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LEC's First Online Earth Conference - Looking Back and Moving Forward

On Saturday, November 7th over 60 people (30+ individuals plus 30 SSND Sisters, socially distanced over 3 rooms in the Mother House in Mankato) joined together via zoom for LEC’s 15th Annual Earth Conference.

Due to the global pandemic this year’s conference looked very different from past conferences.  Instead of meeting in person for an all-day event, participants met for 2hrs online.  The conference was called, “Looking Back and Moving Forward: 14 Years of Earth Conferences,” and instead of introducing a new topic, focused on highlights from past conferences with small group discussion about how those topics are still pertinent today.

One huge loss from not meeting in person was we missed out on Sister’s Gloria’s delicious muffins, but she greeted us online with a plate of muffins and a wish that we could all virtually taste one.

The conference was opened with an original poem by local poet Esther Marcella Hoffman.  She shared her poem, “Integral” via a video recorded in our Community Garden.  You can read the poem and watch the video on our conference web page (click here).

Highlighted speakers were:

  • Audrey Arner – Keynote Speaker from 2015’s conference Soil: Holy Ground, Wholly Alive
  • Bruno Borsari – Keynote Speaker from 2016’s conference The Story of Seeds: Blueprint for Life
  • Mary Jo Forbord – Keynote Speaker from 2017’s conference Food: Our Greatest Resource
  • Megan Schnitker – Morning Speaker from 2019’s conference Women and the Land: Rooted in Connection
  • Kathleen Mary Kiemen, SSND – LAND Talk from 2019’s conference Women and the Land: Rooted in Connection

Each speaker’s clip of highlights can be found on our conference web page (click here)

After each speaker’s clip, participants went into small group breakout sessions via zoom to discuss what struck them as important and how the speaker’s message still pertains today.  Then the groups reconvened and shared highlights of their discussion. 

Three of the featured speakers were in attendance, Audrey Arner, Mary Jo Forbord, and Sister Kathleen Mary Kiemen, and they took a moment to share their insights at the end of the conference.

The morning was filled with a sense of reflection and renewed purpose that can best be summed up by the Peter Paul and Mary song “Sweet Survivor,” which was quoted by Sister Kathleen Mary during her talk…
     Carry on my sweet survivor, carry on my lonely friend
     Don’t give up on the dream, and don’t you let it end.
     Carry on my sweet survivor,
     Though you know that something’s gone
     For everything that matters,
     Carry on, carry on.

Full conference talks from highlighted speakers (as well as other resources from past conferences) can be found on our Earth Conference History Page on our website (click here) on each specific conference's web page.