Loretto Earth Network: 30 years young and alive for Earth
By Nancy Wittwer SL
The dream of Earth in harmony with that of its Creator will be fulfilled as we are transformed and participate in the healing and transformation of the total Earth community.From the Loretto Earth Network vision statement
While teaching math and computers at Nerinx Hall I found myself increasingly drawn to Earth and spent time sitting among the trees and flowers at the botanical garden in St. Louis. My life took a major turn when I attended a talk by David Brower, founder of Friends of Earth. After a stunning presentation, he asked, “How many of you are willing to give one year of your life to work for Earth?” I enthusiastically waved my hand and accepted the challenge not knowing where it might lead.
In December 1990, Loretto President Maureen McCormack SL created a staff position with a focus on Earth. At the end of the school year I resigned my position at Nerinx Hall to begin the new position in June 1991 — this was the birth of the Loretto Earth Network (LEN). Maureen encouraged and supported our efforts and later became a LEN coordinator.
Our first major event was a retreat in the beautiful mountains of Colorado led by Loretto Co-members Dan and Jen Wessler, as well as Paula Gonzales SC, who continued as our model and mentor. Retreats in the mountains near Denver and at the ocean in Santa Cruz, Calif., continued to be a source for deepening our appreciation and love of Earth.
Very active committees were formed, and members of LEN creatively addressed the cry of Earth. We held numerous conferences and retreats for Community members, many of whom contributed articles to Loretto Earth Network News, published quarterly from 1993 to 2020. When Mary Ann Coyle SL completed her term as president of the Community, I encouraged her to join the coordinating team of LEN. She agreed, and became the editor of LEN News; she greatly enriched the publication and the work of the network. Representatives of LEN participated in two major World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) Conferences, one in Rio de Janeiro and another in Johannesburg.