What does Care of the Earth mean to me?

As an academic of the Public Health field, much of my student career has centered around Caring for the Earth, and Earth caring for us. When I became part of the Maria College community, it was refreshing to see that caring for the Earth was a critical concern of the Sisters of Mercy not solely because it concerns the survival of the human species, but because caring for the Earth is an act of justice.

I have always been enamored by the Native American philosophy of doing nothing to the Earth that would affect the seventh generation out. Therefore, I was honored to become part of the Mission Animation team – specifically the Mercy and Justice Committee. Animating and raising awareness of the Critical Concerns on campus was and continues to be the perfect opportunity to fulfill a need I had to continue my work on evidence-based practice of Global Environmental Health.

I like to think that even if humans acted philanthropically, and took care of the Earth, the Sisters of Mercy would still have Care of the Earth as a Critical Concern. The more I learned about Mother Catherine McAuley I realized how very influential she was towards Environmental Health at the time. Her progressive thoughts on taking care of the ill who had become infected with cholera due to contaminated water brings to mind how very progressive she thought in terms of Environmental Health. She is now someone I consider a founding influence on modern Environmental Health Studies and Epidemiology along with John Snow. In the spirit of Catherine, we learn to care for the sick, and this week’s Earth celebration, we are inspired to also prevent illness by Caring for Earth, our collective home. Let us celebrate it!

Jillian Mertzlufft MPH
Committee Chair of the Mercy and Justice Committee


  • Comment:

    How we as a society take care of the earth holds an important place to me personally. How we can preserve the longevity of what we come to take advantage of so effortlessly needs to be addressed on a national platform.

    As an outdoor recreationalist, more specifically as a fisherman, I adore the natural world around me. Hearing the wildlife roam, the running ripples of stream water flow, the soft breeze of fresh air that puts an ease to your mind, I suddenly think to myself: what if this was all gone? What if in just a few short years, stream levels drop? And the wildlife starts to disappear? That then becomes a personal issue to me along with many other outdoor enthusiasts.

    Personally, over the past couple of years, I have seemed to develop a more spiritual side that I never knew existed within me. On days where I trek through waist deep water, terrain riddled with poison ivy and mud, and even torrential rainstorms, I always find myself smiling. I’m thankful that I have such a beautiful and ever evolving world around me to keep me on my toes and venturing back for more off the beaten trail adventures. Let’s take care of our earth, because it’s the only one we have.

    Nick Viviano
    Maria College Student

    Submitted by Meagan Masti on

  • Comment:

    To be human is to seek connection, so we define ourselves within the context of human experience, as man or woman, teacher or student, patient or caregiver. However, in the day-to-day, it is easy to lose sight of the greatest of our connections, that we are from the earth and of the earth, and as we have come into being here, so do we rest here when our work is done.

    To me, Care of the Earth at Maria College means being a part of an all-encompassing mission to affect positive change. Students come to Maria College to affect positive change in their lives and to contribute to the helping professions. I believe that we can all be inspired at Maria College to affect positive change in our personal practices, advocate for change, and play an active role in the care of this planet and all creatures, great or small, which live upon it.

    Carla A. Theimer, Ph.D.
    Maria College
    Associate Professor
    Program Director of Health and Occupational Sciences

    Submitted by Meagan Masti on

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