24 Apr 2015

Sister Noelene Makes a Habit of Sustainable Development

From Country Life, 9:30 pm on 24 April 2015

Sister Noelene
Sister Noelene Landrigan beside the wetland

Praying for the cosmos and ecological spirituality aren't themes one would expect to hear coming from a nun, but for Sister Noelene Landrigan, they're normal.

Sister Noelene lives at Mount St Joseph in Whanganui and says if the world wants to survive it has to have a different view of God. "He's in the earth, other people, other religions, all life ... our only hope for the future of planet earth is .... a spirituality that accepts everyone and everything and looks after it with the dignity it deserves."

With those sorts of thoughts it's not surprising that when Sister Noelene returned to St Joseph in 2003, where she was a novitiate in the 1960's, she looked at the five hectare property with new eyes and saw potential.

Sister NoeleneThe steep, apparent wasteland, has been transformed into a wetland, there are native trees, fruit trees and deciduous trees, and a huge vegetable garden where even the vertical surfaces have plants growing on them.

A lot of the physical building and development work is done by men who've been sentenced to community service and Sister Noelene says they do marvellous job.

The order of St Joseph haven’t worn the distinctive habit for years, even though it was canon law. Sister Noelene says they were silly things to have to hitch up in the garden, and they wanted to be unobtrusive in the community.  “It’s part of our humbleness …. and God's not going to care," she laughs.

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