Lightly on Earth
the heart of Texas Hill Country is a sanctuary devoted to cultivating
cultural diversity and biodiversity, and to living in right relationship
with the Earth. Santuario Sisterfarm is a nonprofit organization founded
in 2002 and co-directed by Adrian Dominican Sister Carol Coston, OP, and
novice Elise García. Together, they created a place in south central
Texas where people of different cultures are welcomed and respected, and
where all life forms are reverenced.
so we have four compost bins and four worm bins going all the time,"
Sister Carol noted. "We have two buckets in the kitchen for fruits
and vegetables for composting, so we don't throw anything away that can
be part of recycling and contributing to soil fertility. We have a special
container for coffee grounds, and we put egg shells on top of the toaster
so that when we make toast, it dries the egg shells so that they can be
ground into grist for the worms. We cover the gardens with a year-round
mulch that not only conserves moisture, but as it breaks down, it adds
more organic material to the soil. We also have composting toilets. We
try to talk to guests about the spirituality of living in right relationships
with Earth's gifts by conserving water, soil, and energy, and by being
mindful of seasonal changes in Texas and the impact they have on growing."
"Ever since we moved here, we've been very conscious that we are in the midst of a predominantly Mexican-American culture and that historically, what we call Texas is really Mexico," Sister Carol noted. "Elise's father is of Spanish descent and she grew up in Mexico and spoke Spanish, and I had the experience of living in Puerto Rico and studying in the Dominican Republic during the summers. So we've been very conscious and respectful of differences."
Through Sor Juana Press, Santuario Sisterfarm has published four books on Earth spirituality written by Dominican women, a collection of essays on engaging impasse in church and society, and a book sharing pathways to leadership by women of color. A seventh book is due out in September, chronicling the remarkable story and healing ways of a Nicaragua-born healer/curandera named Zelima Xochiquetzal, co-written by Elise and Zelima. Helen Prejean, CSJ, endorses the book, noting that it reads "like a riveting and magical work of fiction - an allegory for the suffering on Earth." (Visit www.sisterfarm.org for ordering information.)
there's so much to see and learn at Sisterfarm, Sister Carol said the
best way to share what Sisterfarm is doing is to have people visit. "If
there's anything we've learned here that can be shared - this notion of
how to live a 'green life,' if you will - we're willing to share it, and
learn from others."