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News Archives » LaVista Ecological Learning Center

2024 February Field Trip Reflection March 7th, 2024

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

In February the OMI novices’ field trip focused on the intrinsic value and rights of non-human creatures as expressed in the papal encyclical Laudato Si, “Together with our obligation to use the earth’s goods responsibly, we are called to recognize that other living beings have a value of their own in God’s eyes…”(69)

We visited TreeHouse Wildlife Center in Dow, Illinois. The Center’s mission reflects the belief that animals have a value of their own, apart from their usefulness. Accepting and caring for injured wildlife of all kinds, the Center is dedicated to rehabilitation and release back into the wild. If that is impossible, then the staff cares for the injured animal for the rest of its life!

When we arrived, we met Carrie and her favorite resident, an injured kestrel, pictured here. As soon as Carrie entered the room the kestrel raised a ruckus, obviously having a relationship with her. The delight on her face and the way she spoke showed respect for this ordinary bird which will be cared for until the end of its days.

At left the novices are intrigued by a small, deformed owl which was brought to the Center by someone who had it as a pet. He fed the owl only ground meat, thinking he was treating it well; however, the nutrition it needed for healthy bones was missing, and it got rickets. That little owl has become a friend to all who meet “Owlbert”! Laudato Si reminds us that “This contemplation of creation allows us to discover in each thing a teaching which God wishes to hand on to us, since ‘for the believer, to contemplate creation is to hear a message…’”(85). So, when we returned from our visit we shared the unique message each one heard. What was common was the gratitude we felt for this opportunity to be close to wildlife that could have been cast aside, but instead was valued and given a chance to continue living in “our common home”.


OMI US JPIC Staff, Advisory Committee Meet in Godfrey, Illinois November 18th, 2022

OMI JPIC Staff & Committee

From November 10 to 11 the OMI JPIC Committee had its first hybrid meeting since the Covid-19 pandemic. The in-person venue was the historic Immaculate Heart of Mary Novitiate in Godfrey, IL.

The group meets twice a year to discuss JPIC’s work and exchange ideas. Meeting discussions centered on JPIC’s socially responsible investing efforts, integrity of creation initiatives through LaVista Ecological Learning Center, the 2021-2023 Synod, and Economy of Francesco, an initiative of Pope Francis that engages young people in dialogue about “a different kind of economy that better respects humanity and nature.”
The group also paused to tour the grounds of the newly renovated novitiate, visiting the LaVista Garden and lodge, which sits on the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River.
The US JPIC Advisory Committee is a mix of Oblates and laypersons passionate about issues of justice, economic development and ecology. They serve as a sounding board for the office. Full list of JPIC Committee and office staff: 

  • Dr. Victor Carmona, Chair, Assistant professor of Theology and Religious Studies, University of San Diego 
  • Ms. Patti RadleCo-Director, Inner City Development
  • Fr. Daniel LeBlanc, OMI, Associate, International JPIC Office and Oblate UN Representative 
  • Sr. Maxine Pohlman, SSND, Director, La Vista Ecological Learning Center
  • Mr. Gary HuelsmannChief Executive Officer, Caritas Family Solutions 
  • Mrs. Mary O’Herron, Former OMI JPIC Staff & Honorary Oblate of Mary Immaculate
  • Fr Emmanuel Mulenga, OMI, Pastor, St. Augustine Church
  • Fr. Séamus Finn, OMIDirector, OMI JPIC & Chief of Faith Consistent Investing – OIP Investment Trust
  • George NgolweAssociate Director, OMI JPIC
  • Rowena Gono, Communications Coordinator, OMI JPIC

VIDEO: JPIC’s Laudato Si’ Action Platform Report September 16th, 2022

Caring for our common home is essential to Missionary Oblate’s mission to the poor, because they are the ones most affected by the devastation to the planet.

The seven-year Laudato Si’ Action Platform offers a fresh opportunity for each of us to commit to complete sustainability in the spirit of Laudato Si. Oblates JPIC is promoting the following works from Oblates and allies in the province as a step toward integral ecology.



In the Spirit of Laudato Si: Missionary Oblates Connect Communities with the Environment September 7th, 2022

In his encyclical Laudato Si’– On Care for Our Common Home (2015), Pope Francis wrote, “Whether believers or not, we are agreed today that the earth is essentially a shared inheritance, whose fruits are meant to benefit everyone. For believers, this becomes a question of fidelity to the Creator, since God created the world for everyone. Hence, every ecological approach needs to incorporate a social perspective which takes into account the fundamental rights of the poor and the underprivileged.” View the Vatican’s Laudato Si Action Platform online.

The COVID 19 epidemic has shown that our lives and actions are inextricably linked to those around us, including the environment. The seven-year Laudato Si‘ Action Platform offers a fresh opportunity for each of us to commit to complete sustainability in the spirit of Laudato Si. Oblates JPIC is promoting the following works from Oblates and allies in the province as a step toward integral ecology.



Watch a video introducing OMI JPIC’s Laudato Si Action Report.

Use arrows below to scroll through OMI JPIC’s Laudato Si Action Report. 


[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”2022 JPIC Laudato Si Action Platform final 9-22″]



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