Bay Area Conference of Associates, Affiliates, Religious and Friends, Inc.
Eco-spirituality: Transformation of Mind, Heart, and Will
Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home
March 1, 2023 – Sister Carol Zinn, CSF
“The Lord God formed humanity out of the clay of the ground and blew the breath of life into the nostrils, and so humanity became a living being…even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart for I am gracious and merciful…it is good for us to be here.” (Scriptures of 1st and 2nd Sundays of Lent and March 1st).
Pondering the abundance of creation, Sister Carol Zinn, CSJ, approached the process of eco-spiritual transformation through three formats: the Mind, the Heart, and the Will. Sr. Carol identified transformation of the mind as balancing your household by honoring and respecting relationships. She explained that in the transformation of the heart one stands in the present while preparing for the future. The transformation of the will comes with a commitment to the unknown and forging into a journey of strength and trust.
Sr. Carol used three analogies to help us see these transformations in graphic terms. Using the symbol of the three-legged stool we saw strength and stability that supports our understanding of who and what we are. This gives us the capability of respecting all of God’s creation and taking care of our common home. If we are grounded in the belief that we are stabilized in moving forward with an organic purpose, we can make a difference, stand firm, and be stable.
Observing the caterpillar metamorphing to a pupae, a chrysalis and then a butterfly, allows us to capture the essence of change by living in the presence but knowing we have to prepare for the future with care and caution. We must take the calculated risk of saving the earth’s living and inert creations for today and tomorrow. If our heart believes in this, it can be done.
Next, we were asked to consider the usefulness of socks – all kinds of socks – thick ones, thin ones, long ones, short ones, bright colored ones, even drab ones. It doesn’t matter what they look like. They are all socks. What we use as a purposeful piece of clothing can always be identified because it serves the same purpose. Can this be the education for the covenant between humanity and the environment? Something so common and mundane can be the building block for a step forward; a choice we can control; a future we can see as strong and faithful.
Sr. Carol reminded us that ‘everything is connected and interconnected’. She asked us ‘where is our call to transformation most evident in our lives and how will we respond’? Her answer came with these words:
‘The way I am with others/Earth is the way I am with God.
The way I am with God/Earth is the way I am with others.’
Dr. Carol Zinn, CSJ, MTh, PhD, a Sister of St. Joseph from Chestnut Hill, PA, has ministered in the formal and non-formal educational profession. She works with multi-sector and multi-issue groups in helping people deepen an understanding of global realities, local efforts, and the connections inherent. Dr. Zinn worked as the Education Program Director for Global Education Associates, a non-governmental organization working to further global systemic change. Dr. Zinn served on her Congregation’s leadership team and in the Presidency of LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious). She worked with Congregations as they discerned the future of their mission and charism and the fully living of religious life during these transformational times. Currently Sr. Carol serves as the Executive Director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
Submitted by Kathy Noether, EW SND Associate, Co-director BACAR, Inc.