Detroit Stories Episode 69: 'Stewards of God's Creation' (PODCAST)

Local Catholics are taking Pope Francis' climate concerns to heart, becoming a force for ecological change in their communities

(0:02) Jane Linehan, director of religious studies and philosophy at Madonna University in Livonia, talks about the Franciscan values of sustainability and how the Franciscan university lives out those values, guided by Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, Laudate Deum and its predecessor, Laudato Si’.

(3:56) Danielle Conroyd, director of sustainable campus planning for the Monroe-based Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, talks about the IHM Sisters’ history in Monroe and how, when needs began to change in 2009, the sisters made the decision to transform their 376,000-square-foot motherhouse in an ecologically friendly way.

(10:05) Conroyd discusses the groundbreaking choice to collect graywater on the sisters’ campus, recycling water from sinks and showers and reducing freshwater consumption on campus by nearly 50%.

(12:50) Jane Hammang-Buhl, a member of the “Green Team” at Gesu Parish on Detroit’s northwest side, talks about how Laudato Si’ inspired the parish to take action in 2016. She discusses various project the parish undertook to limit its environmental impact, including the installation of gardens and collecting rainwater to reduce runoff.

(17:40) Hammang-Buhl discusses Gesu’s solar panels, installed on the roof of the school, which produce enough energy to cover 26% of Gesu’s energy needs during the school year and 54% over the summer, as well as other sustainability practices the school implemented.

(20:09) Gesu Parish is currently pursuing a relationship with a parish in Puerto Rico that is seeking to support and shelter Haitian immigrants fleeing hurricane disasters. Hammang-Buhl says its one way the parish connect Pope Francis’ message of environmental justice with the human needs of those affected by climate change.

Reporting by Daniel Meloy; narration by Fr. Craig Giera; script by Casey McCorry; production by Ron Pangborn

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