St Francis of Assisi and love for Mother Earth


The heavens declare the glory of God;

the skies proclaim the work of [God’s] hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech;

night after night they reveal knowledge.

They have no speech, they use no words;

no sound is heard from them.

Yet their voice[b] goes out into all the earth,

their words to the ends of the world. (Psalm 19:1-3)

When you read this article, dear friend, we will be nearing the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi and the conclusion of what has come to be called “The Season of Creation”, a liturgical observance that Pope Francis and many other religious leaders around the world have encouraged in recent years.  The season begins on September 1 and concludes with the feast of Francis.

As we see in text of Psalm 19 above, God’s “word” is not confined to human words in human languages, words written on the page or the screen.  Rather, God’s Word is Christ, spoken at the dawn of creation, a Word that bathes all of Creation in Christic energy, that takes human form in the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, and that continues to speak to us today, in the cries of the Earth and of the poor.

In recent years, with the ecological crisis that has become increasing apparent since the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring back in the 1960’s, we are coming to a deeper understanding of how our relationship with Mother Earth is connected with our relationships to one another and especially to those who are on the margins of our economic systems.  This is apparent in our present geopolitical crisis and how it directly impacts the poor of the Earth, who are the first to experience a crisis of clean water and healthy food for feeding themselves and their children.

One of the projects of Solidarity with South Sudan is the Solidarity Agricultural Project in Riiminze, which endeavors to help their clients come to a deeper understanding and appreciation of our relationship with and dependence on Mother Earth.  The staff of the project do this by teaching people how to farm sustainably, in a way that protects and conserves precious resources while also helping people to feed themselves, their families, and the larger community.  On Thursday 20 October 2022 from 2 to 4 pm (Rome Time), Solidarity with South Sudan invites you to participate in a webinar titled “Good practices in Sustainable Agriculture: the Riimenze Community in South Sudan” with Sister Rosa Le Thi Bong, a Religious of Our Lady of the Missions (RNDM), who served as director of the farm for many years.

Among the feasts that occur during the Season of Creation is that of the great Hildegard of Bingen, Benedictine nun, mystic, and saint, declared by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI a Doctor of the Church in October of 2012.  I will close with one of her prayers:


The earth is at the same time mother,

She is mother of all that is natural,

mother of all that is human.

She is the mother of all,

for contained in her are the seeds of all.

The earth of humankind contains

all moistness, all verdancy, all germinating power.

It is in so many ways fruitful.

All creation comes from it.

Yet it forms not only the basic raw material for humankind,

but also the substance of the incarnation of God’s son.

Date Published:

29 Sept 2022


Fr. David, Mission Promoter


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Latest news, South Sudan, Solidarity, Sustainable agriculture, San Francis

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