Praise My Lord for Sister Water: Lake Michigan Beach Sweep

by Sister Julie Ann on September 17, 2008

img_4552_1632_edited-1.jpgCelebrating September Coastal Awareness Month in Wisconsin, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity and other enthusiastic people from the greater Manitowoc/Two Rivers lakeshore area united efforts in sweeping the beach of Lake Michigan on a beautiful, sunny September 17, 2008 day.  

img_4553_1633_edited-1.jpgThis event coincided with the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup which is the world’s largest volunteer event of its kind. Last year, 378,000 volunteers from 76 countries and 45 states cleared 6 million pounds of trash from oceans and waterways and recorded every piece of trash collected.

img_4571_1651_edited-1.jpgOcean Conservancy compiles, analyzes and tracks this data and makes discoveries about the behaviors that cause the debris. The final information is used to educate the public, business, industry, and government officials about the problem.Today’s lakeshore event had representatives from Holy Family Convent, Silver Lake College, Roncalli High School, Lincoln High School, Koenig Elementary School and Holy Family Memorial.

img_4558_1638_edited-1.jpgIn the Canticle of the Creatures St. Francis of Assisi praises God “through Sister Water who is useful and humble and precious and chaste.” Further in the Mirror of Reflection one reads about the exceptional love Francis had for water, stones, wood and flowers:

img_4554_1634.jpgNext to fire he had a singular love for water through which holy penance and tribulation is symbolized and by which the filth of the soul is washed clean and because of which the first cleansing of the soul takes place through the waters of Baptism.

Further photos by Jaslyn Gilbert.

Refect on your own reverence for water.

4 thoughts on “Praise My Lord for Sister Water: Lake Michigan Beach Sweep”

  1. Sister Kathleen says:

    Sometimes learning more about a justice issue requires us to make an adjustment in our thinking, our praying and our living. An adJUSTment with the emphasis on “just”. Here’s a brief look at what the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops say about water rights.

    As Catholics, we share the belief with other people of faith that we are called to be stewards of God’s creation and to actively participate in sustaining creation by caring for our children and their physical environment. We believe that every person possesses a fundamental dignity that comes from God. We defend the right to life and the right of children to live with dignity and to realize the bright promise and opportunity of childhood.

    We are particularly concerned about the poor and the powerless who most directly bear the burden and suffer disproportionately from the multiple effects of environmental problems in many low-income communities. As the bishops said in their statement, Renewing the Earth, “The whole human race suffers as a result of environmental blight, and generations yet unborn will bear the price for the failure to act today.”

    Experts estimate that almost 8 million Americans get sick each year from waterborne illness. Children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are most likely to get sick from coming into contact with contaminated water. Communities likely to be affected include older urban cores where infrastructure is crumbling. In many areas of the country, drinking water intakes can be found downstream of sewer outfalls.

  2. We collected between 75-100 lbs of junk off the Lake Michigan shoreline on Memorial Dr. yesterday. This was about 30 lbs less than one year ago! That is good news!

    Even better news is the generosity of time and energy from all those who came to help!

    Finding peace comes from a choice within one’s self to make the world a place of blessing. We are all blessed today thanks to the efforts of those who came out to take care of a part of God’s beautiful creation yesterday!

  3. I appreciate the introductory remarks and the reference from the Mirror of Perfection.

    Thanks, Sr. Kathleen, for some background on the bishops’ teaching on water. I am forwarding this page on to others teaching about justice and the land. Your resource is very helpful.

  4. “This is water.” David Foster Wallace purposely chose these words in a 2005 Kenyon Commencement address that gushes with wisdom about the complexities of everyday life. http://www.marginalia.org/dfw_kenyon_commencement.html
    A Francisan approach to life begins with “the value of the totally obvious…simple awareness; awareness of what is so real, essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over”.

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