The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian network founded in 1973


Saint of ecology

Wednesday November 29 this year will mark an anniversary of great topical significance: it will be exactly ten years since the Holy Father, in an Apostolic Letter, proclaimed St Francis of Assisi patron saint of ecology and of ecologists.

When doing so, Pope John Paul made particular mention of St Francis' famous "Canticle of Brother Sun" in which the Saint commends to God the praise which all creatures give Him by their being and purpose, and in which he refers to them as his brothers and sisters. "Sir Brother Sun," "Sister Water," "Brother Fire," "Our Sister, Mother Earth," and so on.

Although the Canticle is one of the great poems of all time, St Francis was not just being poetic in his imagery: he truly visualised every creature as his brother or sister in Christ, to be respected and loved as such.

This is surely the message he holds out to us, as we face the grave ecological crises which have so suddenly broken upon the world: which have become apparent in the brief decade - a micro-second when measured against the age of the earth - since Francis' appointment.

"The Earth is the Lord's and its fullness." The example of St Francis invites us to approach our current problems in the light of that truth, as God's stewards, and with our eyes open to the beauty of all that has been entrusted to us.

Let us then use the anniversary well, in thoughtfulness and in prayer.

Capt Peter Kimm OBE RN (Rtd)

The Universe

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