Reconnecting with Nature Through an Alpaca Farm

Lorrie Herber works at an alpaca farm run by the Sisters of Providence in Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. She explains how the farm supports the sisters’ mission to care for creation.

“I’m a really firm believer that most of the issues that we have as humans both physically and mentally are a result of a disconnection between ourselves and nature,” Lorrie shares.

Video Transcript

Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana: home to 35 alpacas.

Lorrie Herber: So this is where our girls live. They’re like a 150-pound cats. They’re not at all mean. It’s just that they may not be into you. You know, they have these big, soulful, expressive eyes, and I think people really kind of tune in to that, and they kind of see themselves in the eyes of an alpaca.

Hi, Georgie. Georgie’s one of my favorites. Shh. Don’t tell anybody.

The alpacas support efforts by the Sisters of Providence.

Lorrie: There’s been a working farm here at the motherhouse of the Sisters of Providence since 1840. Care for creation became a very important part of their thinking, and they started the White Violet Center, and when they did, they started growing organically. And then they’ve been able to teach fiber arts and crafts to demonstrate, again, the inter-connectiveness of all creation through the alpaca and the gifts that they provide to us.

This color, this rose gray, is considered the most desirable color in an alpaca. It makes a really beautiful heathered kind of a yarn, in effect. With their fiber, we make yarn, which we sell by the skein, or we provide to crafters who knit, weave, or crochet handmade items — scarves, hats, and other items — that we sell to support the ministry.

The blacks are rich — a very rich color, very beautiful. And you can see this is fiber from Onyx, and so we’re able to trace the product from the mill. The crafters and the people who buy our yarn really love that. I mean, they really love knowing that they’re working with Alisa’s yarn, or with Sully’s yarn. It creates that connection that sometimes is lost.

I’m a really firm believer that most of the issues that we have as humans, both physically and mentally, are a result of a disconnection between ourselves and nature. We lose the understanding of how we are interconnected, and why everything on earth is so important. I think when we replenish that, and we rediscover that, that we become healthier as a result.

Right, Ruth? Right, Ruthie?

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