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Wednesday, 20 February 2019 04:13

“Thinking Wrong” in Monrovia

Written by Hugh Menton et al
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Hugh Menton – Los Angeles Chapter
Eugene Shirley – Pando Populus 
Sr. Dolores Mitch, MM – Monrovia Maryknoll Sisters

“Thinking Wrong” is a process to generate creative ideas, thinking outside the box. Where better to find such thinking than among retired Maryknoll Sisters in Monrovia, California, and ten or so undergraduate Kansas University design students—members of a Studio X project? Studio X projects use “Thinking Wrong” to create new possibilities.

The Sisters invited Greater Los Angeles Maryknoll Affiliate Chapter members to participate in “Thinking Wrong.” Three Affiliates—Jane Bivona, Hugh Menton, and Jean Menton—joined with the Sisters, KU students, and Pando Populus members to envision new happenings at the Sisters’ Monrovia community located against the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, on a beautiful November day. Four groups presented their ideas after a day of reflection and dialogue. Do you hear the Affiliates’ sense of spirituality, community, action, and global concern in the story?

Why create such a dialogue? Blend together the Sisters’ developing work with Pando Populus and Pope Francis’ call for Care of the Earth in his encyclical, Laudato Si’, and you find the reason. Maryknoll Sisters are also implementing the decision from their 2014 General Assembly to work towards becoming “One Earth Community.”

Pando Populus, a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization focused on creating initiatives and events for a more resilient and regenerative southland, is joining with the Sisters to explore how the Monrovia property can become a place that furthers the Laudato Si’ message by demonstrating, teaching, and accelerating the practical implications of the pope’s vision.

Laudato Si’ calls for communities of “integral ecology,” where people live in harmony with the Earth and each other. That vision is nearly identical to what Pando chair John Cobb calls “ecological civilization.” To get there, Pando creative director John Bielenberg says we have to start “Thinking Wrong.”

To our knowledge, Maryknoll Monrovia is the first location to explicitly set out to incarnate this vision. The physical construct could consist of a multi-generational living community and live exhibits addressing agriculture, energy, water, and waste generation and treatment, along with cutting-edge LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) buildings to house staff, lodging, and training elements.

The financial model could include trainings (and possibly subject-matter certifications) and residencies. Grants from corporations, foundations, and government entities interested in seeding this vision of self-sufficiency could lead to positive environmental and social impacts. Faculty and in-residence fellowships could be established to maintain a vibrant living and learning environment.

The aim is to utilize this eco-system facility as a living repository (physical and digital), housing the learnings and output of the works emanating from the pope’s encyclical, the L.A. County sustainability plan, city-specific efforts, and corporate and non-profit programs.

Pando believes that a hopeful vision of the future is possible, and that the Maryknoll compound in Monrovia can model it for Los Angeles County. Where will Maryknoll Sisters and Pando Populus take it from here?

Their experience in November prompted the Los Angeles Chapter Affiliates to identify their focus areas for 2019 as Care for the Earth and the collaborative work in the Sisters’ Monrovia community.

 

“Being Pando means I belong to you,
you belong to me, we belong to each other.”

Pando believes that a hopeful vision of the future is possible, and that the Maryknoll compound in Monrovia can model it for Los Angeles County. At PandoPopulus.com, we read:

Pandotopia at Maryknoll

At the Maryknoll Sisters’ 7 ½ acre compound in Monrovia, we’re bringing women who have taken lifelong vows of poverty together with some of the country’s top designers; urban farmers together with social impact entrepreneurs; believers of all kinds together with those who don’t relate to any traditional faith — to model, accelerate, and educate about incarnating a new way of living.

 

 


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