Sacred Water: Precious Gift & Critical Concern. Who could say “no” to a day of reflection with such a compelling title? Certainly not members of the Eco Zeal for Mission Core Team in St. Louis. Sisters Elizabeth Garciano, Sharon O’Grady and Silvia Romero attended the workshop on February 17, 2018, at the Mercy Conference and Retreat Center in St. Louis.
Event organizers based the gathering on Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical Laudato Si. They focused the day of reflection on the sacredness of water, the water crisis, and our call to respond.
Carolyn McWatters, RSM, has a Master of Divinity degree from Aquinas Institute of Theology. She led the day of reflection, which began and ended with prayer and ritual. The event included presentations by people who are doing on-the-ground water projects in developing countries and in our local St. Louis community. Small table discussions netted pearls of wisdom and nuggets of insightful observations.
For example, who knew that a single tiny drop of water per second from a faucet can add up to 165 gallons of water a month; that’s more than one person uses in two weeks. If a single drop can add up like that, can you imagine how much water we waste by leaving the faucet wide open while washing dishes, rinsing vegetables and brushing our teeth? One of the participants at my table said that she believes water serves as the earth’s circulatory system. That’s insightful food for thought.
Sister Sharon O’Grady said, “The theological reflections expanded and renewed my sense of the beauty and goodness of water. Water so reflects the action of God in its beauty, its many faces and fluidity–all expressive of a nature that is ever giving. And these qualities are brought to fuller realization when water is taken up into the sacramental life of the Church.
“Water reminds us that we, all of creation, are a world community and all are one. We are interdependent. All species come to be through water. This is the foundation of our global concern. When looking at water in this way I cannot help but feel selfish in my use of water. I feel complicit when I see those who have so little and I have had so much. I am just learning. I did not know,” Sr. Sharon said.
Sr. Silvia Romero said she learned from and enjoyed the experience. “My meeting with Sister Water was a discovery of the value that we have between our hands every day. We must respect water and take care of her because she represents life itself.
“To learn the language of sacred water — her sounds and colors, her strength — is to learn about the wonders of God. This is why I want to revere and contemplate water,” she said.
Sr. Elizabeth Garciano said, “A day of reflection on water moves my life to a deeper meaning of my relationship and connection with it. It’s my faith that understands the Divinity of Water – life giver, sacred and precious, freely given and freely received.
“God created sacred water in abundance for our basic needs of life, not as a private possession restricted by law, not divided by boundaries, but for common use for all. Because God loves equality for all,” Sr. Elizabeth said.
You can see Sr. Elizabeth delight in water on the Good Shepherd Province of Mid-North America Facebook page at http://bit.ly/2opoYvR