Where One Woman’s Green Habits Grew

Sloppy dog kisses, dandelions and stargazing in the American West shaped Sr. Elise Mora. She had a tough upbringing as an orphan. She lived with six different families, often wondering why no one wanted to keep her, and why people abused animals. But connecting with pets and the outdoors led to her lifetime of environmental advocacy as a Sister of St. Francis of the Providence of God.

Sr. Elise is animated as she touches the shoulder of a woman at reception.

Sr. Elise (left) works the crowd after Standup Sisters: Green Habits. Photo: Ryan Haggerty/Work Hard Digital Services

“Being a Franciscan turned out to be a perfect fit for me,” Sr. Elise says. “St. Francis loved all of creation: He spoke of Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Brother Wind, Sister Water, Brother Wolf. And he especially loved the poor.”

Sr. Elise was one of five Catholic sisters who shared personal and professional stories of care for creation at Standup Sisters: Green Habits. Unabridged Press produced the March 8 event at St. Thomas More Church in Bethel Park, Penn. About 250 school children and 125 adults attended to celebrate the first day of National Catholic Sisters Week, Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day.

Standup Sisters Mic and Rosary LogoStandup Sisters: Green Habits was inspired in part by Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, called Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. “Laudato Si'” means “Praise be to you,” and borrows from the words of the Canticle of Creationa prayer by 12th-century Italian, St. Francis of Assisi

“I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet,” the pope said in the 2015 document. “We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.”

Standup Sisters: Green Habits hopes to advance that new dialogue, through the stories that will be released in audio and video formats in the coming months. If you wish to receive notification when we have new stories and news to share, please add your e-mail address in the box below and click “subscribe.” 

Sr. Elise displays a mostly dry paper towel in her kitchen.

“You only need one towel.” That’s one of Sr. Elise’s favorite practical tips for environmental conservation. Photo: J.Szweda Jordan


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