In the Spirit of St. Francis

The Secular Franciscan Order of the St. Francis Region was invited to participate with Laudato Si’ Spirit in journeying with the Laudato Si’ Action Platform. Patricia Grace, OFS shares an update. 

In the Spirit of St. Francis:
Love the Lord, Love the Earth, Love God’s Kingdom

The message of the encyclical, Laudato Si’, is that it is our sacred duty to preserve the beauty and bounty of the earth, our common home, and to hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. The Secular Franciscan Order of the St. Francis Region accepted the invitation with joy and in gratitude to participate in integral ecology initiative of Laudato Si’ Spirit. It is a joyful way to be in community and celebrate the Franciscan family as we honor and fulfill this sacred duty.

In response to this invitation, we gathered on October 1, 2022 at Mission San Luis Rey for “Living and Leading Laudato Si’,” a workshop facilitated by Brother Keith Douglass Warner, O.F.M. Through animated presentations and lively group discussions we learned of the climate problems and the effects on our common home, Sister Mother Earth, suffered most profoundly by the poor.

Brother Keith also shared practical steps for integrating our Franciscan spirituality with Franciscan leadership to live out the vision of both St. Francis and Pope Francis. Laudato Si’ Spirit Program Coordinator, Mercedes Matthews, M.Div. offered resources and on-going support for taking ecological action and engaging with the Laudato Si’ Action Platform.

Many of us present took the message back to our fraternities. On February 13, 2023 we convened our first meeting of the Laudato Si’ Focus Group for the Secular Franciscans of the St. Francis Region. Our discussion was open and free-flowing, with many wonderful ideas set forth. At this time in our Franciscan lives and with this initiative, we wish to move forward with some practical and concrete steps.

  • Examine our own lifestyles to understand how we as individuals contribute to the climate crisis and the changes we may make in our own lives
  • Explore possible activities and actions by our fraternities and our parishes
  • Acknowledge possible civic engagement and participation in national and global Catholic initiatives for the care of our common home

Over the next two months we will take the message back to our fraternities and continue to reach out to other fraternities as we open the discussion for all voices to be heard. We wish to put on our Franciscan lens and move forward in carrying the message of Laudato Si’ to our fraternities and engage with our sisters and brothers there, in spiritual and practical activities that will further the call to care for our common home.

Peace and All Good,
Patricia Grace, OFS

Patricia is a member of the Immaculate Conception Fraternity and serves as the JPIC Animator for the St. Francis Region of the Secular Franciscan Order. She is also part of the Care for Creation Team for the Diocese of San Diego and a member of the Laudato Si’ Spirit Guidance Council.

Secular Franciscans from across the St. Francis Region gather for the “Living and Leading Laudato Si'” Workshop with Br. Keith Warner, OFM in October 2022.