Experiencing a new type of eco-conversion

By Sister Meg Earsley of Wisconsin, USA

I used to think of conversion as a sort of epiphany or a single moment of great clarity that causes one to see things in a new way. In my Franciscan religious studies over the last year, I have come to understand it differently.

Now I see conversion as a gradual turning toward God. Imagine you are facing one way, unaware of where God is. Then, over time, you hear God in different ways. As you listen, you begin to turn closer and closer.

In our lifetimes, we will likely never be turned totally to God, but we will always be turning, or converting ourselves, toward God.

This is how I feel it has been with my ecological conversion. From the time I was a teenager until now, in middle age, I have turned myself closer and closer to creation. My awareness has increased, as has my desire to reduce my negative impact and create connections with creation.

Sister Meg Earsley
I have done what I can as an individual, from limiting my single-use plastic usage as much as possible, to taking slow walks in nature and noticing with amazement the incredible diversity and interconnectedness God’s creation offers us. There always seems to be more that I can do, so I turn myself a bit more each time.

The Laudato Si’ Animators program has helped me widen my view of my relationship with creation, and I am seeing that perhaps I have a larger role to play in caring for creation. Perhaps it is time to pass on my love of creation to others. Perhaps I need to actively share my process of discovery, joy, and gratitude with those who are interested.

And so I continue to turn myself toward creation, and in turn, to the Creator. After all, how can God, who bestowed in the universe such richness, diversity, and interdependence, be anywhere but within creation?