By Alison  Bradish

Tashia Toupin, had a strong message and big words of encouragement as she addressed attendees of the Regional Fall Gathering of the Moose Jaw and Marquis Catholic Women’s League. 

Toupin is the Social Justice Coordinator for the Archdiocese of Regina.  Speaking to about 30 women in the basement of St. Joseph’s Church in Moose Jaw November 2nd, Toupin recognized many in the audience, including her mother, as Moose Jaw is her hometown.

A graduate of Vanier Collegiate, Toupin earned an education degree from the University of Regina and later obtained a Master of Divinity from the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto.  

The theme for her talk was Care for our Common Home, which is also the theme for the CWL this year.   Her address focused on Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si released in May 2015.

Toupin had a backdrop of slides from the Amazon rainforest, sharing statistics about that part of the world.  She noted Archbishop Don Bolen was invited and participated in the Amazon Synod in Rome last month, and that the topics covered in Laudato Si are of great importance to our Archbishop and the worldwide Church.

Toupin shared facts about the Amazon region, including that it is home to 28 million people, 390 different Indigenous groups and spans nine countries, however 60 per cent of the Amazon region is in Brazil.   The Amazon also contains 10 per cent of the worlds’ biodiversity, and 20 per cent of the planet’s fresh water supply, said Toupin.

The ecological crisis is impacting more than natural habitats, explained Toupin, it is impacting whole life systems, including that of our brothers and sisters, many of whom are losing lands to big cattle farmers.  When the land is no longer being used for ranching, it is turned into soy and corn crops to feed the cattle, while neighbouring communities, pushed off the land are literally starving, said Toupin. 

Toupin gave attendees time to reflect on a number of question including what good they would like to provide for future generations, and reflecting on passages from Genesis (2:5), asking participants their thoughts about it, after learning that the word “till” as in tilling the land, can be translated as the word serve.  After a few minutes someone from each table shared their thoughts.   

Toupin spoke about “rapidification” a term Pope Francis’ uses in the encyclical to emphasize how our modern culture has increased the pace of life and become a throw away culture, not thinking of the long-term consequences.  Rapidification is not integral to human development and it is not sustainable, said Toupin.

“We consume to discard….we value stuff over people,” said Toupin pointing out the depravity of the situation, and that it is happening in our own communities (she used Regina as an example where body rub parlours are regulated not banned despite some of them being used as a front for human trafficking).  “We have a role to from that culture of care, that culture of compassion and of course we uphold the dignity of life, it’s all related” said Toupin.

Toupin affirmed the CWL in their work.  She acknowledged the influence they have in their families and parishes.  Toupin has been a guest speaker at other CWL gathering including the Archdiocesan gathering earlier this year in Weyburn.  She encouraged the women to make use of the tools available to them for their mission, including the resources the Archdiocese of Regina has for group studies regarding Laudato Si.

 Alison Bradish lives in Moose Jaw with her husband and two children.  They attend St. Joseph’s Parish.   She earned Bachelor of Arts in Journalism at the University of Regina.  She is naturally curious about local and world events.  She writes from her home where she strives to bloom where she is planted.    She often feels pulled to the topics of religion, education and politics.

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