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Earth Day Celebration at the Wichita Center

 Sister Therese Wetta

Prairie grasslands, milkweed planting, and Earth Day Morning Prayer gave the Wichita Center community multiple ways of observing this important day and implementing some of the suggestions from Laudato Si’.  Sister Maureen Farrar led the morning praise of God and the glory of creation.

The JPIC Committee sponsored Dr. Lorna Harder, Professor Emeritus of Hesston College to share her passion about the preservation of grasslands and the monarch butterflies. On the eve of Earth Day, Dr. Harter, after spending the morning at Dyck Arboretum in Hesston, share her love of the prairie and what she and her husband are doing to help preserve prairie grasses. The slide made her topic come alive as did her commitment to assuring that prairie grasses and monarchs are part of the Midwest future. She explained Pollinator Gardens and gave examples of flowers that we could plant such as asters and goldenrods in addition to milkweed. Lorna also gave us our first plant for the garden. 

Father Tom Welk, Chaplain at the Wichita Center, has been planning a milkweed pollinator garden or months on the ASC west property. He planted over 500 seeds earlier this year to be ready for planting this month. The Garden Club at Newman and some other friends help put the plants in the cultivated space on Saturday, April 25. Sisters Susan Welsby and Barb Smith helped prepare the lunch Father Tom served after the planting. Already on Sunday, April 24, Father Tom saw a monarch flittering among the plants! 

The Earth Day contemplative walk sponsored by Newman included the ASCs welcoming the group to walk the Center property and enjoy the pond. A few ASCs joined the walk. The Sisters also hosted the group for lunch (Newman prepared plant-based box lunches).

 Sisters concluded their celebration of Earth activities and Laudato Si’ actions with the planting of a tree on Arbor Day, April 29. This event is the fulfillment of a desire and request by the Sisters living in Caritas.

Photos by Amy Emerson

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