On Friday 27th January I watched this film made in response to Laudato Si – a letter Pope Francis wrote to all the people of the world…followed by four more letters to individuals whose lives and work are impacted by climate change to come to Rome to share their personal stories with him.
The four stories touched my heart deeply – the cinematography told in graphic images the reality of life for others who share this planet with me. To hear the story of indigenous people of South America having their land and livelihood taken by agri-business; the story from Senegal of people leaving on small boats to find a better life and how some have chosen to remain and to help others to stay and yet I watched as the rains came and washed away their homes and their schools. The two scientists from Hawaii spoke up as the voice of the natural world and showed us how the coral reefs are being lost and with them so much of our sea life and then a young girl from India who is using her energy to mobilise others to understand how each one of us can make a difference. Some might say this is nothing new, and yes the news of climate change is daily on our news bulletins but what is different here is to see and hear each one tell their own story from their heart.
As the film moved on the group travel to Assisi and this is where I found myself drawn in to the story of Saint Francis. Here we were seeing his statue not standing erect…but lying on the ground looking up at the sky…at the sun…at the stars…
The 27th January being the feast day of Angela Merici, our Ursuline foundress, and Angela being a Franciscan Tertiary spoke to me deeply. As the film moved around Assisi I was thinking of Angela living, walking and sitting in the fields around her home of Le Grezze in Desenzano…of her tending her vineyard…picking the grapes at harvest time and somehow her at-one-ness with nature and the cycle of all life from seed sowing to pruning to harvest became very real to me. I thought of her sitting in the fields one day, taking a break, and the vision she experienced that led her to founding the Company of Saint Ursula. I then began to wonder how Angela might respond today if she too watched the film…heard the stories…and what would she ask of me…of us as Ursulines today?