Integral Ecology and Women

Here you can find extracts from some of the articles found in Women's Voice issue 38.


Editorial, Virginia Rivero Lozada

Integral Ecology and Women, the title chosen by the WUCWO President General to inspire the content of our 38th Issue of our magazine, encourages our organisation members and friends to heed the call Pope Francis makes to the world in his recent Ecyclical Laudato Si. His Holiness calls us to recognize nature as the book through which God speaks to us and shows us her beauty and goodness, he reminds us of the urgent need to protect ‘the common home’ as he refers to the earth and at the same time, shares his worries about uniting the entire human race in the search for sustainable and comprehensive development that promotes the changes necessary to resolve the dramatic consequences of environmental degradation on the lives of the poorest people in the world. Laudato Si, the first Encyclical on the theme of ecology, is a call to all of humanity to protect the ‘common home’. The Holy Father is calling on each of us when he says “All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents” (LS 14). ... continued in Women's Voice 38


President General's Message, Maria Giovanna Ruggieri

The theme of integral ecology, which is the main topic of this issue, is the clear commitment of WUCWO to reflect on the latest Encyclical, Laudato Si, offered by Pope Francis to all people of goodwill.

 “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day…. Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry. They have no other financial activities or resources which can enable them to adapt to climate change or to face natural disasters, and their access to social services and protection is very limited.”(LS 25) We know that many of our WUCWO members are experiencing the difficulties of climate change.

The Holy Father indicates that the ecological crisis, as we are becoming more and more aware, is strictly connected with the decline in the quality of human life and the breakdown of society. He clearly states that “one cannot prescind from humanity. There can be no renewal of our relationship with nature without a renewal of humanity itself. There can be no ecology without an adequate anthropology. When the human person is considered as simply one being among others, the product of chance or physical determinism” (LS 118). ...continued in Women's Voice


The Grace of Responding to Laudato Si, Fr. Gerard Whelan

The theme for this issue of Women's Voice is “Integral Ecology And Women,” inspired by the encyclical of Pope Francis Laudato Si. The large number of contributions to this issue testify to how eagerly members of WUCWO have the call to reflect on this issue. How might I add to this reflection? I would like to comment on how Pope Francis is influenced by the spirituality of St. Ignatius in calling for “integral ecology,” and suggest that this can also influence how women think about contributing to this theme.

A central experience for every Jesuit is the thirty-day silent retreat he undergoes soon after joining the religious institute, called the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Each day the Jesuit novice prays for about four hours meets for about thirty minutes with his Novice Director. He is instructed to trust his feelings in prayer and to learn the art of discernment of spirits. Slowly, he comes to recognize how easily his feelings seem to change between one session of prayer and another. ... continued in Women's Voice


Information from the Secretary General, Maria Lia Zervino, Servidora

Upon request from the Board, WUCWO has taken on a new means of insitutional communcication to enhance mutual enrichment: a periodic NEWSLETTER. It will serve both to share the wealth of work that our member organisations are doing and to circulate between members the work WUCWO carries out internationally and within the universal Church. It differs from Women’s Voice as it is a free, electronic and only shares brief snippets of recent information, complimenting the website: We will have 5 Newsletters in 2015.   

The role of Women in the Church: Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture (PCC), invited the WUCWO President General to take part in a Commission of Women, made up of women recognised in the world of culture. Professor Maria Giovanna Ruggieri, in representing so many women from across the world, was able to bring their voices to the table. At the request of the PCC, we have sent curriculum vitae – submitted by our WUCWO Board members – of candidates to take part in this Commission on a permanent basis to the Cardinal. ...continued in Women's Voice

Integral Ecology and Women, Jane Munro, CWL Australia

Laudato Si spells out Pope Francis’ vision of a far more expansive world than we can see. It encompasses the whole universe and the spiritual realm. Acknowledging that we are made in the image and likeness of God, allows us to see all humanity through ‘God’s eyes’- as ethical beings of worth and love, with a capacity for conscious self-reflection. The environment, in all its richness and diversity, reflects the beauty and order of God.

The Eucharist, in which we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, is also a symbol of the immensity of God. The Divine becomes immanent to us, through the action of God, using wheat and grapes, humble lowly products of our Earthly environment. ...continued in Women's Voice

The World, 'A House for All' and a Home for Everyone, Elsa Tosi, Accion Catolica Argentina

In his Encyclical, Laudato Si, Pope Francis cautions on the state of natural ecology and human ecology which is suffering traumatic consequences due to devastating exploitation. The Pope is launching an appeal to all of humanity, and to the faithful in a particular way, to take care of creation, a ‘house for everyone’. The counterpart to damage inflicted on nature is suffered by the most fragile human beings who see their chance of survival directly and permanently compounded, while compromising the future generations to come. ... continued in Women's Voice


Women Care to Make a Difference, Velma Harasen, CWL Canada

In his recent encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis issues the world with a tremendous challenge, and that is to tact now to save our earth! We are encouraged to care for creation in whatever way we can. Let’s hope that government officials and decision makers are listening. Our gracious God created our beautiful planet. He created humankind and gave them the responsibility to take care of our earth. We must protect and preserve the earth not only for our own survival but for the sake of generations to come. ...continued in Women's Voice

The Bottelón Against Ecology, Araceli Cavero, Manos Unidas Spain

Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Si, has been a gift from the Holy Spirit. It is a pleasant surprise to realise that within ecology ‘there is a need to incorporate the history, culture and architecture of each place’ (LS 143). In this regard we can see laudable initiatives aiming to maintain or regain the identity of towns. We are seeing an increase in people’s awareness of the state of the planet. They realise that “A consumerist vision of human beings (…) has a leveling effect on culture, diminishing the immense variety which is the heritage of all humanity” (LS 144). They think that “That disappearance of a culture can be much more serious, or even more serious, than the disappearance of a species of plant or animal” (LS 145). This notwithstanding, however, there is the growing phenomenon of ‘botellón’, causing much disappointment in certain parts of Spain. ...continued in Women's Voice

Climate Change and Laudato Si at the UN, Maribeth Stewart, Vice President General

Important meetings concerning the environment were recently held at the United Nations in New York: 29th June 2015 was devoted to a High Level Event on Climate Change convened by the President of the General Assembly and on 30th June, a High Level Discussion of Laudato Si: On Care For Our Common Home, Pope Francis’ encyclical on ecology, was presented by the Mission of the Holy See at the UN.

The High Level Event on Climate Change addressed the issue through briefings and two panels: Discussion of strategies for mitigating climate change from the viewpoint of politics and from that of stakeholders. Climate change was noted as one of the defining global challenges of our times. Xiuhtezcatl Roske Martinez, a 15 year old, eloquently and passionately stated, “What's at stake right now is the existence of my generation.”  ...continued in Women's Voice


Bringing Hope to Protecting Creation in the Spirit of Laudato Si, Marie Salome Biongola, Ligue des Femmes Catholiques Cameroon

Our organisation is called on not only to seek the sanctification of its members and all humanity through prayer and evangelisation but also to lead actions which see the inclusion of women throughout these processes.  

We are engaged in environmental action through our pastoral activities in our way of bringing hope to protecting creation which can be seen through some of these examples: seminars on the collection of household rubbish, keeping our homes clean by planting flowers, trees and creating vegetable gardens, controlling emissions, distributing 400 oil palm plants to young people in rural areas to improve ecology, their living conditions, reduce rural-urban immigration and illegal migration, creating 8 community fields to support women’s leagues from rural parishes; a way to restore dignity to those who are excluded while protecting nature (LS 139).  ... continued in Women's Voice