Laudato si! Praised be for “our common home, which is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us” (LS #1).
In June 2015 Pope Francis released this encyclical Laudato Si. Ever since, caring for Creation has become a part of our lived experience and mission in Timor Leste – a place charged with the presence of the Creator!
The Story began with a study of the document itself in the community. The message of Laudato Si invited us in our community, ministries and individual spheres of influence to “hear the cry of the earth and the poor” (LS #49).
As Pope Francis says, “Our goal is not to amass information or to satisfy curiosity, but rather to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it” (LS #19). It is an ongoing dialogue that involves continuous prayer, reflection, assessment and action. We felt impelled by the encyclical towards an ecological conversion and integral ecology. We embraced the transformative visions of our dear Claudine and other ancestors in faith to incarnate a lived response in our way of being RJMs, both at personal and communal levels. Thus, we sought out concrete ways to live Laudato Si every day.
Here are some of our stories:
Natersia Maia (1st Year Postulant)
“As a part of our study of Laudato Si, I looked at my own traditions and culture. The stories of my ancestors came alive through the legends that I had heard as a child. I felt a call from within to make these rich traditions known to the world. Writing, drawing and making a handprint collage became my wings of expressions.”
Pope Francis calls us, people of faith and goodwill, to an ongoing dialogue to find solutions. He says, “We are not faced with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combat poverty, restoring dignity to the underprivileged, and at the same time protecting nature” (LS #139).
Eufrasia DaSilva (2nd Year RJM Novice)
“RJMs collaborating with the Jesuit Social Service in the Youth Ministry, the Women’s Tais Group, the Youth of Ulmera and Health Sector and now the Creative Tyre works with the Prisoners at Gleno-Ermera, inspire me as I see a change in the life of my brothers and sisters.”
Clementina Maia (2nd year Postulant)”
I never really understood why we don’t eat meat on Fridays. I felt, here in Timor Leste our food is so poor, we hardly have anything. But going meatless on Fridays means reducing greenhouse gas and honouring Catholic teaching. Thus, better care for Creation. This new understanding leads me to plant and care for our own vegetable garden, segregating our garbage, making our own manure. It gives me great joy.”
Barbara do Santos (2nd Year RJM Novice)
“Recycle – Reuse- Reduce is our policy at RJM Kasai. We are constantly aware of the use of paper, and every tiny bit is recycled. Clothes, bottles, boxes and sacks are reused for bags and pots and who knows what! The campus is alive with Creativity!
Felicidade Pereira (2nd year RJM Novice)
“Use less water and energy; Saving water means saving energy; Please conserve water and electricity. Signs like these in different places are a constant reminder to us. Our solar panels, rainwater harvesting tanks and homemade variation of sprinkler irrigation are all but small steps to show our love for our dear Mother Earth.”
Venancia Freteias (2nd year RJM Novice)
“Watching movies like Lorax and Happy Feet and studying, reflecting and praying with the BBC Series on the Wonders of our Universe, I now believe that I am personally responsible for our future generations. Guided nature meditations on the seed, the rivers, the onion etc., and the drive up to Monserrat to contemplate the sunset, moon and stars have opened new horizons for me. I feel empowered to change in thought and action”.
Maria Venacio (2nd Year Pre- Postulant)
How can we forget Mary – the Inclusive Mary, in whose mantle each of us finds our home? Praying the rosary at the newly erected grotto constructed with our own hands and ingenuity gives us a deep sense of satisfaction.
Flaviana de Jesus (2nd year Postulant)
The COVID-19 lockdown gave me a chance to get into the core of my being, to look into my heart and discover my purpose in life – to praise and glorify God alone. This looking in also helped me look out and see how deeply connected I am. The world is one. God the Creator and Christ who redeemed the world he entered and loved. The Holy Spirit, the Church and the sacraments to sustain us in hope. Moral traditions honour simplicity, justice, unselfishness and peace. We are interconnected, with God, with each other and with our world.
We believe in Pope Francis’ calls for a revolution of our hearts and minds, a transformation of societies and lifestyles, to live in harmony with God’s Creation. ‘Everything is connected.’
We strive each day to “BE THE CHANGE WE WANT TO SEE IN OUR WORLD.”
We are the New Generation of RJMs and
We seek to unfold New Chapters in History!