Reflecting on Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of Creation, Pope Francis reminds us that our one common home is “like a sister with whom we share our beautiful life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us” (Laudato si’, 1). Throughout this powerful encyclical, we are called to re-member and re-cognise the givenness and beauty of creation and to allow this memory to guide us back home by falling back in love with the planet again. To respond to this call is to offer our participation as co-creators of hope and wholeness as a gift to our world that is groaning in travail.
Beneath the fragmentation of the world- its people and all creation, lies the whispered presence of of God’s healing love. At EREA, we dare to bend an ear to this movement of Spirit. As we lean into this deeper truth and look upon the world, the horizon stretched before us is infused with liberation and possibility. Such a worldview demands a whole-hearted response to Pope Francis’ call for an integral ecology –a new way of thinking and living that allows us to see and respond holistically, “where everything is interconnected, and genuine care for our own lives and our relationships with nature is inseparable from fraternity, justice and faithfulness to others.” (LS 70)
As educators, drawn by a commitment to intergenerational solidarity how can we not, in times such as these, join in the “great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge (that) stands before us.” (LS 202). To do so is to fulfil and give expression to our desire for young people to encounter the reality of our world and to contribute to its fullness and becoming.
As a way of deepening our already radical Gospel response to care for all life, we are ready to launch the Sustainability at EREA initiative and invite all schools across our network to co-create its movement. As we set out on our journey to return home, it is our intent that the path we walk is paved by an emerging ecological consciousness that readies hearts and minds for new expressions of wholeness. The seeds for such a movement have already been planted, now through this national initiative, we are ready to come together and evolve into what it means to be a national community in mission.
To launch our Sustainability at EREA, we are inviting schools to join in our Storytelling Campaign by sharing your story of advocating for the rights of all people and creation. Adding your story will enable us to shine a light across our network and will help to make our practice of integral ecology more knowable and visible. By gathering this wisdom, together we might renew our hearts and minds to grow our ecological consciousness and practice. The threads and insights from this harvest of stories will also help to shape the EREA National Gathering for Sustainability (June 1) and the EREA National Principals Conference (May 31-June 2). Held side by side in Canberra, these two significant occasions will bring our network together to inquire into and co-create our emerging sense of a sustainable future that responds to the call to come together and care for our common home.
As a network of schools across Australia, with increasingly global links, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to create a path towards a future we have been promised.
This is not an initiative with a solution but with an intention. We do not know where it will go, but we know that it will only go somewhere and in the right direction if it is created by those it is designed to serve.
We have the wisdom and we are the people – join us, as together we find our way to care for our common home.