Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield

Earth Ministries

The SEED (Sharing in Earth’s Ecological Design) Committee is a group of Sisters of St. Joseph, Agrégées and Associates who are connecting our mission, “that all may be one” and ecology.

Using a process of reading, reflection, discussion, prayer and action, SEED cares for Earth by addressing issues including water, recycling, climate change/carbon footprint and conservation.

Challenged by the principles of the Earth Charter and our Chapter Commitment, we consciously choose to relate to one another and all of God’s creation as we seek Earth’s healing.

SEED members provide speakers and educational programs on ecological issues.


For more information contact:
Sr. Ann Lynch, Ecology Coordinator
Tel: (413) 536-0853 ext. 293


How We Carry Out Our Mission

Climate Change is a key factor in the increased hunger in the world and a justice issue as is the life and death of billions of poor people around the world, eco-systems and species, and Earth itself. In 2010 the Sisters of St. Joseph made a public statement to educate ourselves individually and corporately in the issue of Climate Change and its effect on Earth especially on people who are poor… ecosystems and species and Earth itself.

Carbon Footprint: Carbon Dioxide levels are much higher today than at any other time in the last 800,000 years (Pew Center) Measurable steps to reduce our carbon footprint include calculating our carbon footprint, using CFL light bulbs, unplugging appliances when not in use, car pooling and careful use of green space.

Fracking: Extracting fuel from shale formations requires pumping thousands of gallons of water, sand and chemicals into the ground to break apart rock and free the gas. The environmental consequences of this process are overwhelming. The protection of our planet’s water speaks to a moral mandate and a matter of both environmental and social justice (Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.) For more information view the 2008 film Gasland which is available in the SEED Office.

Water: Adaptation to climate change is mainly about water management (ICCR). The privatization of water affects women and children world-wide. Actions taken include reducing our use of plastic bottles, presenting workshops on Thinking Outside the Bottle (Corporate Accountability International) and engaging in Change for Global Change which sponsors water projects in developing countries throughout the world.

Recyling: At Mont Marie paper, cardboard, batteries, ink jets, and cell phones are recycled along with other things.

Tannery Brook is a heavily urbanized waterway to the Connecticut River that runs between Mont Marie and the Holyoke Mall. The brook suffers from severe erosion due to high volumes of urban runoff. In 2004 the Sisters of St. Joseph and other abutters took part in a study which resulted in recommendations for storm water control, bioengineering and bank stabilization of the area. For the past two years students from Holyoke Community College’s fall semester’s geosciences class have studied the past, present and future of Tannery Brook. As community partners the Sisters of St. Joseph have attended the class as speakers and visitors for the students’ presentations.

Sustainable Agriculture: The majority of food that Americans eat comes not directly from farmers but from supermarkets, restaurants or warehouse superstores. Only a small fraction of the food we eat is grown in our region, yet the Pioneer Valley has a rich agricultural community. Through memberships in working groups such as Pioneer Valley Grows, foodWorks (Providence Ministries in Holyoke) the Sisters of St. Joseph work to bring awareness of available, affordable, nutritional food to the Holyoke area which is designated as a food desert.



America Recycles Day (November 15) and Earth Day (April 20) raise awareness on reducing, recycling and reusing in our daily lives.

Solstice Celebrations: Since ancient times, all cultures have celebrated the solstice. At these junctures, we experience the major shift that occurs between the sun and Earth. Solstice celebrations at Mont Marie take place around the summer and winter solstices. All are invited.

Labyrinth walks: This single, circular path is located in the cemetery across from the main building at Mont Marie. Symbolizing life’s journey, the labyrinth offers a creative experience, an inner journey to well being, a walking prayer. Unlike a maze the labyrinth is one path. The way in is the way out. For an in-ground experience at Mont Marie or a portable labyrinth experience at your facility contact Lorry Villemaire, ssj 32 Lower Westfield Road, Holyoke, MA 01040.

Eco-Spirituality Book Club: Guided by our Chapter Commitments to care for Earth, participants gather to pray and reflect on readings that educate, challenge and inspire.



Films, books, and material for research are available in the office. Personnel are also available for workshops relating to ecological issues.

The Global Catholic Climate Movement