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Care for Creation

gazebo sitting in field of tall grass and yellow flowers surrounded by green trees. The sky is blue with white clouds.
Gazebo in the RSHM Native Garden

RSHM sisters live our lives so that “all may have life.” Our 2013 General Chapter, which guided the community, was focused on deeper awareness of the interconnectedness of all creation. Inspired by the new leadership of Pope Francis and his encyclical Laudato Si’ (On Care for Our Common Home), we renewed our commitment to the earth.

This teaching embraces all of creation, is sensitive to all other creatures that share this planet, and reminds humans, that “We are part of nature and included in it.” The call to protect biodiversity is at the heart of Francis’ teaching. Protecting biodiversity ensures a healthier environment for all of creation.

RSHM Native Garden

peregrine falcon sitting on top of a two-sided stained glass fixture that turns in the wind.
Peregrine falcon sitting on top of a stained-glass installation created by Sister Bianca Haglich

Beginning in 2015, the RSHM worked with a landscape designer and architect to restore a piece of their property in Tarrytown to its natural state. Replacing a building that had to be taken down, the native garden became a healing, healthy and holy place for plants, animals and people.

The garden contains a variety of native flowers, bushes, trees and plants. These provide a rich habitat for wildlife: food, cover and breeding sites. Combining the interests of the health and well-being of our sisters with that or our earth, our garden design allows plants, animals and people to coexist and flourish.

We have held prayer services for our sisters in the garden, and have invited groups, like the local Audubon chapter, to join us for bird watching; and, students from Marymount 5th Avenue to explore and learn more about our garden and integral ecology.

Sisters in outdoor sun gear lean over a row of potted plants that they are planting in a planter.
Sisters adding plants to the Native Garden

“The native garden project helps to heal our suffering world. We are responding to the call of the earth at Maymount Convent. This native garden will give witness to acting justly toward our beloved earth.”

Edith Hart, RSHM

“Our garden is a cosmos. There is much to learned from it. A place to deepen our thinking, feeling and acting as one body for mission.”

Clare McBrien, RSHM


Sisters who live at the convent and in surrounding communities are committed to conservation and sustainability.  Efforts to recycle, conserve energy and reduce food waste are priorities. Some sisters have been active with local organizations that seek to conserve and protect our natural resources. One such organization is ROAR (Religious Organizations Along the River).

Prayer for the Planet

deer standing in tall grass among yellow flowers

Lord, as far as we know this is your favorite planet. Forgive some of the things we have done to it, to the air, to the water, and to the earth. We have reason to think that we curious bipeds are your special creation…. Forgive what we do to each other. We forget that you like variety and made us in many colors, singing different songs. Lord we are on that blue marble you spun off when you played creation. It is a lovely place. Help us to keep it in peace.

Canice Walsh, RSHM, 1920-2021