By Lynn Wybiral | March 23, 2017
If you’ve been around Marian University long, no doubt you instinctively know the Franciscan Sponsorship Values
: Dignity of the Individual, Peace and Justice, Reconciliation and Responsible Stewardship. In the 2016-2017 academic year, we celebrate Peace and Justice. Furthermore, based upon the Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching, each month we are encouraged to learn about and live one of the themes.
Care of God’s Creation is the theme for the month of April. Since I grew up on a farm in rural Indiana, I was intrigued to learn more about Marian University ties to Michaela Farm as this theme of Care of God’s Creation is exemplified daily. This farm in Oldenburg, Indiana was founded in 1854. Sister Theresa Hacklemeier, foundress of Marian University, began Michaela Farm to help feed the children who were orphaned because of a cholera outbreak. Beginning with 40 donated acres, the farm is named for its first manager, Sister Michaela Lindemann. Today, under the guidance of a professional farm manager, the farm utilizes natural farming practices, no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.
Michaela Farm provides fresh produce, eggs, and meat for the Motherhouse at the Sisters of St. Francis. The Farm Store is also open to the public year round. Seasonal produce (May-October) includes fresh and dried herbs, honey, fruits, and vegetables. Flowers, annual and biennial plant transplants are available in the spring. The farm also offers hands-on learning experience through a Community Sponsored Agriculture program. For a fee, community members have input in what is grown, experience how it is grown and share in the harvest. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone willing to experience farming up close.
What better place than the soil of Michaela Farm in Oldenburg where upon arriving in America, Sister Theresa Hacklemeier first settled does Marian University’s roots to the land, to nature, to God’s creation, exemplify a living belief in the Franciscan Value of Peace and Justice. With much more information to be discovered and as can be read on their webpage, Michaela Farm embodies the Franciscan spirit, the Sisters’ belief in caring for God’s creation. Agriculture, education and spirituality merge as Michaela Farm lives the Franciscan value of “just relationships with all Creation”. This value is core to our attitudes toward Earth and is a source of inspiration and motivation for our work. Michaela Farm expresses this value by these actions:
- Simple living
- Seeing all (creation) as “kin”
- Respectful use of resources
- Striving for sustainability
- Gratitude, hospitality and sharing
Any and all are invited to experience, enjoy and learn about Marian University’s connection to “life down on the farm” by taking the short 60 mile drive on I-74 southeast of Indianapolis to Oldenburg, Indiana...even if, but especially if you are not a farm gal like me! The farm also provides a place of spiritual nourishment in its walking trails, labyrinth and retreat house.
Volunteers, individuals and groups, are always needed and welcomed. Whether a one day experience or a longer term commitment, volunteer work days provide educational opportunities and are scheduled once each month from April through November. The first for 2017 is scheduled for Saturday, April 8. If interested in volunteering, please call (812) 933-0661 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org