A Journey of Faith and Stewardship
In the heart of Botswana, the Laudato Si committee of Women Religious, including the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, have embarked on a sacred mission, echoing the profound message of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si. Our endeavor is not just a task; it’s a calling to nurture and protect our common home. Over the past weeks, we’ve been sharing this divine message across various parishes in the Gaborone Diocese, emphasizing the critical role of tree planting in environmental stewardship.
Our committee has initiated a significant “tree plantation project,” acquiring numerous fruit and shade trees for distribution among the parishes. Our recent engagements involved enlightening parishioners in four parishes about the importance of this initiative, aligning with the teachings of Pope Francis on environmental care.
On November 19, two teams of Sisters, including Mary Michael, Ann Muthukattil, Philo Kottoor, Nalini Meachariyil, Bibiana Kindo, Stella Kaiprampatt, and three Sisters of Calvary – Bernadette, Prisca, and Pulanie – embarked on a journey to Morwa and Kgomokasitwa. The warmth and receptiveness of the parishioners there were heartening. They keenly absorbed the knowledge about climate change and the benefits of tree planting, responding with commendable enthusiasm.
December 10, 2023, marked another milestone as we ventured into the parishes of Kopong and Hukuntsi, nestled in the vast Kalahari Desert. The support from priests and parishioners was unwavering everywhere we went.
Our journey to Hukuntsi was particularly memorable. Sisters Ann Muthukattil, Stella Kaiprampatt, and Sister Pulani C.P of the Passionist Sisters traveled nearly 400 miles from Kanye to this remote desert location. The journey was long, but the welcome by Fr. Martin Magibisela and the parishioners was a balm to our weary spirits. Our message of Laudato Si was shared in both English and Setswana, resonating deeply with the congregation. Fr. Martin eloquently drew parallels between Christian faith and the growth of trees, emphasizing our collective responsibility to care for our planet.
The distribution of fruit and shade trees to families and their planting in the church compound was met with heartfelt gratitude. The scarcity of water in this arid region poses a challenge, yet on that day, a timely rain shower seemed like a divine blessing, facilitating our tree-planting efforts.
Our visit to one of the six pre-schools in the settlements of the Bush people was an eye-opener to the simplicity and challenges of life in the desert. Despite the hardships, the spirit of these communities is unbroken.
As we concluded our visit, Fr. Martin’s prayers for our safe return and blessings on our mission filled us with renewed vigor. The journey, though exhausting, was a testament to our commitment to this noble cause.
In the words of a hymn that resonates with our mission, “Let earth sing its praise… And all the trees and flowers shout Praise to His name.”
In this journey, we are reminded of the profound connection between faith, stewardship, and the sanctity of our environment. It’s a mission that transcends boundaries, uniting us in our care for the Earth, our common home.
Sister Stella Kaiprampatt