Lenten Reflection Week 1: February 26 – 29

Ecological Sin

Pride can lead to “usurping the place of God to the point of claiming an unlimited right to trample God’s creation underfoot.” (LS 75) Lent is a time to reflect on the ways that we have placed ourselves, instead of God, at the center, and thus harmed God’s creation.

Ecological Virtue

The virtue of humility reminds us that “we are dust, and to dust we shall return.” We are creatures, not Creator, and we are called to live in deep communion with all of life.

Healing Action

Fast: Commit to giving up one thing this Lent to remind you of your complete dependence on God. Make your fast a way to protect creation, such as fasting from unnecessary shopping or car use, or eat more plant-based food.

Reflection courtesy of The Global Catholic Climate Movement

Winter, Jesuit Retreat House on Lake Winnebago, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA

Lent Resource from Global Catholic Climate Movement

Looking ahead to Lent? Ash Wednesday is just two weeks away! This is a wonderful resource that examines ecological sin in light of what Catholics have named as the seven capital sins. An ecological virtue to counter those sins is proposed for each as well as a healing action to put those virtues into practice. The reflections are lovely and invite us to growth. I hope you find them helpful too!


Winter on Lake Winnebago, Jesuit Retreat House, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA

Water Survey

I received this from an Associate of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Agnes in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. You might enjoy the water tips and have a little fun with the survey! Be honest!

Why Conserve Water?

The average American household uses 400 gallons of water per day. Picture 1-gallon milk jug and then add 399-gallon jugs …. What?! It’s easy to forget that we use water to make coffee, cook food, drink, wash our hands, wash our clothing, flush the toilet, etc. When water is readily available it’s easy to take for granted. When we want to wash our hands, we take for granted that water is available. We assume the water is clean and has been treated by a treatment facility already.

Unfortunately, water quality is continually threatened by industrial and agricultural runoff, lack of environmental laws and regulations, and a consumer culture mired in unsustainable products and practices—think of all the plastic bottles you use in a week, then picture them in an ocean somewhere….

Making greener, eco-friendlier choices starts with each of us. With some awareness and openness, we can make better choices, but awareness is key! At the request of several people, JPIC put together a water usage survey (see reverse side). We hope that it helps us understand how much water we use and in what ways we use it. This data may lead to insights for ourselves and possible actions.

Save Hundreds of Gallons of Water a Month

1 Instead of letting water pour down the drain, collect it to water plants or flush the toilet

2 Do not flush the toilet every time (e.g. yellow=let it mellow, brown=flush it down)

3 For older toilets, sink a half gallon jug of water (not a brick) in the toilet tank

4 Turn off tap while washing hands and brushing teeth

5 Collect and reuse wastewater to water plants

6 Water outside in the early morning or evening

7 Use less electricity – power plants use thousands of gallons to cool

8 Skip the daily shower from time to time

9 Purchase high efficiency washing machines

10 Install water-saving showerheads, shower timers, and low-flow faucet aerators

11 Utilize eco-friendly cleaning products

12 Keep tap water cool in the fridge instead of running until cool

13 Eat less high-water-use-and-abuse foods (beef, lamb, other animal products)

14 Buy less of everything – consumer products account for up to 1/3 of people’s water footprint

Personal Water Usage Survey

0 – Never 1 -Almost never 2 -Some of the time 3 -Most of the time 4 -Always

1. ________Use individual bottles of water daily

2. ________Shower with full water pressure for 5 minutes or more

3. ________Flush old medicines down the toilet

4. ________Put non-green cleaning chemicals into the toilet

5. ________Let the water run continuously while brushing teeth

6. ________Let water run continuously until hot or cold

7. ________Let water run continuously while hand-washing dishes

8. ________Wear clothes once before laundering

9. ________Run the dishwasher before it’s completely full

10. ________Run the clothes washer and dryer for a few items

11. ________Delay fixing a running toilet or faucet

12. ________Ignore collecting and re-using wastewater when possible

13. ________Avoid being informed about water and environmental conservation issues

11 – 20: Great job!! You are on your way to saving hundreds of gallons of water a month.

21 – 35: You’re off to a great start! You are on your way to saving hundreds of gallons of water a month.

36 or more: You have opportunity for improvement.

Christmas Cards Next Year!!

No, I am not way ahead of myself! In fact, I am probably way behind most people: tonight I finally took down the Christmas cards hanging in my apartment. I received some specially made ones this season as well as the usuals from the store with glitter, foil and ribbon to add a “special touch.” Having recently read an article detailing all the mistakes we make in recycling, I specifically researched which types of greeting cards can be recycled and which must unfortunately be tossed. Here is what I found:

Most recycling centers will not accept greeting cards made with anything besides paper. That includes glitter, foil, metal charms, felt cutouts and ribbon. You will need to remove all those items from greeting cards before you put them in the recycling bin. Foil-lined envelopes also cannot be recycled.

So … to all my friends and Sisters in community who sent cards, including some of you who read this, take note for next year! It’s a little thing but if we all used cards made solely with paper, we’d be helping the planet while sending our Christmas cheer! Just a thought to store away till next November / December!

Here’s to one final Christmas scene till next winter!

Decorations at TJ’s Harbor on Lake Winnebago, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA