A family journey towards Integral Ecology !

My name is Angèle, I'm 30 years old. I live in Caen and I've been married to Nathanaël for 8 years. We have 3 children between 7 and 4 years old. 

In order to talk about ecology, I am going to start by sharing with you my spiritual journey. 

I grew up in a devout catholic family. My parents spent some time with the Chemin Neuf community and I also went through the youth camps when I was 14 to 20 years old. I grew up a lot spiritually in this companionship, enjoying the joy of the songs and dances of charismatic renewal, the friendship with other believers of my age and the depth of the teachings. 

At the age of 20 I spent a year at the School of Faith in Coutances, a school run by the 12 dioceses of the West, which is now closed. One year to be formed and grow in one's faith. There I met my husband and deepened my taste for helping others. In particular, we had a "pastoral insertion" every week, I met elderly people in a retirement home. 

I also spent several weeks in a home at l'Arche in Trosly Breuil that year. During my studies I also worked in a nursing home.  I then worked in a consulting firm to promote disability in Normandy companies. 

Nathanaël is a carpenter by training. Following the closure of the last company he was in, he was a salaried entrepreneur in a Coopérative d'Activité et d'Emploi for a year. Following this, a friend with a motor disability arrived in Caen and needed helpers... Sensitivity to disability being shared, he has been working part-time with him for 4 years. 

Our children arrived in 2013, 2014 and 2016, all very close together. This led us to move 3 times in 3 years. A lot of changes that made us realize how much we have accumulated over the years... very often "just in case". 

In 2016, I chose to take parental leave when our 3rd child was born to be more present at home. And it was during these first months at home that I fell into the pot of ecology... via homemade food and the zero waste approach. 

Of course, I had followed the events of 2015: COP 21 and the publication of Laudato Si, but I hadn't been able to do it on my own... Discovering that I could become independent by making my own household products or by discovering easy bread recipes, etc... A field of possibilities opened up! 

In 2017, we followed a diocesan formation called "Parcours Nicodème" to walk with other families in the faith. During a weekend that brought us together in Lisieux, we had a teaching on the importance for Christians to be witnesses in the world, for example by getting involved in politics. 

And also by getting involved in the protection of the environment. 

It resonated so much with what we had been doing concretely for months, that we felt a great invitation from the Lord to continue and to testify. 

When my consultancy firm announced a redundancy plan, I volunteered to leave. I wanted to promote ecology in my work. I first gave zero-waste workshops on a volunteer basis and then created Effet Colibri !

It is a company that supports the zero waste approach, in particular through conferences and workshops in Caen. I have at heart to show that a simple life aligned with its values is possible. 
My parish was the first place where I gave a conference! It started the Green Church label in 2018. 

Another milestone in our ecological journey has been the self-construction of our tiny house. It led us to reflect on our basic needs. It has been a great adventure. We're not going to live in it full time with 5 people, but we're going to be there on weekends and holidays. We bought a small piece of land on which we are going to make a vegetable garden. We would also like to propose it as a hermitage near Caen for anyone who would like to go "green" for a day or a weekend. 

We have in our hearts to travel with her, to go and see Eco-places and Christian communities involved in ecology... I hope that this will become a reality in the years to come ! 

The Pope's encyclical has put words to what we live daily! 
"Sobriety that is lived with freedom and consciousness is liberating.

It is not less life, it is not a low intensity of life, but quite the opposite; for, in fact, those who enjoy more and live each moment better are those who stop pecking here and there, always seeking what they don't have, and who experience what it means to value each person and each thing, learning to get in touch and knowing how to enjoy the simplest things.

This way they have fewer unsatisfied needs, and are less tired and tormented.

You can live intensely with not much... Happiness requires the ability to limit certain needs that numb us, thus making us available to the many possibilities life has to offer!"


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