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Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation

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Church Leaders and Experts Gather for 3rd Vatican Conference on Impact Investing July 26th, 2018

(2nd from right) Fr. Séamus Finn, OMI, Chief of Faith Consistent Investment, OIP Investment Trust  (Photo credit: Remo Casilli)

From July 8-10, 2018  the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (IHD) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) co-hosted the third conference on impact investing with the theme, Scaling Investment in Service of Integral Human Development. Information about the conference can be found by clicking here.

Held in Rome,  the event  drew experts and Catholic leaders from around the world, including  Frs. Séamus Finn, OMI and Rufus Whitley, OMI. Fr. Séamus spoke on the panel Advances within the Catholic Church and Fr. Rufus participated in discussions on  Deploying Capital for Impact at the Base of the Pyramid. 

Fr. Rufus Whitley, OMI, President and Chief Investment Officer, OIP Investment Trust  (Photo credit: Remo Casilli) 

Other panels addressed issues like climate change, health, migrants, refugees, and youth unemployment and how impact investment can improve conditions for people affected. The conference was billed as a ‘results-oriented’ event and a long-term global commitment.

(Photo credit: Remo Casilli)

 


25th Anniversary Dedication Celebration of the Missionary Oblates Woods Nature Preserve July 13th, 2018

Down-to-Earth Oblates Break Ground 1993
by Sr. Maxine Pohlman, SSND

In 1993 two local women, Margaret Morrissey and Annie Hoagland, had a special vision for the River bluff area in Alton and Godfrey.  Wanting the land along the bluffs to be preserved for future generations, they tried to persuade area landowners to enter into legal agreements to preserve their land, but they were unsuccessful until the Provincial Council of the Oblates agreed.  Then other landowners also signed on!  Father Lou Studer was on the Council at the time, and he remembers this visit and their follow-up letter campaign. He also remembers that the Council agreeing unanimously to dedicate 16 acres as an Illinois Nature Preserve!  These acres is now named the Missionary Oblates Woods Nature Preserve.

“More Important Now Than Ever” was the theme of our celebration.  In the past 25 years more land has been developed and forests have continued to degrade; so, preserving high quality forested area has only increased in importance.  It was truly visionary to begin preserving as much forested area as possible twenty-five years ago.

The celebration was held on Saturday, July 7th outdoors from 2:00 – 4:00 pm and was attended by over 40 people, including Mayor Mike McCormick, representatives of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission and the Great Rivers Land Trust, faithful Preserve volunteers, friends and the Novitiate Community.  The program included a luncheon for special guests, several presentations and a guided hike into the Preserve.

Fr. Jack Lau, OMI

Jack Lau, OMI, served as the emcee, expertly weaving together the presentations with his passion for land and La Vista in particular.  Speakers included:

  • Debbie Newman, Natural Areas Preservation Specialist with the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission, who shared the history of the preservation movement in Illinois, pointing out that the Oblates were the first faith-based group to preserve land in the state
  • Pen Daubach, an Illinois Nature Preserves Commissioner, who highlighted the name “Oblate” as “one who offers”, saying that the Oblates have made a big commitment in offering their land to protect biodiversity and to preserve habitat.
  • Father Lou Studer, OMI, pointing out that Oblates are “down-to-Earth” priests and brothers seeking practical solutions to issues. “Oblates are close to the people,” he said.  “Oblates preach the message of Jesus who often used images from nature in his teaching.” Father Lou also summarized for us the work of Oblates in the

    Fr. Lou Studer, OMI

    justice, peace and integrity of creation priority, sharing this aspect of the Oblate spirit. 

  • Maxine Pohlman, SSND, who works with the Preserve volunteers, said that it was the work of this group of highly dedicated people who healed the acres by removing trash, invasive species, and planting native wildflowers. “They work hard, meeting monthly, to tackle a job that looked impossible, but the volunteers have made a huge difference in a few years.” For several years OMI novices have taken part in Preserve work, putting up boundary markers, removing honeysuckle, and participating in controlled burns.

