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Green Nuns: Terre Haute Sisters Look to Biomass


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West Terre Haute’s White Violet Center for Eco-Justice is a ministry of the Sisters of Providence. Housed in what, at the turn of the century, was a laundry room, the center serves as a venue for environmental education.

The Center’s Interim Director, Sister Maureen Freeman, says education has always been an integral part of the Sisters of Providence’s mission. She says it was that value which launched the White Violet Center.

“As they moved into a greater consciousness about the environment and its needs decided that they really need an outdoor classroom to teach people how we are all interdependent.” Freeman said.

The land belonging to the Sisters of Providence features nature trails, wetlands restoration, green certified classified forest, retreats made from straw bales and recycled materials, and even a herd of sixty-three, national prize winning alpacas.

Although there are several other Catholic religious communities throughout the United States that have projects similar to those at Saint Mary of the Woods, Sister Freeman says the White Violet Center is unique in its scope. Manager of Ground Services Sister Dana Augustine says the initiatives taken by the Sisters of Providence are part of a larger, global movement.

“I think that certain trends in consciousness happen amongst societies and people. It really is a growing awareness all of the globe and it is very heartening for me to know who else is looking at this issue,” Augustine said.

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