In response to Pope Francis' call to integral ecology in the encyclical Laudato Si, the Society of Mary (Brothers and Priests) installed solar panels that will offset the annual energy demand of all the ministries at Mount Saint John. The panels began producing power on June 9 and were blessed by Fr. Oscar Vasquz, SM, provincial, on June 21.
At the blessing, MSJ Facilities Director Jeff Bohrer said, "This array expresses the Marianist commitment to reducing climate changing gases, and it also speaks to another aspect of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si encyclical—that all is interconnected. We are assembled here on the front field of Mount Saint John, which is teeming with flora and fauna. And it is here we see that technology and the environment are integrated—for example, native prairie grasses have been planted to fill in the array, fencing has been set up off the ground so that small animals can pass through, and the panel racking naturally provides habitat for nesting birds—you should see all the nests under the panels!"
MEEC Director Sr. Leanne Jablonski, FMI, said, "I imagine Bro. Don Geiger’s face is beaming! He envisioned this “front40” section as a model of outdoor education and of faith in action. The panels express that dream and complement MEEC’s native plant nurseries and the vegetable gardens that grows fresh produce for Mission of Mary."