In May 2015 Pope Francis launched his encyclical with the subtitle “On Care for our Common Home” and the title “Laudato Si’” which are the opening words for a hymn composed by St Francis of Assisi in the 1200s.
For our time, this document is both relevant and important, since it highlights the priority that respect for the environment should have in Catholic life, and integrates the notion with what is central to our understanding of humanity’s relationship with God.
It is striking that many of the issues raised in Laudato Si’ find a parallel in the writings of Julian Tenison Woods. We can be proud of the fact that Julian Woods, as co-founder with Mary MacKillop, injected into the foundations of the Sisters of Saint Joseph a sense of the integration of spirituality and nature and set an example of science being a means of relationship with God. We remember, however, that he lived in a different time from us, and no-one is suggesting that his perceptions of creation and his world are the same as those of Pope Francis. But like a thread that runs through the whole garment, Julian’s words do illustrate his insights into a constant theme that can be traced from the Gospels to our era, and they, like those of Laudato Si’, can help us recognise these teachings as foundational to our faith.
In this five-part webinar, Sr Mary Cresp explores some of the parallels between the work of Pope Francis and Julian Tenison Woods. Sr Colleen Keeble assists her in the presentation.
You’re invited to watch the first part of the webinar below: