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Roots, Land and Sky

Posted on April 13, 2021, by Libby Comeaux CoL

Loretto Community has deepened, expanded and sought to rise in our exploration of our interwoven destiny with the rest of Earth, and our understanding of what it means to be Friends of Mary at the Foot of the Cross. On Earth Day, April 22, you might want to reflect on your own experience of Roots, Land and Sky.

Sprouts coming up from the soil.


An early seed sprouted in the deep soil of faith. One focus was maturing worldviews and deepening spiritual practice. Thomas Berry, CP, urged us to reach back into the 13.8-billion-year story of the universe and respect the wisdom of women and Indigenous wisdom, foundational to and beyond the Western philosophical tradition. Miriam Therese MacGillis, OP, brought teachable moments in the ever-emerging, never-retreating cosmos, palpable under our feet. We participated in Sisters of Earth and such groups as Deep Time Network.

For over 25 years, we have strengthened our practical roots. In the nitty gritty of daily practice, we learned what non-toxic household cleaning supplies we could make at home. We reduced our personal water use and our reliance on fossil fuels and plastics. We directed recyclable and compostable items from the landfill). The Count Us In Project offers a fun review.


As time passed, we pushed up from our roots and looked around at the land. We educated ourselves on policy issues that would help save the planet. We became aware of the beyond-human organisms with whom we share the living soil, on whose vitality our lives depend. Some of us gardened, with more intention. Some of us advocated for rights of nature. The history of the land to which our ancestors brought their hopes and dreams came into focus. What is our responsibility toward those exploited in waves of ill-informed pain and ambition we unintentionally inherit? How can we possibly soften the harsh consequences to Earth and other species including humans, whose histories are enfolded in the land? For review, search Doctrine of Discovery, Regeneration International, and “The Case for Reparations” (Ta-Nahisi Coates 2014).


We have learned that climate dynamics are broader than burning fossil fuels. Biodiversity for a livable climate (bio4climate.org) reveals how Earth has a fever because her health has been compromised. Reactivating the diversity on which Earth’s vitality depends, while keeping fossilized carbon sequestration where Mother Earth put it below ground, allows Earth once again to regulate her own temperature. Awareness of the complex dynamics of our home planet motivates us to reach toward living systemic change. We are tasked to spread our branches skyward, sheltering everyone within range. We can learn from forests to draw from our relationships through the living soil, pull moisture up through our trunks and pump it into the sky, seeking ever to participate in the great cycles of life created — not just for us — all so long ago. Study includes Movement Generation’s “Course Correction,” Denver Permaculture Guild’s “Social Permaculture” and “Decolonial Futures” curricula.

Permaculture Principles

  1. Observe and Interact.
  2. Catch and Store Energy.
  3. Obtain a Yield.
  4. Apply Self-Regulation and Feedback.
  5. Use and Value Renewable Resources.
  6. Produce No Waste.
  7. Design from Patterns to Details.
  8. Integrate Don’t Segregate.
  9. Use Small and Slow Solutions.
  10. Use and Value Diversity.
  11. Use Edges and Value the Marginal.
  12. Creatively Use and Respond to Change
Colorful plant-like graphic with the text "Denver Permaculture Guild"
Denver Permaculture Guild logo

Editor’s note: More information on the topics referenced in the article can be found in an online search.


Libby Comeaux CoL

Libby became a Loretto Co-member 20 years ago and has been walking the Labyrinth ever since. Recently she became editor of Loretto Earth Network News. She wonders what a participatory Earth democracy will feel like. It's okay to dream.
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