On Arbor Day, Friday, April 25, the Sisters of Saint Casimir concluded the 2014 Earth Week with a special outdoor prayer service. Sisters and Motherhouse employees met outside the Motherhouse building to walk together in a prayerful “pilgrimage” to four areas of the campus marked by statues which have special meaning for the Sisters. The walk was designed to celebrate and remember all the life that has been nourished on the Motherhouse grounds.
At each site, the group stopped to bless the space, reflect on its history and significance, and share memories of all who had walked in each space. Scripture passages reminding those present of the earth’s bounty, and a reflection by Sallie McFague, a Christian theologian who has written extensively on caring for the earth as if it were God’s “body”, were read. Special prayers of gratitude were offered.
The statues that the group visited were: Saint Casimir, patron of the Sisters of Saint Casimir; the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes; the Saint Joseph rose garden; and Rev. Anthony Staniukynas, first spiritual director and mentor of the Sisters of Saint Casimir. Walking to these places enabled the group to circle the entire Motherhouse grounds. Sister Regina Dubickas, General Superior, noted: “These grounds have such deep meaning for all of us Sisters. Our Foundress, Venerable Mother Maria Kaupas, lived here. All of us began our religious life here. It was wonderful to recall and celebrate all who were part of making these grounds what they are today.”
The Sisters have a long commitment to caring for the earth. A special “Green Team,” provides opportunities for prayer, reflection, and action throughout the year. Their efforts culminate in a special earth week prayer service in which Sisters and employees re-commit to caring for the earth by reciting the Sisters of Saint Casimir Pledge for the Earth, which the entire group did at the end of this year’s event.
SSC Pledge for the Earth
– PRAY AND REFLECT on the gift of creation;
– LEARN AND EDUCATE others about the moral dimension of caring for the earth;
– CONSERVE AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for the resources of the earth;
– RECYCLE AND REUSE the earth’s resources;
– ADVOCATE FOR CHANGE beginning locally and expanding globally.
Members of the SSC Green Team include both Sisters of St. Casimir and Motherhouse employees: Sister Georgine Cizauskas, Tony Ferro, Margie Forseth, Ed Hoak, Laima Jakelaitis, Sister Paulissa Puisis, Rita Reid, and Sister Margaret Zalot.
This statue of Saint Casimir, dedicated in 1957, was the first stop on the Sisters of Saint Casimir Earth Week prayer service on the motherhouse grounds.
Sisters of Saint Casimir were joined by SSC motherhouse employees in a special prayer service, remembrance, and blessing of the motherhouse campus on Arbor Day, 2014.