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Reflection on May’s Laudato Si Field Trip

June 14th, 2024

Contributed by Sr. Maxine Pohlman, SSND, Director, La Vista Ecological Learning Center

Advocacy was our theme in May, and so the OMI Novices and I, representing La Vista Ecological LearningGreen drawing of tree and shrub Center, traveled to our local Sierra Club Office where we met with Virginia Woulfe Beile, Co-director of the Three Rivers Project.

Virginia shared a guide their members use called the Jemez Principles. It occurred to us that any faith leader could also take these admonitions to heart:

–      Be inclusive

–      Emphasis on bottom-up organizing

–      Let people speak for themselves

–      Work together in solidarity and mutuality

–      Build just relationships among ourselves

–      Commit to self-transformation

Next, we enjoyed a Zoom session back at the Novitiate with Father Daniel LeBlanc, OMI, another advocacy hero! Father Dan has been a non-governmental (NGO) representative at the United Nations in New York for OMI and VIVAT International for twenty years.

Fr. Daniel LeBlanc, OMI US Province, Representative to United Nations

When asked what was challenging about his work with the UN, Father Dan offered this sage advice: you need patience to do this work because it takes many years to accomplish change at the UN. In response to a question about how to prepare for a ministry like his, he encouraged the novices to broaden their education, learning all they could! He is an example of this, for he speaks 6 languages and studied law while pastor of a parish of 130,000 in Peru.

To say we were inspired by his life and advocacy work as an OMI is an understatement. We all felt gratitude for our conversation with this remarkable Oblate!







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