The "Blue Hole"

The "Blue Hole"

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Become "Healing Hands" at Work in the World of Nature

We actively recruit volunteers to help us with our work at the Headwaters.  Why might we do this?

We recruit and involve people from the community at the Headwaters because we want to heal this piece of the Earth entrusted to our care, and that takes many hands.  

We work to remove trash and other unwanted debris.  We work to eradicate invasive species in order to "liberate" our native biodiversity.  We work to restore ecological health to the land and waters.  We work to protect historic and prehistoric remains in this favored place of peoples for tens of thousands of years.  We work to build and maintain trails so people can get out in the woods and enjoy quiet moments in nature.  

And we work to educate, to share the many stories from this land with our visitors:  stories about the Edwards Aquifer and its "Great Springs;" stories about the ecology and hydrology of the area; stories about the native peoples, Spanish missionaries, early settlers, Incarnate Word Sisters, and present day city dwellers and their relationships with this place; and stories about the sacredness of this place to many people of different faiths and spiritual practices.  

We work at the Headwaters in many different ways, and while we’re at it, we hope to foster a deeper environmental ethic in ourselves as well as our neighbors.  

We want this ministry of the Incarnate Word Sisters to be ‘a presence of healing love in the world’ and to extend this healing love to the wounds of the Earth – here at the Head of the San Antonio River and on whatever other piece of the Earth we may happen to find ourselves.  Because in the grand scheme of things, we see that problems of poverty, oppression, disease and deprivation in human communities are often, at their root, environmental problems:  dirty water, dirty air, toxic, eroded land, oil wars, loss of forests, elimination of species … These and many other environmental problems lead to less than dignified lives for many humans, and even to death. 

There is abundant evidence that not just her peoples but the Earth itself is crying out for ‘relief at our hands.’  And we must respond.

We are so fortunate that the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word perceive this work of the Headwaters ministry as a natural extension of their incarnational spirituality – to be God’s healing hands at work in the world, including the world of nature, the Creation, God’s incarnation, our Earthly home.

Won't you join us in becoming "healing hands at work in the world"?

The next Headwaters Volunteer Work Day is Saturday, January 22 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.  Those interested in volunteering should contact the Headwaters office to sign up. (210-828-2224 ext. 232)  A light lunch will be served after the work session. Volunteers should dress appropriately for the weather and woods, and are welcome to invite friends and family.

For information about upcoming volunteer work days and events, check out the Headwaters website.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Duh!! So le'ts head for the Headwaters!

Why is it that on the list of human needs -- food, water, shelter -- we do not normally include "nature"?  I believe we humans need nature.  I know I do.  It is not just a want; it's a need.  That's why I have spent much of my life working in defense of nature.  I  identify with the nature writers.  I know they speak many truths about our human relationships to nature.  I don't really need a scientific study to "prove" to me that nature has restorative powers, that it is "food for the soul," that nature is us.  But just for fun, take a look at the following article found on the Miller-McCune website.  I found it interesting and hope you will, too.

January 11, 2011

Thoreau Was Right: Nature Hones the Mind

Studies show nature restores our spirits, improves our thinking, keeps us healthier and probably even saner.

A long line of the world’s thinkers — from Immanuel Kant to William James to Deepak Chopra — have recommended we take walks in nature to relieve stress and refocus our thoughts. And nature writers — from Henry David Thoreau to John Muir to Edward Abbey — have extolled the restorative benefits of nature. “Everybody,” Muir said, “needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”
Turns out they were ahead of their time. “Attention Restoration Theory” or ART, which posits that a walk in the woods helps refocus the mind and revive the spirit, has been a growing field of research for the past 20 years. New studies are quantifying the restorative powers of nature and suggesting how the restorative process works.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How Far Have We Come?!

A REFLECTION on Faith and God’s Creation:
Consider this quote from a prominent person of faith living in the eighteenth century:
 “I believe in my heart that faith in Jesus Christ can and will lead us beyond an exclusive concern for the well-being of other human beings to the broader concern for the well-being of the birds in our backyards, the fish in our rivers, and every living creature on the face of the earth.”  -- John Wesley (1703-1791) 
Now Ask Yourself:  How are we human beings doing in this regard, over two hundred years later?
This is the central work of the Headwaters ministry because here at the dawn of the 21st century we now understand more fully how the well-being of humanity depends on the health and well-being of the environment.  We understand that problems of poverty, oppression, disease and deprivation in human communities are often, at their root, environmental problems.  Take, for example, limited access to clean water, unavailability of arable land, the oil wars, global climate change  -- or as I like to say, "global climate weirdness."  
All of these and many other environmental problems lead to diminished quality of life in human communities, and in some cases, to the end of life itself.  
So as you ponder this question and these thoughts as they relate to your own life and habits, also ask yourself this:  who lives under my carbon footprint?!
I borrowed that line from the Catholic Climate Covenant which has a great video exploring this most important question of our times.  Take a look, and give this some prayerful thought as you go about your day.