"We are in the season when everything should help us raise our hearts to God and provide us with topics of reflection. First: the plants, the trees, everything is reborn, and should we alone be unchanged! Let us be reborn in Jesus Christ." (Letter 3.3) Adele de Batz de Trenquelleon, Marianist Founder

Dear Friends in our Marianist Environmental Education Center Community - 

We are in Springtime, nature’s season of great change.  It is an inspiring season that invites us to make personal changes so that we live more sustainably and in greater harmony with our earth and one another.  In his environmental encyclical, Laudato si', Pope Francis calls us to ecological conversion so that we can better respond to the cry of the earth and the poor. In the Christian church calendar, springtime is the season of Lent, which invites us to change and a closer walk with the essentials of our faith. It also invites us to a realization of the self-sacrificing journey of love that Jesus made through the incarnation and becoming one with our human experience.  

As part of MEEC’s contribution throughout our North American Marianist Family of communities and institutions in the Marianist Encounters Project, we are promoting education, prayer and reflection events with the Integral Ecology Team of the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative.

Our most recent virtual event focused on Entering into Ecological Conversion and featured Bro. Mitch Schweickart, SM and Marge Cavanaugh reflecting on their own experiences of making changes. They reminded us that this conversion happens in the heart, and requires behavioral changes that we each can make. They noted that we can’t change others directly, yet our actions can be a model that opens the door and invites others into experiences and changes that will be better for humanity and all life on our planet. They spoke of the gift of gardening as an encounter with the earth, and of eating more fresh and local produce and plant-based meals as acts of compassion. Other participants reflected that changes are made one step at a time, and that focusing on one goal a month can be helpful. Once started, transformation is ongoing. They commented on the importance of being part of environmental groups, engaging in actions and advocacy for policy changes. We recognized Pope Francis’ wisdom that we each don’t have to do everything, but all of us can do something! 

We have a couple of suggestions for discerning your own changes. First, our Spring Inspiration retreat will feature Sr. Christine Pratt, OSU, who brings years of experience working on food and justice issues in Ohio’s rural communities. Also, we recommend this guide from the Vatican and the Stockholm Environmental Institute, Our Common Home: A guide to caring for our living planet.

The ecological habitat restoration central to our mission similarly nurtures new life - more biodiversity and the thriving of our local ecosystems. Thank you for the steps you are each taking! In gratitude, I share this prayer written by one of our integral ecology team members, Tony Garascia, that focuses on the symbol of a tree as core to our spiritual journey - from tree of knowledge, to the cross and tree of life. The context of the prayer connects with the land that MEEC cares for, Mount St. John. This name highlights a key Gospel moment (John 19: 25-27) where the beloved disciple John and Mary, the mother of Jesus, companion Jesus at the foot of the cross. Jesus invites them into deeper encounter with one another. This bestowing of the gift of family and community are core treasures to our Marianist way.  


Lenten Prayer for Creation - Tony Garascia 

Creator God, in this season of Lent 

We walk with Jesus on his way. 

The tree of knowledge of good and evil 

gave birth to the tree of the Cross.


We walk with Mary and the Earth on the Way of the cross, with Jesus.

We desire to stand with Mary and the Earth, at the foot of the Cross

We proclaim with Mary that Jesus is Son Of God and Son of Earth.


When Jesus was born the earth sheltered Him, Mary and Joseph.

In his passion when Jesus fell, the earth supported him

On the cross, the earth held him in her embrace.

When he died the earth welcomed him to her bosom.


The earth cries out for the transformation of the cross.

Through the suffering of Jesus we pray that the cross

Is transformed into the tree of life,

Giving birth, with Mary, to the fullness of the New Creation. 


The earth cries out for the transformation of the cross.

Through the suffering of Jesus we pray that the cross

Is transformed into the tree of life,

Giving birth, with Mary, to the fullness of the New Creation  


Know of the prayers of our MEEC team with all of you in this sacred season of Triduum and Easter. May the Divine Spirit guide our work together on this beautiful yet suffering earth. May the Spirit nurture growth and transformation in each of us, throughout Mount St. John and in all the places we hold sacred. May our work of restoration in this upcoming growing season create places to encounter God, places of vibrant life of plants and creatures that are gifts to all we are interconnected with!  

Sr. Leanne Jablonski FMI 
for the MEEC team 


Image: Detail of “Mary at the Cross” by Edward B. Ostendorf, 1987. From the Marian Library Art and Artifacts Collection