Tips and Events from La Vista Ecological Learning Center

By Sr. Maxine Pohlman, SSND, Director of the La Vista Ecological Learning Center, Godfrey, Illinois. A Ministry of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. For more information, visit:

Give Up Plastic for Lent!

Continuing a theme from the latest La Vista Visions newsletter, we encourage you to give up plastic for lent. Gabriel Lamug-Nanawa, a Jesuit priest in Cambodia, made a proposal for churches in his local area to promote a Plastic-Free Lent. Last year, Gabby went on a plastic fast for Lent and found the experience to be good for the planet and an important part of his spiritual practice.To read his inspiring and practical proposal, please visit The following passages are taken from this site:

“If we try to abstain from disposable plastic during this Lent, we can also reach our own deserts. We will have to think about the things we buy and why we buy them, examine our consumer values, and clarify what is important to us. Usually, we throw away disposable plastics without much concern or thought. But as it leaves our sight, it does not really go away; it just becomes someone else’s problem.

Thus, our abstinence from disposable plastics helps other people and the rest of creation. As we reduce the amount of garbage in our homes and communities, we reduce its harmful effects on nature and act in solidarity with creation.”

Valentine’s Day: Love Letter to the Earth

In his book Love Letter to the Earth, Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh offers us a splendid way to celebrate February 14th and every day of our lives: by transforming our relationship to Earth. Spend time on Valentine’s Day pondering these lines from one of his love letters to Mother Earth (pp. 108 and 109):

“Every time I step upon the Earth, I will train myself to see that I am walking on you, my Mother. Every time I place my feet on the Earth I have a chance to be in touch with you and with all your wonders. With every step I can touch the fact that you aren’t just beneath me, dear Mother, but you are also within me…I want to walk gently, with steps of love and with great respect. I shall walk with my own body and mind united in oneness…At every step I can take refuge in you.”

Upcoming Special Event
Exploring Vegetarianism
Monday, February 16, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Have you considered becoming vegetarian but hesitated because you had questions like: How will I get enough protein? What do I eat in winter when locally grown vegetables are not available? Or, maybe you already vegetarian but would appreciate support in your efforts.

This gathering over a potluck dinner is an opportunity to have your questions discussed and to share information, food, recipes, companionship and support.

If there is enough interest, we’ll plan to meet seasonally to expand our vegetarian practice. There are many motives for this life choice. One of our reasons at La Vista is that we believe Wendell Berry’s words, “How we eat determines to a great extent how the world is used.”

Please bring a vegetarian dish to share. Herbal drinks will be provided.

Registration is requested. Please call 618-466-5004 and leave your name and the number attending.
Optional donations to support our programming are always appreciated. Held at La Vista.


On Saturday, February 7, La Vista Held its Flat Bread: Learn and Taste! Workshop

Here are some photos and a report:

Saturday’s workshop was a success. Participants learned from experts how to make Mexican tortillas, Colombian arepas and pandebono and American crackers. Lots of laughter, learning about the country of Colombia, and eating great food.

Join us next time!