On the third day of Laudato Si’ Week 2021, leaders and educators from around the world shared how they’re using Laudato Si’ in education to inspire the next generation.
Jacqui Remond (LISTEN), from Australia, began by giving her testimony about her vocation to teaching: “My inspiration was Indigenous women and dialogue with the Creator,” she said.
She also reminded all of the participants about how using Laudato Si’ in education is the key for society to be able to reflect a love for creation.
Séverine Deneulin, from the Laudato Si’ Research Institute at Campion Hall, University of Oxford, UK, shared how the institute is incorporating the different aspects of Laudato Si’.
“Whatever we do is also rooted in the spirit of contemplation, of wonder at the world, of paying attention to what is happening around us,” she said.
The professor shared a preview of a documentary on Brazilian Indigenous Peoples and challenged all of the participants and thousands of online observers: “How can we as educators respond to that cry of the poor and cry of the Earth?”
Adrián Beling, from the University Network for the Care of the Common Home, said that education and inspiration are a part of what Pope Francis asks us to do and feel in Laudato Si’. But we must go past that in order to truly bring the encyclical to life.
“The level of inspiration is a great place to start but is a terrible place to finish,” he said. “We need to address our unsustainable social, economic and cultural structures from this ecological perspective.”
Margaret Pfeil, associate professor at the University of Notre Dame (USA), shared how Notre Dame is incorporating Laudato Si’ into its curricula, not only in courses related to ecology but also in other subjects.
The Catholic university is taking a holistic approach to the climate crisis and has already achieved its 2030 goal of reducing carbon emissions by 50 percent. In line with the theme of Laudato Si’ Week, “for we know things can change” (LS 13), she said, “There’s much more that could be done.”
Finally, Alberto López Rosado, representing the Francisco de Vitoria University in Madrid, Spain, inspired observers with the tangible steps the university has taken to strengthen Laudato Si’s presence throughout the institution.
The university surveyed professors on their knowledge of Laudato Si’ and has training seminars in the works to improve internal knowledge of the encyclical.
UFV is also working on launching new Laudato Si’ programs for students and is attempting to change the institution’s internal culture so that it better reflects Laudato Si’. “The contents of Laudato Si’ are being taught informally but we want to have a more structured scope,” he said.
Before concluding, a video was shared by Diego Solano, from Renova+, who acknowledged that, “Humanity needs to change and Catholic institutions must assume that role to bet on another way of life.”
The dialogue was moderated by Amy Echeverria of the Columban Missionaries.
Watch the entire Laudato Si’ Dialogue here: