Witness & Grace Conversations: A Special Program by Global Sisters Report & EarthBeat

How Catholic Sisters are Helping to Save the Earth -- and You Can Too

Presented by Sr. Sheila Kinsey and Sr. Melinda Roper

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Watch the session recording.

Catholic Sisters have long been involved in efforts to protect the environment, address climate change and care for creation. Sr. Sheila Kinsey shared a global view from her vantage point in Rome on how sisters around the world are effecting positive change. Sr. Melinda Roper shared the grassroots efforts of her teamwork with local communities in the particularly sensitive eco-environment of Darién, Panama. This special hour-long conversation was moderated by EarthBeat Editor Barbara Fraser and GSR Editor Gail DeGeorge, and these sisters brought insights and information on the some of the pressing needs of our planet, how sisters are making a difference – and you can too. 

Opening Prayer

Reflection on “A Prayer for our Earth” found in Laudato Si’
Sheila Kinsey, FCJM

All-powerful God,
Who shows yourself in mercy and loving compassion.
You are present in the whole universe
Prompting us to wonder at the grandeur of your glorious plan.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists,
Calling us to participate and extend our gentle and nurturing presence. 
Fill us with peace, that we may live,
In nonviolence, harmony and well-being,
As brothers and sisters, harming no one
 in our common home.
O God of the poor,
We meet you in those who are suffering deprivation of basic human needs—food, water, health, access to COVID vaccines, work and the destruction of our planet.
Help us to rescue the abandoned
In welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating them into a receptive community.
They are so precious in your eyes
That we ask to see with your loving gaze.
Bring healing to our lives,
So that we can bring that life-giving presence to others.
That we may protect the world and not prey on it,
By respecting the human rights and the rights of nature. 
That we may sow beauty,
As sowers of hope for the Planet. 
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
Because everything reflects something of your being
To be filled with awe and contemplation,
So that we can be one in the deep presence of who you are
To recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature
Because everything is interconnected.
We thank you for being with us each day
Guiding and protecting, encouraging and loving us on this journey.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
To not lose hope and to know that you are with us,
 for justice, love and peace
As we strive to be your grace-filled presence wherever we are. 



Sr. Sheila Kinsey, a member of the Wheaton Community of the Franciscan Sisters, Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, has served as the executive co-secretary for the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Commission of the Union of Superior Generals (USG) and International Union of Superior Generals (UISG) since 2015. She is coordinator of the UISG campaign, “Sowing Hope for the Planet,” which promotes the integration of Laudato Si’ by religious congregations. She serves on the steering committees of the Global Catholic Climate Movement and the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative, is a member of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and the COVID-19 Commission’s Integral Ecology Task Force, and serves on the steering committee for the Laudato Si’ Roll Out Plan. She helped organize the participation of JPIC Promoters during the Synod for the Amazon in October 2019 and has worked extensively on mining issues since 2013. She is also actively involved in issues related to poverty, human rights, refugees and migrants, anti-trafficking, peacebuilding, environment, nonviolence and sexual abuse.

Sr. Melinda Roper was born and raised in the Great Lakes region of North America and became a Maryknoll sister in 1957. After serving 14 years in Mexico and Central America, she served as president of the congregation from 1978 to 1984. In 1985 she began living in the tropical rainforest of Darién, Panama. Along with other Maryknoll sisters, she formed a team with the Claretian priests and laity in the area. They were all learning how to live in the agricultural frontier of one of the most bio diverse areas of the Americas, which influenced what and how they taught and celebrated faith. These years of experience led to the formation of eco spirituality retreats, the Web of Life, for the people of Darien as well as for international participants. From the experience of the pandemic, she along with the entire community of life in Darién, anticipate the emergence of a new web of living – a new web of life. 

See all of our past and upcoming Witness & Grace Conversations.