|Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, work
in their garden, which is part of the order's sustainability plan.
Pope Francis may be making headlines for his recent challenge on climate change, but environmental action in the church is nothing new. Caring for the earth has always been part of the Franciscan spirit, and one Franciscan order, the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has been practicing sustainability on its campus near Lake Michigan for years.
According to Milwaukee Public Radio, the order created a land-use committee in 2009, received a grant to help remove invasive plants, and are transforming an old athletic field into an urban forest. They also maintain bee boxes and vegetable gardens on their property.
The sisters rely on volunteers, the local Boy Scouts in particular, for help. They also have a group called “Habitat Healers,” which meets every Thursday morning to work where needed.
The sisters plan to eventually turn their headquarters into a meeting place for environmental groups. They hope that combining environmental stewardship with spirituality will be part of the order’s legacy.