Passionist Earth & Spirit Center
The Passionist Earth & Spirit Center is a JPIC (Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation) organization initiated by the Passionist Community of Holy Cross Province and incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization in May 2010. While rooted in the Christian faith and the Passionist charism, its programs and resources are available to all.
The Passionist Earth and Spirit Center has been inspired by the wisdom and vision of Thomas Berry, C.P, who pioneered the Great Work to which the Center is committed. His dream for the Earth guides the Center’s work: “the future can exist only when we understand the universe as composed of subjects to be communed with, not as objects to be exploited.”
Thomas Berry and the Great Work
The Passionist Earth & Spirit Center is devoted to the Great Work described by Thomas Berry as a commitment “to carry out the transition from a period of human devastation of the Earth to a period when humans would be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner.”
Thomas Berry (1914-2009) was a Passionist priest, cultural historian, social critic, and one of the leading environmental thinkers of our time. He saw, before many others became aware, the critical nature of our present moment, with its looming ecological crisis. For more than 40 years he worked to develop a comprehensive vision of a viable future for the Earth community. From his academic beginning as a cultural historian, he evolved to become a historian of the Earth. He described himself as a “geologian.”
Berry was president of the American Teilhard Association and is indebted to the thought of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin for helping shape his own understanding of the universe story. For two decades, he directed the Riverdale Center of Religious Research along the Hudson River. During this period he taught at Fordham University where he chaired the history of religions program.
His major contributions to the discussion on the environment are in his books: The Dream of the Earth (Sierra Club Books, 1988 reprinted, 2006),\; The Great Work: Our Way into the Future(Random House, 1999); The Universe Story (coauthored with Brian Swimme, Harper San Francisco, 1992); Evening Thoughts: Reflecting on Earth as Sacred Community (Sierra Club Books and University of California Press, 2006); The Christian Future and the Fate of Earth (Orbis Books, 2009); and The Sacred Universe: Earth, Spirituality, and Religion in the Twenty-First Century (Columbia University Press, 2009).