After the presentations, the hike into the Preserve was a real eye-opener for participants who got to experience firsthand what land can look like when it is maintained by people who have learned to do the task correctly.  A clear view of the River, the presence of native wildflowers, and the absence of big honeysuckle bushes and invasive trees make the Preserve a beautiful example of what protected land can look like and how it can serve the community of life in this region.

Everyone took away with them a good share of Oblate spirit, esteem for the work of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission, and the peace that comes with spending time in a beautiful place.

Sr. Maxine Pohlman, SSND, with attendees

Debbie Newman, Natural Areas Preservation Specialist


Interview with Superior General Louis Lougen, OMI July 10th, 2018

In this seven-minute segment, Fr. Louis Lougen, OMI, Oblate Superior General  reflects on his visits to Turkmenistan, Cuba and Zimbabwe. He also talks about his perspective on the congregation as a whole.

 


Fr. Scott Hill, OMI, Attends Local ‘Families Belong Together’ Rally July 9th, 2018

On the last Saturday of June, the morning began with coffee and quiche. The early sun warmed the morning promising a bright and sunny day as over 2000 demonstrators gathered along the shore of Lake Merritt in Oakland, CA for the Families Belong Together rally. Local geese, families with their children and adults, gathered with the thousands of Americans, across the country, demanding the reunification of immigrant families seeking refuge from the tyranny of physical and emotional violence. Many speakers and musicians addressed the injustice encountered by immigrant families at the southern border of the United States.

However, as I sat with my mother who gladly joined me at the rally, I felt a growing gloom as I considered the anguish of parents and children forcibly separated by the cruel and in-inhumane policies of the government that represents this country. A country once called “a city on the hill.” As I walked to the gathering site for the demonstration, I encountered another aging man who shared my gloomy feelings, asking, “how many times do we have to meet like this?” Indeed, how many times? As the families and adults gathered, I heard in the speeches and music the answer to our common question: “as many times as the vulnerable and powerless are harmed and treated unjustly.” As the crowd swelled my spirits began to rise, there was a spirit of compassion weaving its thread throughout the crowd. Many signs, in one way or another, spoke of “building bridges, not walls.”

(l to r) Fr.Scott Hill, OMI and his mother, Nancy, at the rally

While with this crowd, and standing in solidarity with the many children and parents being denied their intrinsic right of being family, I was reminded that my participation in this rally was my solidarity with the nameless children and parents, as well as my solidarity with my Oblate brothers and their parishioners who know the names and their humanity. 

Together, compassion has taken to the streets and the national demonstrations and the presence of my Oblate brothers and the many volunteers, echoed the words of St. Augustine: “an unjust law is no law at all.”

Crowds gathered for Families Belong Together rally

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sr. Ann Diehl, CSJ Named Honorary Oblate of Mary Immaculate June 6th, 2018

Photos courtesy of Janice Cooke

Congratulations to former OMI US provincial secretary and archivist Sr. Ann Diehl, CSJ, for 26 years of service to the Oblates and still counting. On June 4, Sr. Ann received the designation of Honorary Oblate of Mary Immaculate during a Mass and program held at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. The ceremony was officiated by Oblate Superior General Fr. Louis Lougen, OMI, assisted by US Provincial Fr. Louis Studer, OMI.  Following the Mass, a lunch reception was held at the Oblate residence. Sr. Ann has been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for 54 years.

 


Provincial Update Fr. Louis Studer, OMI: Zambia April 6th, 2018

Fr. Louis Studer, OMI describes his recent trip to the U.S. Delegation in Zambia along with U.S. Vicar-Provincial for Personnel, Fr. Art Flores, OMI, and U.S. Treasurer, Fr. Jim Chambers, OMI. (Video runs approximately 6 Minutes)

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