Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Re-visioning science and spirituality

In high school in Chattanooga, Tennessee, back in the 50s, I was taught by a remarkable group of Dominican nuns. I remember especially Sister Dominica, tall, sophisticated, intellectual, who taught English literature, and Sister Jane Francis, smart, no-nonsense, insightful, who gave me a lifelong love of math and science.

That world is all gone now. My old high school has a smart new campus and the staff is laic. But Dominican women religious have not gone away. In recent years I have become acquainted with sisters who are showing the kind of theological and ecological leadership one wishes was more common in the Church.

Closest to home are the Kentucky Dominican sisters at Crystal Spring Center for Earth Learning in Plainville, MA, "committed to developing a sustainable bioregionally appropriate way of life that reflects and honors the interconnectedness of all things." Their spirituality reverences the "Hidden Mystery," and takes inspiration from the contemporary scientific understanding of the universe.

It has been my honor to meet Sister Miriam McGillis who lives and works at Genesis Farm in New Jersey. She too takes her inspiration from the scientific story of creation, and embraces "a spirituality that reverences Earth as a primary revelation of the divine."

I have also been in contact with Sister Marie Hofstetter, a Kentucky Dominican who lives in New York, who seeks in her writing to promote "an earth-friendly re-visioning of science and spirituality."

It is inspiring to find people so eager to embrace reliable scientific knowledge of the world, and to draw upon that knowledge for inspiration in their spiritual lives.