This year’s North East Province Justice Day hosted by the Province’s Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Commission took place on Tuesday 26th November 2019 in Mount St. Anne’s Retreat & Conference Centre, Killenard, Portarlington Co. Laois, welcoming in excess of 70 participants countrywide.
A Justice Day update
Sr. Veronica Casey from the NEP JPIC Commission opened the day helping those present call to mind the qualities of Nano Nagle (founder of the Presentation Congregation) – those qualities that inspired her, and that are admirable qualities to be respected in anyone at any time, and not just at the time of Nano (16th century Penal Ireland). Veronica pointed to the fact that these are not only qualities that endure, but that they are qualities that are even more necessary in the increasingly challenging times we witness today.
Veronica also reminded us of Nano’s courage, her ability to notice, her capacity for collaboration and the urgency with which she took up her work. These present were asked to consider ‘our wounded planet’ in the light of the quotation from the last verse of the poem by the poet 14th Century Persian poet Hafiz “I have come into this world to see this: the sword drop from men’s hands even at the height of their arc of rage, because we have finally realised there is just one flesh we can wound”. Veronica she followed on from this to say:
“There is only one flesh we can wound and that is His – the Christ’s, Our Beloved’s”.
About Jane Mellett
Jane Mellett is a native of Carlow and a proud past pupil of Presentation primary and secondary schools. Jane has a background in International Development and Theology (specialising in New Testament scripture); she is a qualified spiritual director and yoga teacher. Jane spent the past eight years as a pastoral worker for Dublin Archdiocese and coordinated the Laudato Sí project of the World Meeting of Families 2018 (WMOF2018).
This led her on a climate journey, quite literally, as she walked last Winter (2018) the 1,000 km journey from Italy to Poland with a group of pilgrims carrying the message of Laudato Sí to the UN Climate Conference in Katowice. Her current role is as Trócaire’s Laudato Sí Officer, working alongside Lorna Gold, striving to mobilise the Irish Church in the spirit of Laudato Sí. One of her more infamous actions is that she has tweeted the entire Laudato Sí document to Donald Trump.
Jane shared her input in three sections, as follows:
‘I have come that you may have life and have it to the full’ (or a more abundant life), is Jesus’ response to accusations against him after he restores the sight of the man born blind in John 9. God’s abundance is all around us, in the Book of Creation, and we are being called into a restoration and re-connection with the natural world. She suggested that we have lost our sight through a theology of domination. Jane went on to explore with those present, what is means to live in real abundance.
She encouraged us to consider what it means to have abundance and to be at your happiest or most content. She reminded us of that well known quotation in the creation narrative: “God saw what He created and it was good”. And reminded in doing so she put before us the very first colour picture of our Earth, when it was first broadcast by the astronauts during the first Moon Landing, whilst reading Genesis 1 – 10 in December 1968. This is still the most watched television event to date, and what an image it is! We were asked to take a moment to consider what comes to us when we reflect on this image?
Some of the things that occurred to Jane Mellett that she shared with those present are: Steward-ship, sharing our world, inter-connectedness, abundant life, hope, enough, Creation.
All of these are themes that are explored in Laudato Sí, published by Pope Francis in 2015. We are reminded that perhaps the way forward for a struggling planet might be a route “back to creation”.
“There is enough for all but why is it that so many have not got enough”.
Those present then broke for discussion with guided questions to aid their reflection.
What fills us with abundant life? Some considered that it was when they walk or garden or when they take in beautiful views. That which inspires, invigorates, energises and is essentially grounded in nature.
Before Jane moved on to a darker section of her talk she asked those present to consider the following from text Laudato Si #34
“But a sober look at our world shows that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey, even as technological advances and consumer goods continue to abound limitlessly. We seem to think that we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves”.