Web of Life is a new eco-spiritual retreat and study program based at the Maryknoll Sisters' Pastoral Center in Santa Fe, Darién, Panama. Global Sisters Report invites readers to follow along in a series of blogs, videos and photo galleries in the most recent retreat, held in June 2017. This union of spirituality and science is articulated in a series of reflections by theologians and scientists in settings as diverse as bustling Panama City, an organic farm and a tropical forest. Read more about the program.
For 10 days in the tropical rainforests of Darién and the urban landscape of Panama City, scientists and academics converged with theologians, sisters, writers and spiritual seekers to explore the places where ecology, spirituality and science intersect in the context of the web of life. Now that I'm back home in Mexico, Panama lingers in my memory.
The Panama Canal, the highlight of our last day, was a study in contradictions after the full immersion in the natural world of Darién. In the context of the Web of Life, I think beyond this place and this moment, where 3,000 people will visit with their cameras and iPhones and take selfies in front of the moving machines. I think of the 30,000 people who died in the creation of this canal. I think of the mountains moved, the thousands of acres of forests flooded and wetlands drained, and the millions of gallons of fresh water being flushed into the sea with the movement of every ship.
The day was one of transition. Two earlier presenters, Hermel López, regional environment ministry representative for Darién, and Osvaldo Jordán of the Alianza para el Desarrollo y Conservación shared reflections about the future for Matusagaratí and its meaning as a microcosm of the larger picture. Participants joined in a thought-provoking reflection , then the group immediately jumped into a series of activities until nearly 10 p.m. in Panama City. Today, Friday, is the last day, and we will go to see the Panama Canal and then have an integration ceremony.
Though we started with a somber presentation, as the day progressed, we moved to celebrate a rich abundance of life in many manifestations. And on our last night in Darién, we were caught up in the cosmic dance.