Today I share an article which speaks to how Providence led this community to achieve certain benchmarks to give it the status of becoming a “Laudato Si” community.  Congratulations, Sisters!


Among the decisions made by the Sisters of Divine Providence of Kentucky at their 2019 Provincial Chapter was one vital mandate: the American Province would work toward becoming a Laudato Si’ community. It underscored the gravitas with which the community took Pope Francis’ 2015 call to embrace “the moral imperative of assessing the impact of our every action and personal decision on the world around us.”

Implementation of the mandate began almost immediately. Shortly after the Chapter concluded, the Province got in touch with organizations like the Catholic Climate Covenant and Catholic Energies for assistance with evaluating and adapting its properties in ways that were more compliant with the spirit of Laudato Si’. The newly-constituted Ongoing Formation Committee also convened, enthusiastic in their development of a province-wide program for the Sisters’ systematic and in-depth study of Francis’ historic encyclical.

Soon the Sisters were gathering regularly in small groups (at first in person, and then—because of the pandemic–online) to discuss and reflect on Laudato Si in the context of prayer. Eager to share their many practical efforts to become more environmentally conscious and responsible as local communities and as individuals, for the next two years the meetings were much-looked-forward-to occasions of mutual support, challenge, and encouragement.  

But at what point might we be able to say with some objective assurance that we were truly a Laudato Si’ community? Divine providence seemed to offer a path forward through our neighboring Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Following the encyclical’s publication, the archdiocesan Catholic Social Action Office and Care for Creation Task Force began to develop guidelines for Catholic parishes, schools, and religious congregations to be designated a Laudato Si’ Community. To be recognized, an institution would have to achieve a certain benchmark score on a facility assessment; exhibit environmentally-friendly daily practices; have members complete personal household assessments; and host a program for its members on Catholic teaching regarding care for creation.

Earlier this year and spearheaded by our Ongoing Formation Committee of Sisters Ellen Marie Eckerle, Kay Kramer, Janet Schneider, Lynn Stenken and Elizabeth Wehri, our Province made application for this  designation. We are happy to report that on August 30 we received word that we will be joining the twenty-three groups who have already been named as Laudato Si’ Communities since this recognition formally began in 2018!

The Province will receive an official banner from the Archdiocese in early October, which we will proudly display onsite. It will serve as a reminder to us that our efforts to care for Earth and its resources must continue. We hope and pray that it will serve as an inspiration to others as well that, together, our combined actions can and will make a positive difference for the future of the entire Earth Community.

Barbara McMullen, CDP


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