The third pathway of the Loreto Normanhurst Strategic Plan is that of an ecology-centred school. Drawing on the Call of the IBVM to live sustainably and discern what is enough, as well as the urging of Pope Francis in his 2015 Encyclical, Laudato Si’, the school’s intention is to provide an ecological education to the entire Loreto Normanhurst community, not just our students and staff.
During assembly last week, I spoke about the messages in Laudato Si’ and of the teachings of various religious texts. Laudato Si’ was written to each and every person on earth as an urgent plea for us to care for our common home, which is the responsibility of all, not just Catholics or even just Christians. The three Abrahamic faiths (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) have clear teachings on God’s wishes with respect to the environment.
On entering the Garden of Eden, Adam is challenged with the task of sustainability. A Jewish interpretation of Genesis states that God said to Adam, “Pay heed that you do not corrupt and destroy my universe, for if you corrupt it there is no one to repair it after you.” Indeed, only humans are able to reverse the damage mankind has done to this planet. In various places in the Bible, there are several references to mankind being given the responsibility to care for the earth. According to Genesis, Men and women were created in the image of God, given a privileged place among creatures, and commanded to exercise stewardship over the earth. This stewardship refers to caretaking, not abusing the earth.
There is a lovely parable in the Talmud, a Jewish text, which tells of a younger man watching an older man planting a carob tree. When asked how long this tree will take to bear fruit, the old man replied, “70 years.” The younger man asked, “Are you sure you will live long enough to enjoy the fruit?” To this, the older man replied, “Just as I found a world full of carob trees planted by my parents and grandparents, so I will plant for my children.”
Intergenerational theft is a term that can be applied to describe the consequences of our actions for our future generations who may not enjoy the diversity of God’s creation if action is not taken. They may not bear witness to the exquisite colours of the Great Barrier Reef, the wonder of lush rainforests teeming with unique and bizarre animal life, nor the stunning beauty of natural environments. Change starts with you and with me. As a faith community and a Catholic one at that, it is incumbent upon us to meet the challenges of Pope Francis.
Ms Elizabeth Cranfield
Cambodia immersion challenge for students and parents
Another proud tradition amongst students and parents at Loreto Normanhurst is participation in the annual PROJECT FUTURES Cambodia Cycle Challenge.
Founded by Stephanie Lorenzo, an ex-student of Loreto Normanhurst, for over eight years PROJECT FUTURES has created meaningful experiences that raise funds, educate and empower the next generation to take action on the issue of human trafficking and slavery.
Since 2012, this adventure has been engaging and inspiring students at Loreto Normanhurst; strengthening bonds between parents and their children and creating life-changing experiences for all involved, but most importantly helping prevent, support and empower victims, survivors and those at risk of exploitation in the Asia-Pacific region.
You and your daughter will cycle off the beaten track, blaze your way through the glories of Angkor Wat, peddle alongside the Mekong River, pass through stunning villages and visit two projects supported by PROJECT FUTURES.
This truly was a trip of a lifetime. I watched my daughter blossom and mature before my eyes, grounded by the experience in ways neither of us had anticipated. I highly recommend this trip to anyone. Remarkable.
Mother, July 2016 Cycle Challenge
The School Cycle Challenge is designed for students (recommended Years 9-11) and a parent or guardian. This trip is an authorised Duke of Edinburgh ‘Adventurous Journey’ and the fundraising aspect also ticks the ‘Service’ element of the Silver Award.