St. Francis and Responsible Stewardship Begins Outside

Paul Keggington

April 04, 2011

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity are focusing on responsible stewardship of the natural environment in April community discussions. In this section of the article ‘Catholic Social Principles: Stewardship’, Sister Kathryn Klackner, OSF makes a practical application for students with reference to St. Francis of Assisi.

Franciscan Novice Sister Pamela Catherine Peasel and one of the Camp Franciscan campers enjoy retro rollar skating outdoors.

St. Francis of Assisi is a classic guru of environmentalism. His respect for all living and inanimate things, even in his singing rhetoric and dancing in the hills of Assisi, reflected his deep wonder and reverence for the Creator of all. His popular ‘Canticle of Creation’ speaks of the relationship of Creator with all creatures. Educational author Clare Lowell maintained that “if children don’t care about nature today, they won’t care about conserving it tomorrow when they’re adults.” (p. 219). St. Francis would agree. To have an investment in protecting something, one must care about it. To care for something, one must be connected and love it.

Perhaps the best environmental social justice lesson we can give students is to just be outside, in and with nature, to gain a personal and loving appreciation of the cosmos. Then reverence for the Creator and care for all of God’s creation will follow.

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