Members of the Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis in Shisong, Cameroon, meet during a previous Earth Day commemoration. The congregation’s many environmental projects include community gardens that serve as a demonstration site to boost soil fertility. The gardens show that the soil can become fertile again through purely organic manure. (Courtesy of the Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis)

A “demonstration” community garden is taking shape on congregational land of the Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis in Shisong, Cameroon. A plastics recycling effort in Ghana by the Holy Spirit Sisters is expanding into a small business. The Congregation of the Sacred Word in South Korea uses special “mud balls” to feed fish and clean the water.

And a 25-year-old ecological center in Minnesota begun by the School Sisters of Notre Dame is expanding several gardening and farming projects while encouraging local groups to develop their own community growing spaces.

All of these efforts — and many others — are examples of how Catholic women congregations around the world are participating in the “Sowing Hope for the Planet” campaign by the International Union of Superiors General, or UISG.

Catholic sisters have long led the way in caring for creation and promoting environmental awareness through ecological centers, commitments to reducing their carbon footprint and pressuring corporations to address issues of climate change and pollution.

The Sowing Hope for the Planet campaign, started in June 2018, furthers that commitment, showcasing how women religious are striving to live out the underlying message of Pope Francis’ milestone 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home” which is marking its fifth anniversary during 2020 and 2021.

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