Garden Project Reflects Care of Earth

Caring for the Earth and its most vulnerable residents aligns with the missions of both the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, with whom our Presentation sisters live in Massachusetts. 

When Presentation Sister Paula Cormier came into her friend Notre Dame Sister Patricia Butler’s room to talk about Nano Nagle’s family motto, “not words, but deeds,” the idea for the garden was born. Paula shares, “A garden means you have to do something physical and real that should bear fruit.”

Patty remembers three things from that afternoon: Nano’s words, Paula saying the garden should be in memory of Sister Dorothy Stang and that the poor should be served by the garden.

The garden is named for Notre Dame Sister Dorothy Stang, who strived daily to ensure that the poor among whom she lived and labored had enough to eat. Sister’s legacy will continue as the purpose of the memorial garden is to provide nourishing food for people in the area who are food deprived.

The garden includes six raised garden beds in which a variety of vegetables will be grown. It sits near a house on the du Lac property that belongs to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and the women who live there will be the official caretakers for the garden. Volunteers helped set up the beds and will return for planting.

The garden speaks to Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ encyclical published in 2015. The encyclical focuses on care for the natural environment and all people, as well as broader questions about the relationship between God, humans and the Earth. “It fits so beautifully,” Paula explains. “We are hoping the garden will bear much fruit, and not just in vegetables but also in the activity of people who realize what a gift it is. It’s all connected.”

The Presentation Sisters have a similar garden project that provides food for those in need in the New Windsor, New York, area.