Celebrating Earth Day

Above: Employees Lindsey Gapinski and Megan Lucas smile as they haul branches out of the woods near the lake at Mount Loretto.

On April 22, Dubuque Presentation Sisters, associates and staff gathered to join in a day filled with purpose, camaraderie and meaningful environmental action. Eager volunteers showed up ready to roll up their sleeves and make a difference. From gardening gloves to sturdy footwear, volunteers came prepared, ensuring both safety and efficiency in their endeavors.

Split into two shifts, the morning and afternoon sessions each offered unique opportunities to engage with nature and contribute to conservation efforts. For those who joined the early shift, the morning was spent immersed in various projects aimed at enhancing the natural beauty of the Mount Loretto grounds. From trimming trees to planting seedlings, picking up branches to clearing paths, every task was undertaken with enthusiasm and dedication.

Presentation associates and employees, Radie Roberts, Carol Wyatt, Judy Zahren-Kalb, John Richman and Karen Freiburger, haul cut branches and rake up leaves, small twigs and pine needles.

Volunteers arriving for the afternoon shift were greeted with a warm welcome and a shared meal before tackling similar projects. Mother Nature smiled upon the day, granting participants clear skies and gentle breezes to accompany their efforts.

One participant remarks, “There’s an undeniable joy that comes from working together for a common cause, especially when that cause involves caring for Earth. It was fulfilling to experience the power of community and the tangible impact we can make when we unite in carrying out the Presentation commitment of caring for creation.

”This experience reaffirmed my belief in the power of collective action to effect positive change. Together, we can build a more sustainable future,“ shares another participant.

As the day drew to a close, volunteers gathered to reflect on their accomplishments of a job well done and the joy of the shared experience. They departed carrying forward the spirit of Earth Day in the words of Pope Francis:

All-loving God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.

You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.

Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.

Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers
and sisters, harming no one.

O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.

Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.

Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth.

Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light.

We thank you for being with us each day. Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace.

Earth Day volunteers began their day with prayer and an explanation of efforts to make the Mount Loretto grounds friendlier to pollinators. Front row: Sister Janet Stelken, Lindsey Gapinski, Karen Freiburger, Carrie Breitbach and Sister Beth Driscoll. Back row: Beth O’Connell, Radie Roberts, Jean Lange, Jeff Lange, Sister Rita Waters, Sister Marge Healy, Dianne McDermott, Sister Rita Cameron and Randy Engler.