Miriam Therese MacGillis

2005 Thomas Berry Award Recipient

Miriam Therese MacGillis is a member of the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell, New Jersey. She lives and works at Genesis Farm, which she co-founded in 1980 with the sponsorship of her Dominican congregation.

Miriam received her Masters in Art from the University of Notre Dame and has taught art at the high school and college levels. In 1973, she became coordinator of Peace and Justice Education for the Newark Archdiocese. In1976 she joined the staff of Global Education Associates as program coordinator and art editor of their publication, "The Whole Earth Papers.

Miriam describes Genesis Farm as a learning center where people of good will are welcome to search for more authentic ways to live in harmony with the natural world and each other. The farm practices Biodynamic methods of agriculture, which are in tune with the natural rhythms of Earth. It was one of the early pioneers in converting to Community-Supported Agriculture, (CSA) is a movement which has expanded across the country. Presently, nearly 300 families from the region are shareholders in its economic support. Miriam also coordinates programs exploring the work of Thomas Berry as he has interpreted the New Cosmology. An Earth Literacy program at Genesis Farms offers accreditation for both graduate and undergraduate students.

Miriam describes herself as having been formed by the three rivers which have shaped the regions of New Jersey where she has lived her life. She was born and lived her first 17 years in Bayonne, a small industrial city, separated from Manhattan by the Hudson River as it moves through its estuaries across the sweep of the New York Harbor. When she was 7 years old, her family began to clear a home-site in a heavily wooded area along the Musconetcong River in what was then a rural and sparsely settled region of northwestern New Jersey. On weekends and throughout the summer, they worked together to build a small cabin, and Miriam's childhood was deeply influenced by summers spent in the forests and fields of that watershed and the challenges of living for years without water nor electricity. Since 1980, she has lived along the Paulinskill River as it flows through the same watershed on its way to the upper Delaware River. Genesis Farm takes its place within a community of people and organizations working to preserve the wildlife, farms and rural communities of this highly threatened region.

Miriam lectures extensively and has conducted workshops in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia and the Pacific.

She invites us to see ourselves as a living part of a living cosmos, alive with love and connection. Her message is timely and timeless, spirited and inclusive.

"The universe is approximately 13.7 billion years old and earth hasn't seen devastation on this scale since an asteroid hit the planet 35 million years ago. Wasteful technology, industry, and human activity are destroying our life systems." Sister MacGillis said to ask ourselves as individuals "What am I putting my energy into? Is it for the better of all? "This is something we all need to consider while making individual choices. Let's begin to make choices that will collectively benefit the entire planet - including insects, animals, plants, as well as humans."

"We're at a moment where there are no guarantees as to the Earth's future. It's a question of our own critical choices. And I think what we're deeply in need of is a transforming vision....A vision that opens the future up to hope." Miriam MacGillis,OP, co-founder of Genesis Farm, from "Fate of the Earth"