Pope Francis, in his encyclical letter Laudato Si’ invites us all to work with generosity and tenderness in protecting the world which God has entrusted to us.
St Bernadette’s Primary School in Milton Keynes is responding to that invitation and has launched its LiveSimply action plan to work towards achieving the LiveSimply award.
The launch started with a LiveSimply assembly given by CAFOD’s education volunteer Cathy Stormonth. Cathy explained that God calls us to look hard at our lifestyles and to choose to live more simply, sustainably and to think about how we can reach out to those living in poverty. In this way we can help create a world in which human dignity is respected and everyone can reach their full potential. This would be true progress and worth more than economic growth alone.
Cathy explained that ‘Individual actions may seem insignificant but together the small steps of many people can have an astonishing impact.’ She explained that a simple way to live sustainably was to save water by turning off the taps when brushing teeth. When asked how many did do this only about half of the pupils put their hands up. They were told that about 5 litres of water was wasted when the tap wasn’t turned off and if 250 extra children saved 5 litres of water each time that was about 2500 litres saved each day – a lot of water! If each student could enlist their families into this water saving method – all of a sudden there would be massive water savings in the community.
Headteacher, Mrs Jane Zamora, thought this was a good idea and asked the children to think of more ways to save water both at school and at home. The school already promotes turning off lights and saving electricity use which is great!
Living more simply? Cathy explained how being obsessed with money, designer goods, fame and the latest gadget did not bring lasting joy. Instead she challenged the children to live more simply, appreciating simple gifts of life like a meal with family and friends, a hug, fun and laughter, good health, time to pray and reflect or simply a beautiful sunset.
St Bernadette’s School is now working towards achieving the LiveSimply Award. So far, there are no schools or parishes in the Northampton diocese who have achieved this award.
The school is focusing on the following :
- Living simply – Developing an outdoor space for prayer and contemplation. The school has already built a stunningly beautiful prayer garden of Our Lady of Lourdes appearing to St Bernadette. This is used for prayer, quiet times and reflection.
- Living sustainably – The school already has an allotment and is growing vegetables to use for school lunches when the vegetables are ready to harvest. The school is also saving energy and reducing the school electricity bill.
- Being in solidarity with those living in poverty – The school charity is devoted to helping vulnerable locals. For example working with SVP on making a House a Home project for young homeless families.
Thank you very much St Bernadette for having CAFOD in to give an assembly and thanks to Cathy for raising awareness of the plight of many in our world. The school has also invited CAFOD in the following week to give workshops on Justice issues. It is great to hear that the school will take up the LiveSimply challenge and we look forward to hearing how they get on.