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SMC hosts Unity Garden Prayer Service

| Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Pope Francis recently announced that beginning this year, the Catholic Church will observe Sept. 1 as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. On Tuesday, Saint Mary’s Campus Ministry held an ecumenical prayer service blessing the Unity Garden on the south side of Havican Hall in observance of this event.

Megan Zwart, assistant professor of philosophy and co-leader of the Saint Mary’s Unity Garden, said there are dozens of Unity Gardens throughout the area where anyone can come and pick food for free.

“Unity Gardens is a non-profit organization in the area that educates and empowers the community to grow their own healthy food,” Zwart said. “The goal is to promote physical, social and economic health through promoting healthy eating, sustainable local food systems and opportunities for those who are disadvantaged.”

Jessica Mannen Kimmet, a campus minister at the College, described the prayer service as wonderful opportunity for the Saint Mary’s community to pray together.

“[The prayer service] included a reading from scripture, a responsorial psalm, intercessions, a prayer of blessing and some hymns,” she said. “Although it comes from a Catholic resource, this rite is strongly based on scripture.”

Kimmet said the Unity Garden was blessed on this day because it is a reminder that all creation is a gift and we have a responsibility to care for it.

“In gardening, we partner with the earth in a way that resonates with the call of the creation stories in Genesis,” Kimmet said. “Gardening can be a source of wonder: Even though we put a lot of work into it, the fact that these plants produce food is something utterly beyond our control. … All of creation is an absolute gift from God and never something that we fully own or control.”

Zwart said there are many opportunities for Saint Mary’s students to utilize the Unity Garden on campus.

“Students are most welcome to pick and eat whatever they would like; they are also welcome to participate in planting in spring and putting the garden ‘to bed’ for the winter once the weather cools,” she said. “In the summer, students can pursue internships with Unity Gardens, which would include work on our garden.”

Kimmet said she hopes the prayer service will draw more attention to the Unity Garden and concern for all of creation.

“Sometimes events like these can feel superficial; it’s just one moment of attention in the midst of our unfailingly hectic lives,” Kimmet said. “If it’s true attention, though — if we really give our hearts over to this moment of prayer — it has the chance to be transformative.

“Small moments of attention help to form us and perhaps this day can, in small ways, inspire us to act out of a greater love towards the gift of creation.”

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About Alaina Anderson

Alaina is a Junior at Saint Mary's College and is studying English Writing and Communication Studies. From the warm and exotic state of Wisconsin, she is a professional shower singer, an ambassador for The Elephant Pants, and an avid lover of alliteration.

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