By Sr. Mary Assumpta Glaser, OSF
"Laudato si, mi signore, per sor aqua"
--St. Francis, Canticle of Creatures
In St. Francis's Umbrian dialect, "per" has various translations. How may one's vision and appreciation change with a prayerful reflection of each phrase?
Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Water, with Sister Water, in Sister Water, for Sister Water, by means of Sister Water, so very useful, humble, precious, and pure.
Have you ever wondered, what is the source of the water that comes from a faucet in your home? Is there some huge underground storage tank? Yes, there are large reservoirs called aquifers. These are geological water-bearing formations capable of yielding enough water to supply people’s needs.
God, a very wise artist and architect, had a magnificent plan in creating the earth, making it a giant filtering system of soil, sand, gravel and rock. As precipitation falls in the form of rain and snow the water seeps into the soil, is filtered through the sand and rock and pulled deeper and deeper into the earth by gravity. The water that gathers in the rock formation is called ground water. By drilling wells into the aquifer, ground water is brought into storage areas in towns and cities and from there dispersed to homes, hospitals, schools and many other needed locations.
Since the earth is like a huge sponge absorbing precipitation, it behooves us to keep it as free from pollution as possible. Some of the major causes of pollution are contaminated surface water, leaks from sewer pipes and septic tanks, seepage from landfills and buried radio-active waste and misuse of agricultural chemicals. Once an aquifer is contaminated it is very difficult to clean up.
Another important challenge is to use water wisely and respectfully. An aquifer does not have an endless supply of water. Since aquifers are found in various underground areas around the country it is easy to understand they will not refill at the same rate because of the differing amount of precipitation. Aquifers can be overused resulting in a scarcity of water. This has happened in some of the suburbs in the Chicago area. Fortunately, these communities are able to use water from Lake Michigan.
The U.S. Department of the Interior provides a wealth of information and diagrams at to better understand the complete Water Cycle. Click here to view their website.
Many villages in Tanzania are without safe drinking water for cooking and caring for their basic needs. They do need safe water for life and dignity. W.H. Auden once said, "Many people live without love, but no one lives without water."
The construction of ring wells in Tanzanian villages is a collaborative effort between the villagers, an NGO (non-governmental organization) called Safe Water for Life and Dignity, and supporters of the Sister Water Project. Please feel free to click on the following link to view a list of materials needed to construct a well along with a donation form if you would like to contribute to this worthwhile project.
Cost of Well and Donation Form.
With each piece that is purchased, an acknowledgment will be sent to you. As a result of your gift, families will have water available to them, health will be greatly improved (in Tanzania, Malaria is the leading killer of children), women will have more time to care for their homes, children will have an opportunity to stay in school - all because they won’t have to be traveling miles each day to obtain water.
Completed well in the village of Kidago B, Tanzania
We ask you to please consider a gift to the Sister Water Project.
Srs. Shell Balek, Carol Besch, Pat Farrell and Associates Theresa Deutsch, Sheri Hosek, Nancy Knipper, and Mary Ann Koch.
The Sister Water Committee
The singular, overall goal of the Sister Water Project is to help provide sustainable water accessibility to people in Honduras and Tanzania.
To view projects completed click on the below link:
Sister Water Completed Projects
The Sister Water Project and Today's Tanzanian Connection
(click on picture above to view more information)
To view the Sister Water Brochure click on the link below:Brochure
For more information on the Sister Water Project contact:
Sr. Carol Besch, OSF
3390 Windsor Avenue
Dubuque, Iowa 52001-1311
To donate to the Sister Water Project, send a check to:
The Sisters of St. Francis
3390 Windsor Avenue
Dubuque, Iowa 52001-1311
-or- click on the link below for our website donate page.