Reflecting on Earth Month, Contemplation and Care for Our Common Home

Photos of two women side-by-side, on the left is Mallory in ski gear on a mountain; on the right is Ursula standing in front of a cherry tree in blossom

(left to right): Mallory Hybl (NHS’22) and Ursula Gately (C’23)

For Mallory Hybl (NHS’22) and Ursula Gately (C’23), the Earth and the divine are sources of life that sustain human existence. They both see it as their duty and purpose to care for that which allows for this life and in caring for the Earth they also see themselves as living into the Jesuit value, Care for Our Common Home. Hybl and Gately also agree that the destruction of the Earth is more than an ecological crisis, it is a crisis of human justice that impacts marginalized populations throughout the world the most. 

Something else they share is the knowledge that this work is difficult and often leads to feelings of despair and burnout. When asked how they take care of themselves when they feel overwhelmed they both said they turn to their contemplative practice. 

Hybl and Gately were introduced to meditation as high school students. Hybl said her dad introduced her to the practice as a senior “as a way to connect more fully with a God that is love.” Gately began meditating in her first year of high school to help ground herself in the present moment “and connect with something larger than myself.”

Meditation was also something that helped them ease into life at Georgetown. “When I first came to Georgetown, I was really missing the mountains of my home in Colorado,” said Hybl. “In this homesickness, I stumbled upon the John Main Center for Meditation and Interreligious Dialogue (JMC). While sitting in the peaceful stillness of the JMC, gently repeating the mantra Maranatha, I experienced a nourishing feeling of oneness with the universe that I had thus far only experienced while quietly existing in the forests of my home.” It was also then that the concepts of environmentalism and contemplation converged and found resonance in Hybl’s life.

When Gately came to Georgetown she knew she wanted to meditate with the John Main Center. “I was in awe of the way in which sharing space with others while engaging in contemplative practice shaped the experience,” she said. “From that point onward, I kept coming back, building deep bonds in the community and delving deeper into the cultivation of loving-kindness towards myself, others, and our common home.”

For these reasons, the pair say it is truly a gift to have places like the JMC and the Dharmālaya, the Dharmic Meditation Center (DMC), on campus. These spaces exist in order to affirm all life, quench our thirst for divine connection, and encourage us to grow courageously in love to protect each other and our precious planet, they added

In addition to cultivating their own meditation practice, Hybl and Gately also lead meditation sessions at the JMC and are members of a new grassroots coalition of students, faculty, and staff to plan a week-long Earth Week Collaboration. 

The purpose of the Earth Week Collaboration is to highlight the work of individuals and groups on campus engaged in helping our Earth through a series of events, including movie screenings, speaker events, and other activities including their Peace on the Green meditation session. Hybl and Gately said these sessions will provide a space for people to contemplate self-care and nature, by inviting them individuals to take their practice outside and connect more deeply to the natural world. 

You can join Mallory and Ursula for Peace on the Green on Friday, April 22 at 8:30 am and 1:30 PM. Meet them at the John Main Center. 

Mallory Hybl (NHS’22) and Ursula Gately (C’23) are student leaders at the John Main Center for Meditation and Interreligious Dialogue at Georgetown University.