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Sisters of Earth
Dominican sisters attend conference

By Roselli Tria, OP

Dominican sisters from various congregations were among the 150 attendees of this conference, which was held at the Passionist Retreat Center in Riverdale, New York, from July 8–11. The retreat center is on the grounds of the former Riverdale Center for Religious Research which Thomas Berry established in 1970. The theme of the conference was "The Wisdom of Women, the Wisdom of the Indigenous.” This conference fell on the first anniversary of the death of Thomas Berry.

Donna Coane, a member of the Mohawk tribe, opened the conference by welcoming the attendees to the area. Guest speakers Vandana Shiva, a physicist and world renowned environmentalist, and her sister, Mira Shiva, a physician and health advocate, shared how indigenous peoples and their traditions influenced the nature and direction of their work. They both use the results of their scientific research in their advocacy on behalf of the preservation of bio-diversity and the medical rights of women especially.

The attendees also heard Ely Peredo, wife of Pablo Solon, the Bolivian ambassador to the United Nations, speak on the draft resolution, “Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth.” This was drafted during the World Peoples Summit on Climate Change and Rights of Mother Earth that was held in April in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

The conference allowed attendees to form new alliances. Although our actions are done at the local level, we need to work together to help solve global issues. We cannot afford to be fragmented in dealing with the same issues across the globe.

Sisters of Earth is an informal network of women who share a deep concern for the ecological and spiritual crises of our times and who wish to support one another in work toward healing the human spirit and restoring Earth’s life support systems. We are teachers, gardeners, artists, writers, administrators, workshop and retreat givers, mothers, contemplatives and activists in the United States, Canada and beyond. This network of sharing and support is open to all women whose life and work would identify them as Sisters of Earth. We hold a general meeting every two years in different parts of the country.