Fiji: Yes to Laudato Si

by | Jul 4, 2015 | News | 2 comments

fiji-collageMany times, a response to Pope Francis’ Laudato Si comes in simple and direct ways. CM novice Marc Tapson of Fiji recounts one such response.

During the month of June Sr Anna Wiwiek DC taught the novices of the Congregation of the Mission and Sisters of Our Lady of Nazareth in Fiji about the importance and value of recycling. During the classes Sr Anna DC addressed the environmental issues and concerns raised by the Supreme Pontiff in his recent encyclical Laudato Si’ (On Care For Our Common Home)Sr Anna DC began by reminding the novices about the importance and meaning of value within the context of the modern, secular, consumerist epoch. People’s attitudes, values and beliefs are becoming more individualistic and are often driven by greed and materialism. Thus, as a means to reduce environmental degradation by curbing materialistic attitudes and unsustainable lifestyles, Sr Anna DC has designed programs which promote alternatives that enable others to reduce their environmental footprint and alleviate material poverty.

He notes Sr. Anna’s focus, selecting this quote from the encyclical:

The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. Here I want to recognise, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share. Particular appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world’s poorest. Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded.

Marc continues with more details about how this all works, and how it can continue to work:

After the introductory talk Sr Anna explained ways in which she is able to contribute to promoting and fostering a sustainable and opportunistic attitude amidst these pressing issues faced today. This was done by collecting rubbish, in particular, used commercial packaging such as 2 minute noodles and washing powder packets and turning them into practical, useable, everyday items such as pencil cases, computer bags, slippers and the like. This project/incentive has been very successful. Some have made a living out of making and selling these recycled goods. Thus, the effect is twofold, firstly non-degradable waste such as plastic packaging is reduced as it is cleaned, cut, folded, and sown into useable items. Secondly, people living in underprivileged or low socio-economic areas are able to support themselves by earning an income through recycling.
The novices were impressed by Sr Anna’s zeal and creativity by developing programs that educate and inspire others to live environmentally sustainable lifestyles. The novices also had an opportunity to talk to Kay, one of Sr Anna’s supporters, who also makes, sells and teaches the art of recycling to others. The incentive is very much part of the Vincentian charism as it empowers the less fortunate to stand up and make a difference. It also opens the door to collaboration between the rich and the poor, a legacy of St Vincent De Paul and St Louise de Marillac. No doubt, the novices will endeavour to develop their recycling skills and continue the work Sr Anna DC has begun in their own ministries and pastoral programs in the years to come.

Thanks, Marc, for this great story of a practical response to Laudato Si. We are grateful to Sr. Anna Wiwiek, DC, and Father Franciscus Armada, C.M., for facilitating the submission of this story.


  1. litia duguvalu

    Thank you Sister Anna DC. You just amazing lady. I know you done a lot of good work in my country. Create healthy food and healthy environment . We are blessed to have you.Your action just wonderful!!

  2. Pat Molia

    I have been moved in this article especially you bring it into realization the great work you are doing and I was not aware of that until I read in this article that we are responding to the Pope Encyclical book of “Laudato Si” . Thank you very much