Simply, Sustainably, and in Solidarity
In the Summer of 2019, Saint Joseph's became the first organisation in the Diocese of Salford to achieve the Live Simply award for committing to live simply, sustainably and in solidarity.
The desire, commitment and drive to live simply came from the children. The Mini Vinnies led the school's approach to live simply, the School Council led the school's approach to living sustainably, and the Pupil Chaplains led the school's approach to living in solidarity.
At Joseph's we encourage the children to become active members of school life in order to contribute to our family, our local community and to the wider world.
As well as having our own individual gifts and talents, which allow us to fulfil our own personal vocation, we believe that as a Catholic community, we share a common vocation. We are called to be faithful to God and to live a life that is close to Him.
In his encyclical, Laudato si', Pope Francis highlights that we also have a common vocation to be protectors of God's handiwork. Pope Francis makes it clear that caring for our common home is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.
Through our commitment to live simply, we have begun to once again see creation as God’s gift to us, which requires our care and respect. We have made a special effort to think about the needs of people who are not as lucky as we are, and to show them our love and care. We have put our faith into action by promising to live simply.
We understand that living simply is not something we do, but it is about being true to who we are. It is part of our mission to live a life that is faithful to the teachings of Jesus and a way to witness the commandment to love God and love our neighbour.
Throughout the journey, we have held onto the phrase live simply so that others can simply live. As we continued along our path, it became clearer and clearer what has already been observed that living simply is far from being simple, it is complex. Ultimately, however it is above love. It is not easy to turn away from and break those bad habits Pope Francis mentions, and it is not easy to adjust and change our current lifestyles. But we have not tried to live frugally for its own sake. Placing our desire to live simply within our Catholic life, we know that such a way of life respects human dignity and presents a vision of the world where all may reach their full human and God-given potential. Our strength to continue to live simply comes from our desire to live and promote the common good.
We know living simply is ultimately about love. It is about loving our neighbour, loving God’s creation, and making sure that love is present in the way we live our lives. It is about seeing everyone as our neighbour and committing ourselves to living out that conviction in how we treat others. It is about reflection on how our actions affect the environment and readjusting that behaviour to act as a steward to God’s creation. Through the different actions we have completed, we have tried to live simply so that others can simply live.
As we continue on our journey to live simply, we appeal to the intercession of Saint Joseph, our role model here on earth, to help us protect our common home and the dignity of our brothers and sisters. We pray to be open and attentive to God, following Saint Joseph, in order to be aware of the needs of others and to be in touch with the cry of the earth.