Tales from the garden: Sisters share stories of going vegetarian

Posted: February 24, 2015 at 11:53 pm


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Last month, Ilooked at the documentary"Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret." Among its many disheartening statistics on the agriculture industry, the film also proposed a possible way out of the mess: eating lower on the food chain, for the sake of the animals, the planet and our health.

In other words, going vegan, or at least vegetarian.

According to a2012 Gallup poll, 5 percent of American adults view themselves as vegetarian; 2 percent are vegan, eating no animal products at all. Making such a switch, or even limiting your meat consumption, can be a dramatic and difficult life adjustment.

Sr. Terry Mackenzie can attest to the struggle.

Now a seasoned vegetarian veteran, she gave up beef during themid-1970safter learning about farms in other countries having to grow grain to feed U.S. cattle.

"It was very hard but I did it over three years," said Mackenzie, who oversees theEcospiritualityResources blog. The most difficult part, she toldNCR, "was not eating beef in community without others feeling judged." Making things a bit easier, her Society of Holy Child Jesus community in Chicago offers vegetarian options at its provincial meetings, and the eco-spirituality group never includes meat in their meals.

Related: "Sister's Lenten resource brings the Earth and Jesus together"

Mackenzie isn't alone in her pursuit of a less meat-centric diet. So are other members of Sisters of Earth, an informal network of religious and lay women who are responding to ecological issues through healing and restoration work: from digging gardens and offsetting their carbon footprints, to revising their dietary choices.

At the Our Lady of the Prairie Retreat center, in Davenport, Iowa, guests often expect vegetarian meals, said its director Notre Dame School Sr. Kathleen Storms.

"On weekends when we have retreats from Friday until Sunday we may have one meal with meat," she said.

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Tales from the garden: Sisters share stories of going vegetarian

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February 24th, 2015 at 11:53 pm

Posted in Vegetarian