Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation

Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate  United States Province

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Introducing the Lavista Learning Garden June 17th, 2020

Oblate Learning Garden in Godfrey, IL


Since its inception in 2001, La Vista Ecological Learning Center has taught that how we eat determines, to a great extent, how we care for creation.  That is why we were aligned with the Community Supported Garden at La Vista for 15 years.  Since that project ended in 2019, we have established La Vista Learning Garden under the umbrella of the Oblate Ecological Initiative.


The Learning Garden will be a model and gathering place for novices and area participants to learn and practice:

  • sustainable gardening skills like creating a garden plan  organic soil preparation and fertilization crop rotation choosing vegetables and their planting times methods for harvesting vegetables growing fruit trees native flower propagation a variety of composting methods
  • raising and caring for chickens
  • backyard beekeeping
  • cooking and nutrition
  • hand-carving kitchen utensils
  • DIY recycled garden decorations


Vernon DePauw is our head gardener and teacher.  He is a nationally known wood carver as well as a backyard gardener, poultryman, and beekeeper. Vernon has been a presenter at the Learning Center for several years. Vernon is faithfully supported by his wife Kathy who is also a volunteer.

[Novices with chicken coop they painted. It was remodeled by Vernon.]

Sister Maxine collaborates with Vernon to plan, organize, advertise and execute programs.

Volunteers – A small group of volunteers contribute their skills.

This project has been made possible with the support, encouragement and help of Seamus Finn, OMI, and OMI Novitiate Leadership: Pat McGee, Frank Kuczera and Humphrey Milimo.

[Novices and Vernon with hives built by Vernon and painted by novices.]

National Migration Week 2021 September 20th, 2021


Join the U.S Catholic Church in celebrating National Migration Week which takes place from September 20-26:

World Day of Migrants and Refugees

Oblate Mission with Migrants & Refugees


20th Anniversary of 9/11: Oblates Participate in Interfaith Prayer Service September 14th, 2021

Oblate Frs. Séamus Finn & Jim Brobst Participate in Local 9/11 Interfaith Prayer Service

USP JPIC participated in the PAX Christi co-sponsored interfaith prayer service at the Church of the Brethren in Washington, DC on September 11th. Frs. Jim Brobst, OMI & Séamus Finn, OMI represented the JPIC office, which has been a member of Pax Christi USA for many years.

The opening statement was delivered by Scott Wright and Jean Stokan, both former Pax Christi USA National Council members.

Opening statement:

Many of you were in New York City on 9/11; in the months and years that followed, some of you traveled to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo.

In the days immediately following 9/11, my family and our three-year-old daughter took the train to New York City. We spent the entire day accompanying family members of the victims in Washington Square and Union Square. Everywhere you could see little altars, with vigil lights, flowers, pictures of loved ones, and messages scribbled on poster board: “Have you seen my father? My brother? My daughter?” They were on the 71st floor, the 32nd floor, and wearing this or that…

As people of many faiths, and people of good will and compassionate hearts, we share a common hope for Peace, Salaam, Shalom. May we do everything in our power to protect human life, welcome refugees, challenge militarism across the globe, and recommit ourselves to nonviolence, knowing that violence and war are always a defeat for humanity.

In the days immediately following 9/11, Rep. Barbara Lee cast the only vote in Congress against going to war in Afghanistan. Pivotal to her decision was attending a memorial service where a clergy member said: “As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore.”

Photos from the service are located at this Flicker Site:

The 2021 Season of Creation runs from Sept. 1-Oct. 4 September 1st, 2021

Season of Creation invites us to contemplate the theme, “A Home for All?”

Photo courtesy of Niko Photos, Unsplash

A home for all? Renewing the Oikos of God is the theme of this year’s Season of Creation, which will be an opportunity to renew our relationship with our Creator and all creation through celebration, conversion, and commitment together.

During the Season of Creation, Catholics join the ecumenical family in prayer and action for our common home to renew the Oikos of God.

To help with your personal reflections, Earthbeat @ National Catholic Reporter, will run a featured series every Monday, Wednesday and Friday throughout the Season of Creation. Visit this page for their At Home in Creation Series.

Find additional resources at these links:


Friends of the Oblates Preserves Receives Award @ Illinois State Fair August 25th, 2021

(Photo L-R): Bill Rathmann, DNR Director Colleen Callahan, Sister Maxine Pohlman, Robert White, Connie Rathmann, Sandy Budde, Bill Zimmerman

Congratulations to Friends of the Oblates Nature Preserves for receiving a well-deserved “Volunteers of the Year” award from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources at the State Fair in Springfield, IL!
In collaboration with La Vista Ecological Learning Center, these faithful workers from O’Fallon, Waterloo, Edwardsville, Godfrey, and Elsah Illinois, collectively contributed 930 hours in monthly workdays. Their efforts in removing invasive species like bush honeysuckle, winter creeper and oriental bittersweet contribute to the preservation of biodiversity by allowing native species to thrive again. In addition they are helping to preserve an ecologically sensitive habitat where threatened and endangered species live or pass through during migration.
Sixteen acres of land at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Novitiate in Godfrey, Illinois were officially preserved in the Illinois Nature Preserve System in 1993. The first priority in preserving land is to protect biodiversity which is necessary for the continuation of life in our common home.

Illinois State Fair at a Glance:

  • The Illinois State Fair is an annual 11-day festival celebrating agriculture, farmers and related industries
  • First celebrated in 1853 in Chicago, IL, the fair is now in its 158th year.
  • The fair has moved to Springfield, IL and is held nearly every year with few exceptions (it was canceled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic)
  • Average attendance is around half a million, climbing to nearly 1 million in 2012 and 2013 and dropping back down to about 500,000 in 2019.
  • Corn-dogs-on-sticks, a popular edible treat at U.S. fairs is said to have originated at the Illinois State Fair

Our 2021 Summer JPIC Report is Now Available! August 18th, 2021

Oblates & Partners embrace the call of Laudato Sí

In this newsletter we share some of the creative and inspiring work of Oblates and partners embracing the call of Laudato Sí. Also, updates on JPIC activities and the policy and advocacy work we undertake with corporations and governments.

Do you have any interesting initiatives going on in your communities? Reach out to us at this email address:

A PDF version of the newsletter can be downloaded here.

Past issues can be found in the Resources section of the website.

JPIC Report is the twice-yearly newsletter of the US Oblate JPIC Office. It is an informational resource about and for Oblates and others involved in the work of promoting justice, peace and the integrity of creation.

2021 Farm System Reform Act August 17th, 2021

OMI JPIC Joins Faith-based Coalition Urging Support of the Farm System Reform Act In a July 2021 letter, faith-based denominations and organizations from a broad range of religious traditions expressed their support for the Farm System Reform Act and joint desire to “care righteously and justly for all of God’s creation.” The Farm System Reform Act, introduced in 2020 by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17), aims to remedy injustices throughout the U.S. Food System.

View the letter, a summary of the bill and list of signatories.

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