A grove of six trees was planted on Nazareth Motherhouse Campus near Bardstown, Ky., on Nov. 1, representing the six countries in which the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth now minister – the United States, India, Belize, Nepal, Botswana, and Kenya. The grove is part of the 200 trees that will be planted on the campus starting this year to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Sisters being at Nazareth.
“We are sitting or standing on this holy ground where 200 years ago Mother Catherine, our foundress, and our early Sisters arrived from St. Thomas,” said Congregation President Sangeeta Ayithamattam as she welcomed Sisters and guests to the planting ceremony in front of the Annunciation Shrine. “We pray the sacredness of Nazareth continues to inspire and bear witness for another 200 years of the SCN charism and mission.”
The six trees planted on Tuesday are a variety of Kentucky species of black locust, swamp white oak, river birch, juneberry, cherry bark oak, and chokecherry. Six Sisters were invited to help plant the trees during the ceremony. Historian Frances Krumpelman, SCN, helped plant the United States tree. Western Province Provincial Barbara Flores, SCN, who is from Belize, planted that tree. Pat Huitt, SCN, helped plant the Botswana tree, having served in the Botswana mission for several years. Joyce Kernen, whose sister served in Nepal, helped plant that tree, and Congregation Vice President Jackulin Jesu, SCN, planted the Kenya tree as liaison to the Kenya mission. Margaret Rodericks, SCN, who is from India, helped to plant the tree for that country.
As each Sister took her station, shovel in hand, the group raised their hands in a blessing and prayer led by Vice President Adeline Feribach, SCN.
“We asked that your sun, rain, and season and our own loving efforts help these trees to be healthy and hardy so that they will remind us of our commitment to conversion, community, and mission on this land and in all the lands we are now or may be in the future,” Sister Adeline said. “We ask that you bless these trees and may they be for us a reminder of your love for life and our love for life and our commitment to life on this planet.”
Also in attendance at Tuesday’s ceremony were representatives from the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves, who honored Nazareth as a member of the Kentucky Registry of Natural Areas.
“Kentucky Nature Preserves recognized the value and the quality of habitat that we have here at Nazareth,” said Carolyn Cromer, director of ecological sustainability at Nazareth, who has led many efforts on the campus to preserve and grow natural habitats.
Natural Areas Branch Manager Josh Lillpop praised the Sisters for caring for the campus.
“I know the ecological and natural areas part of it is not the only reason you have maintained it for 200 years, but it is a very important part that helps add to the state’s conservation value and protection of biodiversity in the state,” he said.
The Natural Areas Agreement Certificate, signed by Sister Sangeeta and Sunni Carr-Leach, executive director of the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves, formally recognizes Nazareth’s significance and beauty in this aspect.
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