"This is ultimately a spiritual fight": Panama's political context weighs heavily on retreat-goers, including a biologist worried about habitat loss and an environmental director sanctioned for trying to enforce the law.
Since its start three years ago, Global Sisters Report has provided a forum to "give voice" to women religious from around the world. We're taking that part of our mission a step further in a new monthly feature called The Life, an international panel of 20 sisters who write short reflections on various topics. The second anniversary of Pope Francis' environmental encyclical Laudato Si' inspires the first question for women religious from around the world in GSR's new feature.
Past the coconut palm and the greenhouse and the tree nursery, alongside the garden of medicinal plants like ginger and turmeric and aloe vera, following a busy procession of leaf-cutter ants, the Web of Life retreatants' happy chatter rang through the trees as they walked through the Maryknoll Pastoral Center's forest.
Panama's importance in the history of planet Earth is hard to exaggerate. Nearly 3 million years ago, the iconic land bridge emerged to join two continents and divide a vast ocean in two, opening a bridge to a massive migration of species and shifting of ocean currents. It triggered an ice age and may have helped create conditions that led to the evolution of humans.
The first in a 10-day series of eco-spiritual explorations began with a ritual and reflection on origins of the universe. Attendees introduced themselves and shared a bit of their collective sum of life experience.
In the tiny country where a slice through the Earth connects its two greatest oceans, Maryknoll Sr. Melinda Roper and her fellow sisters have staked a claim to protect a bit of Panama's lush biodiversity — and are working to rekindle a spiritual connection to the planetary ties that bind us all.
In order for India -- the land of my birth -- to move forward, we as a nation will have to focus less on our personal interests and benefits. We will have to move to safeguard diversity, with its beauty and richness.
GSR Today - Come along on a "virtual retreat" as Global Sisters Report offers a look into a 10-day eco-scientific-spiritual program led by Maryknoll sisters in the heart of Panama's tropical forest.
Families in Riimenze, South Sudan, were displaced in late 2016 and early 2017 as fighting between government soldiers and rebels escalated.
"There is the sea, great and wide! It teems with countless beings, living things both large and small."