Gathered at the Dominican Sisters’ An Tairseach Ecological Retreat Center in Kilmantin Hill, Wicklow, Ireland, the hybrid event “Investing Consistently with Faith, Living Laudato Si'” was held on the fifth day of Laudato Si’ Week, Thursday, May 26, 2022. 

The purpose of the meeting was to address the concept of “green economy” and explore how many institutions are aligning their investments with their faith and values. Different examples were discussed with representatives from different religious and civil society organizations and institutions. The moderator of the event was Dr. Lorna Gold, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Laudato Si’ Movement and Director of Development at FaithInvest

WATCH: Video of the full event is here:

Father Joshtrom Kureethadam, Head of the Ecology and Creation Office of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, sent a video message in which he highlighted the importance of investing in activities, initiatives and projects that care for the planet and people. Quoting the Gospel “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”, he invited the audience to “think about where our treasure is, so that our heart may be at peace”.

Sister Colette Kane, host of the event explained that the congregation’s mission is to save the life of the planet. The organic sustainable farm where they live has been standing for more than 25 years, with ten thousand trees planted and she assured that Laudato Si’ “sums up everything we have tried to do over the years: repair the planet”.

The event’s panel was moderated by Elizabeth Garlow, co-founder of Francesco Collaborative and included Nana Francois, Director of Investment Solutions at FaithInvest; Sr. Pauline Macharia, IBVM, Coordinator of the Justice and Peace Office in Rome; Sr. Barbara Staley, Superior Secretary of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Chicago; and Father Peter Bisson, of the Jesuits of Canada.

Later, Lindlyn Moma, Director of Advocacy for the Laudato Si’ Movement, made an intervention from South Africa with a call for divestment from fossil fuels, giving the actions being taken by LSM as an example. “As Catholics we are called to protect creation through divestment,” he said.

The final message of the event was delivered by Martin Palmer, CEO of FaithInvest, who encouraged gratitude for so many opportunities faith-based organizations have to invest their assets in clean energy and in the future.

Speaker Highlights:

Sister Pauline Macharia, IBVM – Coordinator of the Justice and Peace Office in Rome.

  • I am passionate about Laudato Si’ because it gives us answers to the social issues of our world.
  • We must always ask ourselves: is t his ethical, is it respectable, does it safeguard human rights?
  • We want to make sure that no one has been harmed in the process of our investment and make sure that the goods and services we consume do not harm anyone. 
  • The throw-away culture is history. Now we must reuse, repair, recycle.

Sister Barbara Staley – Superior Secretary of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Chicago

  • Laudato Si’ helped us to relocate our funding in the world. 
  • We began a journey to see how to invest in impact opportunities that are planet friendly. 
  • We were present in 17 countries but thanks to the good investments we are making following LS, we are now in 54 countries.
  • Sometimes they are companies that nobody wants to invest in but we can assure you that they are very good and are not a high risk for your money, on the contrary.
  • We should invest in what is more aligned to our charisma.

Nana Francois – Director of Investment Solutions at FaithInvest

  • It’s not easy to be the first one doing something, but when we start seeing other people doing the same thing, it raises everyone’s commitment.
  • Investments are not just about money but also about the impact they create.
  • It is important to ask ourselves what is enough and how much we can give.

Fr. Peter Bisson, SJ – Society of Jesus, Canada

  • We seek to be consistent with our faith and apostolic values in our investment policies.  
  • We want to protect the indigenous people who inhabit our boreal forests, which have been invaded by extractivism.
  • We need experts and a solidarity network to help us.
  • It is about finding ways of thinking and conceiving the economy.