TMLA Seniors Take “Cosmic Walk”
TMLA Seniors from the Service, Learning, and Leadership program went to Brentwood in October for a day of service, reflection and forward-thinking action.
After discussing environmental protection in Pope Francis’ Laudato Si and the 7 Catholic Social Teaching themes, the group headed outside for a “Cosmic Walk.” The “Walk” took place behind the buildings in the backwoods of the Brentwood property. In this pristine forest, they found special markers placed to indicate historic moments on the creation timeline — for the creation of the universe, Earth, and humans; all stressed “one-ness”– that if we see ourselves as part of one thing and interconnected with one another, the hope is that we will begin to care about and appreciate each other instead of focusing on our differences.
Guided by S. Joan Gallagher CSJ, the Seniors then toured some of the structures the Sisters at Brentwood put in place in order to carry out this mission. They began with the solar panel farm which provides over 60% of the energy for the Brentwood property. They stopped at the organic farm and shared gardens which supply nutritious food for the community; this was followed by a tour of the bee farms. During these tours, students had the opportunity to speak with Sister Mary Lou, CSJ regarding her care for the gardens; Amanda Furcall, Land Ecologist; Heather Gans, Garden Ministry Manager; and several of the beekeepers on location.
The group then had the opportunity to physically carry out the CSJ mission and use the information they learned with physical service. Students rotated taking turns caring for the goats, cleaning their habitats, pulling out invasive plants, and tending to the crops.
Before going home, the students had a final opportunity to speak with the Sisters about the work they are doing. With Ms. Ellie Siwicki, Coordinator of SLL program, and Ms. Elizabeth Meittinis, Campus Minister, the students then presented the Sisters in Maria Regina with handmade cards and gifts from the TMLA student body to commemorate the CSJ Founders’ Day on October 15.
According to Senior Elise Wollemborg, “The day was truly an eye-opening experience, and everyone left feeling inspired to carry forward the mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph. The Sisters emphasized the importance of keeping the CSJ mission alive by bringing young people to Brentwood, where they can see the mission in action, and can apply that to their own lives beyond. It was truly incredible getting to carry out this mission and be part of such a large movement.”