Laudato si' family in Honduras: ‘We feel part of an integral Church’
By Guadalupe García Corigliano
“In the family we first learn how to show love and respect for life; we are taught the proper use of things, order and cleanliness, respect for the local ecosystem and care for all creatures. In the family we receive an integral education, which enables us to grow harmoniously in personal maturity” (LS 213).
Linda Sheran and her family of five in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, didn’t set out to become the “Laudato si’ Family,” the model example for how to bring Laudato si’ to life and live in true communion, as a family, with God’s creation.
Neither she nor her husband of 16 years, José Luis, grew up in a devout Catholic household comprised of faithful committed to caring for our common home.
In recent years, however, as our common home has deteriorated (LS 21), the transformational message of Pope Francis in Laudato si’ has found the family, and the family has warmly accepted the invitation, along with their new nickname. The official closing prayer vigil of Laudato si' Week is set to be held on Sunday, at 3 PM Rome time.
“Our faith is a gift from God,” Linda Sheran said.
Family: A center for culture of life
After all, at home with the family is the perfect place for all to practice the culture of life. The family is “the place in which life – the gift of God – can be properly welcomed and protected against the many attacks to which it is exposed, and can develop in accordance with what constitutes authentic human growth. In the face of the so-called culture of death, the family is the heart of the culture of life” (LS 213).
"As the Pope says, ‘We are all connected,’ and so are we as a family. With God's help, we are committed to Laudato si',” Linda said.
Becoming the Laudato si' Family
The connection to Laudato si’ runs deep with the Canales Sheran family, and it all began with Linda. Through her local parish, Santuario Menor Nuestra Señora de Suyapa in Tegucigalpa, she became involved with Laudato si’ Week 2021, and, along with her daughter Edna María (now age 15), participated in various online events, especially feeling connected to the global movement during the Laudato si’ Festival for creation that was broadcast live from Rome.
Later on, during the Season of Creation, the annual ecumenical celebration that unites all Christians to pray and take action for our common home, José Luis joined the family in caring for God’s creation.
One by one, every member of the family became involved with caring for God’s creation. Linda, José, Edna María, and Ana Carolina (now age 14) all became Laudato si’ Animators by taking the free leadership development course through Laudato si’ Movement.
Ximena, now 7 years old, also got involved in the family endeavor by serving as their little helper in all of their final projects in the course.
For her final project, Edna María organized a plant swap at their local parish in which the faithful shared their experiences of growing plants and nurturing God’s creation. “It was great to see people interested in caring for the common home and in the movement,” Linda said.
Another dimension of the Church
All Laudato si’ Animators lead their community in taking action for God’s creation as the final step in the free course. "I've always loved issues related to caring for the planet," Edna María said.
For Linda, the experience was particularly enriching as she watched her oldest daughter lead meaningful action for our common home. “Plants in the house are our first contact with nature and what we feel responsible for. So in the plant exchange, people get involved and told us how they take care of them. In this way, we give them a little taste of what the movement is all about," she said.
Being a part of the global movement to care for God’s creation has helped the entire family connect in a deeper way with the global Church. "With the movement, we discovered another dimension of the Church. We feel part of an integral Church that calls us to a formation that does not neglect any aspect," Linda said.
For José Luis, a profound affinity for Laudato si’ has emerged as well. He had long been in charge of collecting organic waste for their compost at home, but, armed with the knowledge of Pope Francis’ Laudato si’, José Luis began to see his work in a new light.
“He saw it from the dimension of faith and care for the common home," Linda said.
Laudato si’ and the family’s connection with our common home also motivated them to advocate for God’s creation. For her final project in the Laudato si’ Animators course, Ana Carolina collected 106 signatures for the Healthy Planet, Healthy People Petition.
Turning training into action
Their training has ended, but the family’s work continues, as the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor grow louder every day across the world.
Ana Carolina is studying Laudato si’, leads an eco-reader club, and participates in every online event she can to better understand Pope Francis’ seminal document. She hopes to soon form her own Laudato si’ Circle, which are small groups that meet regularly to deepen their relationship with God and all of creation.
Edna Maria is consistently pushing the family to do more and to be better stewards of the creation in which God has entrusted us. "(She is) the voice of the family's conscience," Linda said. “She is the one who talks to us about the carbon footprint, about reducing plastic consumption, about changing the little things of everyday life.”
Ximena keeps helping everyone in the family. For Linda and José Luis, as their children develop a passion for caring for all members of God’s creation and doing better for our common home, the mother and father marvel at what the Holy Spirit is doing through her family.
Linda’s advice to parents: "Don't limit your children. They have great abilities. God has given them His gifts, and it is our job to help them develop those gifts. For us, the movement has been an opportunity for everyone to discover and get to know the good things they have, and to put them at the service of others,” she said.
“It is gratifying and motivating to see how they improve their habits and incorporate new ones for the benefit of our common home. I am excited by their commitment to study the encyclical Laudato si’, leading the eco-readers club, and above all, I am comforted by their solidarity with the poor in forgotten communities. I cannot deny the impact it has on people to see the girls taking action to care for creation. This inspires me to continue to support them. It fills me with hope, as the Holy Father says in the encyclical Laudato si’ (LS 71): “All it takes is one good person to restore hope!”
This story was produced through a partnership with Laudato Si’ Movement, which serves the Catholic family worldwide to turn Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si’ into action for climate and ecological justice.