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Garden of Oneness
(Image: Courtesy of pbvm.org website)

The Garden of Oneness

The Garden of Oneness in the middle of rural Zambia, was founded by Presentation Sister, Teresita “Terry” Abraham.

In our spirituality as Presentation sisters, there is a belief in the sacredness of the earth and universe “…  a spirituality of communion, with God, with one another, and with all of creation. We feel at the heart of every piece of creation is the spirit of God breathing”. (Sr. Terry)

Sr. Terry originally from Kerala, India, had worked in Zambia for 14 years as a missionary. Then she left to serve on the leadership team in the Presentation Sisters administrative centre in Ireland for 13 years and returned to Zambia in 2014. She came back wanting to harness that charism (or ideology) of the ecology of spirituality, and to work on a project of the spirituality of oneness. She started floating the idea about making a spiritual centre deeply connected to ecology and the environment among her fellow sisters, and the community of Kaoma, an agricultural town in the sparsely settled western part of Zambia.

African spirituality is closely related to nature and the idea of oneness. “Ubuntu” an ancient Bantu word that means “I am because we are” or “oneness” is a central to this. Indeed, former South African president Nelson Mandela used the idea of “Ubuntu” to inspire climate change activists to unite together for the common good.

The Garden of Oneness is a haven of “Ubuntu” and a protected environmental area where generations can come to connect to their roots. During it’s initial development, local people came out in droves to volunteer, taking ownership of the idea of an eco-spirituality centre.

Take anything in creation, and you’ll find that no two leaves, no two human beings are the same, not even twins are the same” [ … ] “No two grains of sand are the same. So you see diversity everywhere – we’re all different, even every piece of hair is different. And yet, there’s an essence to everything.

When I work with the farmers in the village, I ask the farmers who plants the maize, ‘Do you ever teach the little ‘maizies’ how to grow?’ No, there’s an inner wisdom that it knows how to grow, and grow to its fullness. We diminish that growth because we damage the earth, and we damage all other life species. We do it because we want to dominate, and we do it mindlessly. We must wake up to that wisdom, because this wisdom is everything.” (Terry Abraham, PBVM)

About the Garden

The Garden of Oneness is best described in the words of Sr. Terry herself. Following, are some inspiring quotations from Sr. Terry, taken from some of the various articles that have been written about the Garden.

The Heart of the Garden is the Sacred Web: the unfolding Love story of God … ‘To tell the story of  anything we have to tell the story of  everything.’  (Thomas Berry).  Today we need a story that has the power to connect all peoples, all nations … all religions, and all cultures … It’s a story that tells us who we are, who God is … where we come from and where we are going. This amazing story is simple yet complex with stunning creativity and beauty.  It is a story of life, death and new life and of love lavished. It is our sacred story …  a story that proclaims that we are One Sacred Community.  In this One Story is all our stories … “.

Terry describes the this story of ‘Oneness’ as woven by God with three golden threads:

Communion: We are one, we are all connected, we all come from the same source, to be created is to be related, everything is related to everything else.

Diversity: We are all different, we are unique, everything is different from everything else.

Essence: The heart of all beings is the Divine spark, the holy Light. We believe in the Light within all life, the flame of the spirit shining in every heart that makes every life sacred.

Mother Earth, our beautiful daughter of the Universe, is endangered today. She is the poorest of the poorest of the poor.  She is raped and plundered, she is wounded and broken because of the irresponsibility of humanity. This is a moment of great peril and possibility when humanity must choose”.

Think of your great grandchildren asking in years to come: what did my grandfather/grandmother do when s/he knew? Did s/he save the Earth for us? Did s/he do anything to protect our future?”

The Garden of Oneness helps every one who goes there to experience the Divine at the heart of life. We are grateful to the Presentation family and friends who support this Garden of Oneness.

We must listen to God’s heartbeat

There is abundance in the household of God, in the heart of Mother Earth, abundance in her body … why then do some hoard while others struggle? Gandhi said “the world has enough for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed.”

We have been nourished and sustained for millions of years by the body of Mother Earth. She is our true Bank, the only Bank where we can invest, where we can always withdraw for our need.

Urbanisation is a global crisis. Through polluted air we can’t see the light of God’s eyes in the twinkling stars. We must learn to listen to the call of Mother Earth, to the Spirit in the heart of the wilderness, free ourselves from the forest of cement and noise in our cities. We are not living a sustainable life. We have to get back to our roots, to the life of the Earth. We cannot have peace in our world without peace with Earth.

Throughout his life Jesus would go to the wilderness to discern and pray, as did the mystics of all cultures and faith traditions, to listen to the heartbeat of God in creation, to listen to the heartbeat of Mother Earth — the body of God.

(Sr.Terry Abraham, extract from’Wisdom of wilderness’, Global Sisters Report: May 2017).

Teresita Abraham is a Presentation Sister from India living in rural Zambia. She is passionate about the new creation story and the spirituality of being in communion that seeks God in the inter-connectedness of all life and promote love for self, others and all of nature. Together with the local community she has created the Garden of Oneness, a sanctuary of peace and harmony where she lives and works.

Some Links to material used in this piece:

Global Sisters Report 20 April 2015: article by Melanie Lidman, a freelance journalist in San Francisco.  See HERE

Global Sisters Report 16 May 2017 by Terry Abraham, PBVM: Wisdom of wilderness | Global Sisters Report

Also Presentation presence in Africa



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