There is no building block to life more foundational than water. And yet, in their ministries around the world, Sisters of the Holy Cross have long observed that access to clean water, this most precious gift from God is severely lacking. Many countries with limited infrastructures can’t control contaminants or elevated levels of minerals, such as iron, to ensure water that is safe to drink. Addressing this disparity, the Congregation issued its Corporate Stand on Water as a Human Right and Public Trust in 2004. In the commitment, the Congregation affirms its support for actions that “ensure access to … safe water for all people, especially the most vulnerable.” Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si' reinforces this ideal, calling the church and all people to respond to God’s love through his gift of creation.
A global problem
In 2022, donors responded to the Congregation’s appeal to tackle the global problem of limited access to potable water. Projects are underway now that will eventually bring clean and safe drinking water to more than 25,000 people in Bangladesh, India, Uganda and Ghana. The projects were born out of sisters’ own experiences with people and places in dire need of this essential resource. “We received 28 project proposals from sisters,” says Sister M. Rose Edward (Goodrow), CSC, director of development. Each proposal was assessed on degree of sustainability and overall impact. “Because our donors responded so generously,” adds Sister Rose, “we could fund, at least in part, 24 of those proposals.”
The outcome of this joint effort: 14 water wells, 12 working water filtration systems, four rainwater storage tanks, and a public toilet facility for a rural village that had no such amenities. In addition to the widespread benefits to villages near sisters’ living communities, the Congregation’s ministries also will be made safer with the addition of filtration systems at educational institutions, dormitories, training centers and convents. “Those who have given so generously have promoted the sacredness of life by reducing waterborne illnesses that run rampant in Asia and Africa,” says Sister Rose.
Around the world, the sisters rejoice — giving thanks that the gift of life in clean water now flows.
“Those who have given so generously have promoted the sacredness of life by reducing waterborne illnesses...”
—Sister M. Rose Edward (Goodrow), CSC
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