Nizza Monferrato (Asti). Stimulated by Circular no. 1033 of Mother Chiara Cazzuola – “On the way to an integral ecology” – and by the Apostolic Exhortation Laudate Deum of Pope Francis, the FMA Communities of O. L. of Grace and St. Mary D. Mazzarello of Nizza Monferrato, of the Piedmontese Province Mary Help of Christians (IPI), set out to live up to the times with evangelical awareness and wisdom, as required by the Acts of General Chapter XXIV.

On 14 December 2023, Sr. Elena Morganti, in a clear and effective way, presented the basic guidelines of the Apostolic Exhortation to the two communities in different areas, placing it in continuity with Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’. Clarifying the meaning of the title of the Letter and its value, she highlighted the concern for the global climate crisis as a great challenge for humanity. It connects directly with the technocratic paradigm that is based on the idea that the human being is without limits and its possibilities extend to infinity, thanks to the power of technology.

Taking note of the labors of international politics, and giving some examples of the progress of the crisis, Sister Elena then focused on the expectations of the world and the Church towards the Dubai Conference on the COP 28 climate, explaining its aims and birth.

From the presentation of the Apostolic Exhortation, the sisters were able to know the spiritual motivations underlying this crisis and the urgency of strengthening the commitment to the care of the common home as an expression of social justice. Indeed, from this crisis springs the duty, as Salesian educators, to educate children and young people to “environmental responsibility” for creation and the potential to learn little by little to change personal, family, and community habits (cf. LD 71).

A second formative meeting was held by Sister Margherita Maderni on 4 January 2024, for the retired FMA of the St. Mary D. Mazzarello Community, followed with interest by some sisters of the O. L. of Grace Community.

Having heard the appeals of Pope Francis, of scientists, of the GC XXIV, there was a need to study in-depth the worrying situation of the common home and the climate crisis. Each sister has been given a simple, but clear module as an aid to understand the genesis of a high-risk situation for humanity.

Sister Margherita placed this challenge in a broad historical perspective, leading the listeners to understand how the environmental issue has accompanied humanity since ancient times. Already in the eleventh century, a Chinese man spoke for the first time of ‘climatology.’ Dated to 1872, is the rise of sensitivity regarding the protection of the atmosphere in America. Since then, scientists have noticed that natural ecosystems are changing.

The problem of greenhouse gases appears in 1827, but only in 1950 is it taken seriously. The participants tried to understand the greenhouse effect with its dramatic consequences today and followed the explanations on global temperature fluctuations, which cause serious alarm around the world.  Mentioned was the birth of Ecology in France and Germany between 1935 and 1942. In the second half of the twentieth century, there was a need to promote a radical ecological transformation for the industrial type of society. Since 1970, environmentalism has become a mass phenomenon, especially in the United States of America.

The speaker cited many examples of associations, projects, green parties, authoritative voices, from the Pope to the Heads of State, up to COP 28 in Dubai, from which a process leading to a fair and equitable energy transition is expected.

Mother’s Circular No. 1033 opens up cultural and educational horizons to understand the gravity of the climate crisis, which is ecological, political, economic, social, and medical. The FMA in Nizza asked themselves:

“Do wars also have a root cause in the complexity of these ecological problems? Are we aware of the urgent need to use more and more renewable energy? Does digital energy have polluting effects on the atmosphere?” … And other similar questions that touch on the daily life and mission entrusted to them.

From these two meetings, everyone grew in the awareness of having to be in today’s history honest citizens with the heart of Don Bosco, also from the point of view of ecological conversion. Because we are all interconnected, there is a growing certainty that any change in lifestyle will have a significant long-term impact on the world.


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