Sister of Charity – Patron saint of scavenging

by | Nov 12, 2015 | News, Sisters of Charity

A recent article by Sharon Abercrombie in the NCR describes Sr. Paula Gonzalez, Sister of Charity of Cincinnati,  as a possible Patron saint of scavenging.

The article begins…

For Sr. Paula Gonzalez, SC 78, recycling is a spiritual practice. She views yard and garage sales as the compost bins for all of the stuff produced by industrial society — sofas, toasters, old TVs and end tables which all too often end up in landfills.This retired biology professor just might be the patron saint of scavenging. After all, how many other people raise $6,000 every August from an annual garage sale, staffed by a host of volunteers? How many other environmentalists have racked up over 2800 workshops and speaking engagements on ways to create sustainable restoration practices to counter the destructive effects of our global, profit-driven. materialistic economy?

Sr. Paula has been heavily into her spiritual practice for over 25 years, ever since she decided to turn part of an old chicken barn on the Sisters of Charity motherhouse property in Cincinnati into an earth-friendly passive solar house for herself and another sister. Every Saturday for three years from 1982 to 1985, she and a large group of mostly rookie building volunteers assembled to renovate the old structure using recycled materials. Sr. Paula financed the project for Casa del Sol, “House of the Sun” through garage sales.Ten years later, she opened the doors of EarthConnection, a 21st century solar-heated, energy efficient building that has become the headquarters for programs, tours and internships devoted to teaching Christian, interfaith and educational communities how to restore the balance within Earth’s ecosystems. It brings in morals and spirituality as the linchpins to touch hearts in addition to engaging brains. She was able to finance the building through – you guessed it – those sales of hers.

Sr. Paula Gonzalez entered the Sisters of Charity in 1954. She taught high school for five years before completing her masters and doctorate in biology at the Catholic University in Washington DC. She taught full time at Mt. St. Joseph in Cincinnati from 1965-1975 before becoming involved in the environmental movement.

Read the full story.

NCR’s Eco Catholic BlogEco Catholic is an exploration of the green Catholic imagination and ecological spirituality. Contributors include Rich Heffern, NCR staff writer, columnist and author, and Sharon Abercrombie, a journalist who has covered the environment, spirituality, women’s issues, animal rights and social justice for many newspapers.

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