Sister Mary-Ann Casanova PhD  – Eco-Hero Profile

Teacher, author, photographer, ecologist, student, farmer, and a Sister of Saint Joseph for almost 40 years… these are just some of the professions held by Sr Mary-Ann Casanova PhD.

Growing up in rural South Australia, Sr Mary-Ann spent her younger days cultivating in the solitude of a sheep station surrounded by iconic Australian flora and fauna. This was her first call to environmental advocacy.

“I have a deeply rooted love for the land, intertwined in my spiritual DNA,” says Sr Mary-Ann, who is also the Project Officer for the Sisters’ Explore-Embrace-Embody: A Laudato Si’ Action Plan for the Josephite Community.

This passion for ecology and devotion to her Catholic faith has seen Sr Mary-Ann take action where it counts. She worked for the Australian Catholic Bishops’ ecological agency, then named ‘Catholic Earthcare Australia’, for two years. Here she was commissioned by John Garratt’s publishing company to develop an illustrated book. Still selling today, Caring for God’s Earth teaches younger generations of their responsibilities in caring for one another, and the environment.

Along with fellow Sisters of Saint Joseph, Sr Mary-Ann also spent six years designing and trialling educational materials and workshops, linking Christianity with Ecology: a creation-centred spirituality. This resulted in the production of a series for educators to use, called Eco-Connections.

Sr Mary-Ann is optimistic for the future, excited for opportunities to take action in the ecology space, merging knowledge with practicality, and ultimately encouraging others to do the same. She is eager for the collective work of her fellow Sisters to encourage and educate supporters across the Josephite community.

“We’ve moved from being on the edges, to being kind of a catalyst, a maker of bridges, from one style of thinking to relating to a more ecological evolutionary kind of consciousness,” says Sr Mary-Ann.

A polymath Josephite, Sr Mary-Ann continues to share and develop her array of skills as a proud Sister of Saint Joseph.

For more information about the Sisters of Saint Joseph’s soft plastics campaign plus inspiration and ideas on how you can Take Action, visit their Laudato Si’ Action Plan website.