Sister M. Cletus Rymer, OSFMay 17, 2019
Sister M. Dominica Niedbala, OSFJune 11, 2019
The trees have been unusually beautiful this spring.
The abundant rain and cooler temperatures made for a slow unfolding of the tree blossoms. And they have been profuse! From the early magnolias (which miraculously didn’t get nipped by frost) to the whites and pinks and purples of the cherry, plum, apple and other fruit trees to the pink and white dogwoods and the just-now opening lilacs spreading their fragrance, it’s been glorious.
Those images were what came to mind when I read a Letter to the Editor the other week. Now, that page usually doesn’t catch my eye and uplift my heart. But that day it did. The caption was intriguing, definitely not typical: “Spring message.” The writer noted that despite the difficult political and social realities around us, Mother Earth is offering her annual antidote: spring. She wrote of the lavish, almost intoxicating beauty that offers its therapy for a culture that has lost its soul. Spring, she said, is our creator’s life-saving message and a love-gift that teaches us the importance of the compassion and love we share now and leave as our legacy.
That message certainly was evident during our Earth Day celebration. While our focus was on species at risk, students gathered around the animals we brought in, petting and holding and cuddling. The Lourdes University, Gubbie, a gray wolf named after the wolf of Gubbio, tamed by St. Francis of Assisi, pointed out the gray wolf as one of the endangered species.
It was also evident as we gathered to celebrate S.A.V.E.’s Awards Night, featuring local groups and individuals, as well as schools and educators who are making a difference for the environment. New friendships were formed, relationships established, interconnections strengthened. The mood was hopeful as the students just starting on their environmental quests and those who have been striving long-time shared their stories and their passion.
So, this spring, let’s open our eyes – and our hearts – to the world around us, drink in the beauty and the healing offered by our Earth. May our spirits rejoice and our souls sing along with the British poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, “the world is charged with the grandeur of God.” May we echo the affirmation of Genesis on the goodness of all creation and work toward making that goodness more evident, for the sake of our Mother Earth and the people and creatures that depend on her. Let’s learn a lesson or two from those purple plum trees!