Sidelights

Sisters Attend Land Justice Course

by Erica Jordan, OP

On five Thursdays in March and April 2022, 15 Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters participated in a course on Land Justice Futures sponsored by Nuns and Nones, an intergenerational spiritual community dedicated to care, contemplation, and courageous action in service of life and liberation. Sinsinawa provided local talent with Sinsinawa Ecological Programming Coordinator Eric Anglada serving as the course learning coordinator and Christin Tomy, OP, being one of the speakers. The course was so inspiring that we are inviting all of you to explore the course content and share our excitement!

In the course guidebooks published by Nuns and Nones, the authors write this: “As Sisters discern the future of their properties, many community initiatives—regenerative farms, habitat restoration projects, black and indigenous food sovereignty collectives, and beyond—are in search of land to steward, often inhibited by the rising costs of property. Given financial complexities and often unclear options on both sides of this equation, the choices can feel uninspiring, overwhelming, or downright dismal. But what if we could address the situation differently? What if religious land transitions could repair histories of harm and nurture a future of climate-resilient communities?

“We believe that this is possible, and that there are tools, models, and friends that can help us get there together. But as the adage goes, we can’t go anywhere we haven’t already been in our minds. Thus, in imagining land justice, we explore critical calls of the climate justice movement—Landback, reparations, and regeneration—and ask, ‘What is possible?’
“For decades, Sisters have been ‘living otherwise,’ caring for the needs of Earth and standing up for justice. We pray that these pages further that legacy, encourage your vision, and amplify the critical role that women religious can continue to play in this transformative moment. May we arrive, with every question and each imagining, one step closer to wholeness.”

We recognize the work our Sisters have done for our entire history in caring for the 450 acres of land that we call Sinsinawa Mound. We are grateful beyond words for the work of past and present committees that have studied ways of preserving the integrity of this land into the future. At this time, the Land Justice Futures initiative offers a look at some possibilities we may not have considered. It is offered to women religious congregations who hold in trust thousands of acres of land. There were 600+ women religious who participated in the course. Nuns and Nones will continue to engage with and resource congregations that want to explore options.

Toni Harris, OP, has approved further exploration of our involvement with the Nuns and Nones Land Justice Project. It will be under the auspices of the Sinsinawa Land and Ministry Committee. We will have the opportunity to work with Brenna Cussen Anglada, an ecological consultant who is a staff member with Nuns and Nones on this project.

To learn more, visit the website nunsandnones.org/land-justice. You can download the three guidebooks there. To listen to a 20-minute course summary, click on “Land Justice” at the top of the page and then “Learning Platforms.” Scroll to the bottom of the page for the video and selections from the course recordings. Enjoy—and be inspired!

Click for Spectrum July 2022 Index

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