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Catholic school has planted over 14,000 trees in Amazon


Walking into this school is like walking into a real garden. It is the Internado Indígena San Francisco de Loretoyaco. The Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul have managed the school for 20 years. They established a rule that all visitors must follow.

SR. EDELMIRA PINTO
Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul
“Each person who enters must plant a tree. This 'oxygen plan' has three dimensions: plant one tree for personal oxygen; two trees for the family; and three for the whole world.”

This has been done by the more than 400 students, boys and girls. One hundred and twenty of them live on-campus and 300 come from the indigenous communities surrounding Puerto Nariño, Colombia. In addition to their regular courses, all students learn to protect the environment.

SR. EDELMIRA PINTO
Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul
“We are a green school. The center was completely deforested. We started the reforestation process about 17 years ago. We have planted more than 14,000 trees in this area alone. We also promote this in the communities where we work. We are teaching these ethnic cultures to love the environment and the plants.We are teaching them to discover and get to know them.”

This is why the students are increasingly aware of the harmful impact of the deforestation of the Amazon on their future and their nature-focused culture. 

For years Sr. Edelmira has been teaching new generations the principles in the encyclical “Laudato si’,” even before it was written by Pope Francis. The comprehensive development of the Amazon’s inhabitants depends on the care of their shared home.

SR. EDELMIRA PINTO
Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul
“Fighting for cultures and for biodiversity is worth it. Faced with so many economic hardships, the people choose to destroy the environment. If they have other means to survive, then they will be the protectors of the planet. In order to flourish, these cultures must stay on their land. They must love their land. Their land is green. That’s why the Church and the world must take a chance.”

This green school would like to be a message for the synod in Rome: Everything that is planted in fertile Amazonian land, with a little attention and dedication, will sprout.