Springfield Dominican Leadership Expresses Dismay over U.S.
Pull-out of Climate Agreement

Among 1300 Catholic Sisters Nationwide to raise voices against harmful climate policies

The leaders of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield join the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in expressing dismay over the start of the Trump Administration’s formal withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, signed on to by nearly 200 nations in 2015.

Echoing the LCWR message published on Nov. 7, 2019, Sister Rebecca Ann Gemma, OP, the congregation’s prioress general, said “It is dismaying to see the dismantling of a worldwide agreement. It is a grave moral failure on the part of the U.S. Government. Climate change threatens the future of our planet and disproportionately impacts the world’s most vulnerable populations.”

Along with 1300 other members of LCWR, the Springfield Dominican Sisters’ leadership team pledges “to raise our voices against climate policies that harm Earth and its people and to advocate for climate justice.”

Since 2001 the Dominican Sisters have taken four separate corporate stances in favor of the rights of planet Earth.

  • In 2001 the highest governing body in the congregation, General Chapter, issued a statement calling on the sisters to embrace sustainable living.
  • In 2004 the sisters spoke out in favor of a moratorium on the genetic engineering of crops.
  • A 2009 Chapter statement acknowledged the need for deeper study of creation and increasing practice of Earth-friendly living.
  • In 2012 the sisters committed to work for mitigating the effects of Climate Change.

A more in-depth look at the sisters’ statements is available at springfieldop.org/earth-rights.

Learn more about the impact of the U.S. failure to uphold the Paris Agreement and explore further at the National Catholic Reporter's "Burning Questions" site.

The full LCWR statement reads as follows:

The Leadership Conference of Women (LCWR) was deeply disappointed by President Trump’s 2017 pledge to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement and we are profoundly troubled by the decision to formally request US withdrawal from this critically important international agreement. Catholic teaching is clear -- climate change is a grave moral issue that threatens our commitment to: protect human life and dignity, exercise a preferential option for the most vulnerable, promote the common good, and care for God’s creation. The failure of the United States to fulfill its 2015 commitment dishonors our nation and threatens our common home. We will continue to raise our voices against climate policies that harm Earth and its people and to advocate for climate justice.

LCWR is an association of leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States. The conference has nearly 1300 members, who represent more than 38,800 women religious in the United States. Founded in 1956, LCWR assists its members to collaboratively carry out their service of leadership to further the mission of the Gospel in today’s world.

The Dominican Sisters of Springfield are part of a worldwide Dominican family, the Order of Preachers. For more than 800 years, Dominicans have preached the Gospel in word and deed. The Springfield Dominicans were established in Jacksonville, Illinois, in 1873 and relocated to Springfield in 1893. Today, thousands of Dominican sisters, nuns, priests, brothers, associates, and laity minister in more than 100 countries around the world.

One of the Dominican Sisters' principal commitments to Earth justice is Jubilee Farm, 164-acre center for ecology and spirituality located just west of Springfield, Illinois. Jubilee Farm is a peaceful destination, a place of integrity, a home to farm animals and wildlife, an educational resource, a demonstration of living in an ecologically responsible way, an oasis for spirituality, a special gift to those who seek solace and spiritual enrichment in nature. You are welcome to visit.

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