Eating Spirit

Food, Faith, and Spiritual Nourishment in the Lives of Green Sisters


  • Sarah Macfarland Taylor Northwestern University



green sisters, food choice, sacred vows, ritual


This article examines the spiritual and moral significance of foodways to a growing movement of ecologically minded Roman Catholic women religious (green sisters) in North America. The author contends that, despite their exclusion from official positions of leadership within the hierarchical church, green sisters demonstrate their efficacy as active producers and shapers of religious culture at the grassroots level. Drawing ‘ingredients’ from cultural movements in American environmentalism, feminism, and social reform, adding to these heritage elements from Catholic vowed religious life as well as elements from their own creative theological imaginations, these women are devising recipes for a more ecologically and spiritually nourishing religious culture. Ultimately, green sisters’ decisions about appropriate food choice, the rituals of food preparation, and the rituals of honoring and consuming food bring the sacred vows of religious life into a new context—one in which mindful cooking and eating become indispensably part of a daily ecologically sustainable spiritual practice. This practice is premised on a vision of the human as not separate from but fundamentally a part of the larger life community.

Author Biography

Sarah Macfarland Taylor, Northwestern University

Northwestern University


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How to Cite

Taylor, S. M. (2006). Eating Spirit: Food, Faith, and Spiritual Nourishment in the Lives of Green Sisters . Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 11(4), 445–464.