm”, his integral ecology. He proposes a 360° degree vision of life, starting from the conviction that everything in the world is connected, that we are interdependent on each other and dependent on our mother earth. Replacing a widespread paradigm is a matter of education and, as Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, we want to be at the forefront of this epochal challenge.  Not only are we revising the teaching programs in our schools from the perspective of the Civil Economy and the WE-economy, but we are also raising awareness among young people through concrete experiences. These take the form of exhibitions, experiences in direct contact with nature, educational outings, ecological interventions in collaboration with environmental associations, and letting children experience the wonders of biodiversity.

The poverty that has been caused by the war in Ukraine has made us listen to the cry of the poor and triggered a solidarity response with funds and material collections, which we brought directly to L'viv. The Economy of Francis, which is a true process of conversion to integral ecology, has seen us participate in the Assisi Days and reading marathons in favour of Afghan and Iranian women.  The whole Institute is involved. Every educating community, every school and every oratory has been invited to subscribe to the Laudato si’ Platform of Initiatives.

There is another project in the pipeline, called Mangiatene tutti [Eat All]. The title is meant to be evocative of a double meaning, both spiritual - Jesus’ invitation at the Last Supper - and social – “end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture” (Goal 2 Agenda 2030). The intention is to propose a healthy and sustainable diet. Choosing one type of food over another is a powerful mechanism of change.  It means rewarding one production and economic model over another. Food, then, has always been a vital element in emotional relationships and integration between peoples and cultures. Moreover, in the mediation of relationships with the divine, in the expression of spirituality and transcendence, it has always played a central role.

Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, of the Lombardy Province of the Holy Family