“It was truly a wonderful experience to hear the energy and heart in each of the people present who have the life of the seed and its future held gently in their heart and hands.”

These are the words of Sister Jeannette Filthaut to describe her experience of a gathering to mark the passing along of a valuable and rare inheritance. For 19 growing seasons the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul stewarded an heirloom seed sanctuary brought to them by Robert and Carol Mouck to preserve and propagate. Recently, women who have enacted their stewardship of those seeds until now, for now, and for the future, gathered together.

Time was taken to create a sacred space for sharing, to consecrate memories, and to weave the relationships between the women and the seed inheritance. You could sense continuous lineage coming to life as the conversation, full of care and wisdom, unfolded.

The Heirloom Seed Sanctuary is host to an extensive collection of once endangered seeds, now well adapted and hardy to the area.

Members of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul spent time connecting and exploring with members of Kingston Area Seed System Initiative, and women from Ratinenhayen:thos, a small group from the Tyendinaga community who see themselves as farmers and stewards of the seeds for the seed’s sake.

An intention to care for the earth, its beauty, and gifts was palpable and ever present. Each of the women spoke reverently about their role and welcomed responsibility for this sacred charge.

Reflections from the gathering “In our creation story, a woman fell from the sky, and she brought with her, seeds. That tells us that it’s our job to be caretakers of the seeds.”

“I got emotional listening to some of the stories. There is so much here in what has happened. There is so much heart in what is going to happen.”

“The best thing that ever happened to my prayer life was the garden.”

“We are called to be leaders to protect the earth.”

“It was a time of great teaching.”

“It’s more than just the seeds. It’s the spiritual connection to the seeds.”

“In our custom, we pass down the seeds within families.”

“This has been absolutely powerful.”

“Seed is a living entity and it deserves respect.”

“Our friendship bloomed this desire for the seeds to be rematriated to traditional land.”

“I wanted to be part of a group that looks after the seeds and treats them so preciously.”

The women gathered via video conference for 90 minutes on February 28, 2018.

Above illustration by Jocasta Boone

Contact / Location

Contact info

123, New Lenox, Chicago IL 60606

Gathering Times


8:00am, 9:15am, 11:00am

Events / Calendar