Care of Earth – Going Barefoot at Loretto
Remember times of going barefoot? “It is a profound act of intimacy and freedom,” says spiritual writer Jean Blomquist. She goes on to explain, “Only when our feet are bare can we wiggle our toes freely in the fertile soil of life and root ourselves firmly in holy ground.” (“Barefoot Basics: Yearning and Learning to Stand on Holy Ground,” Weavings, September 1992. A Guide to Prayer. Nashville, Tenn.).
“Holy Ground” is the place of life-giving rootedness in something larger than ourselves. Holy ground is the place where we stand with a genuine concern for a hurting world. As Loretto Sister Elaine Prevallet wrote, “God is present and actively shaping creation everywhere around us, in our midst, with us.” It is our call to see and respond.
The Loretto Land Ethic affirms that “those responsible for land at any particular time should regard it as a sacred trust, received with gratitude, tended with care for its integrity and long-term sustainability.” In keeping with the Loretto Land Ethic, the Loretto Motherhouse Farm strives to promote sustainability and care for Earth in every aspect of the farm’s work.
Loretto Motherhouse Farm is situated within the 789-acre Loretto Motherhouse property in Nerinx, Ky. Its operations are guided by Loretto’s desire to live in responsible relationship with the land and with all life. Among the many conservation practices now entwined into its daily operations are intensive cover cropping, planting crops without tilling the soil and intensive, rotational grazing. As another strong commitment to conservation, 75 acres of land on the Loretto Motherhouse Farm are enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program planted in hardwood trees, pollinator habitat and native grasses. The 300 acres of woods also are managed as part of the Forest Stand Improvement Program.
Loretto and other Catholic women religious congregations are taking part this year in monthly conversations focused on the intersection of racism, migration and climate crisis in the series “Exploring Intersections.” Join us for the second episode of the series on April 14, at 3 p.m. CDT. Panelists will explore how climate change is interconnected with other social issues like racism and migration.You can watch it live on Zoom or on YouTube, continue the conversation on Facebook, or catch the episode anytime on YouTube or your favorite podcast app. Register and find out more at www.exploringintersections.org. Free and open to all.
Going barefoot at Loretto? Of course, you can. And you will walk everywhere and see everything that God created: the wonder of trees and forests and lakes and cows and dogs and wonderful, wonderful people who love the land and walk barefoot upon it. It is holy ground. You will be welcome there … shoes or not.