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Throwback Thursday in honor of Laudato Sii: Mother Earth Teaches

Mother Earth Teaches

Today Pope Francis releases his environmental encyclical “Laudato Sii,” whose name comes from Saint Francis’ of Assisi’s Canticle of Creation.

In celebration, we reshare last summer’s series “Earth Mother Teaches: Digging Deeper into Faith, Community and Justice” in which Franciscan lay missioner Annemarie Barrett reflects on what she has learned from working with communities in Cochabamba, Bolivia, on sustainable gardening. Her experiences echo Pope Francis’ integral ecology.

“If we live connected to the Earth, we realize that we depend on her just like she depends on us,” writes Annemarie. “When our food depends on our harvest and not the supermarket, we learn to respect the cycles of the soil, the seasons and the production. We learn to live in relationship to our Mother Earth and the people that work her.”

“My hope in this series is to share stories from my own process of conversion in relationship to our Earth and what this evolving relationship is teaching me about living simply, solidarity, care for creation and the ministry of presence, all values at the heart of Franciscan spirituality,” writes Annemarie.

On a visit to Santa Rosa.

Annemarie with the Santa Rosa community in Bolivia.

Posts in the “Mother Earth Teaches” Series:

To read each post, click on its headline.


  • NEW SERIES! Mother Earth Teaches: Digging into Faith, Community, and Justice “- My own conversion story begins from the perspective of city girl. But today is defined by my experiences working everyday in a small organic farm in the southern zone of Cochabamba and accompanying migrant farming families who now live in the city, far from their homeland.”
  • The Disconnection of Our Earth and the Call of Franciscan Mission “Through contact with the land, I woke up to the mutuality; the relationship one can form with the plants, as they live and breath just like us, as they nourish us while we nourish them.”
  • The Sacred Nature of Seeds –“I  have been invited to transform my way of relating to animals, with mutuality instead of superiority. I have been challenged to know that the natural order of our environment is not human centric, but holistic, wholly interdependent.”
  • The Marginalization of Farmers and Learning from Communities – “In connecting with the land, I am also growing closer to farmers. And in our time spent together I am learning more about their reality, their suffering and their resilience.”
  • Learning from Weeds – “In reconnecting with the Earth, I am learning to focus less on scarcity and more on the abundance of wisdom we have available to us through our relationship with the Earth.”

We prepare and support lay Catholics for two-year international, one-year domestic and 1-2 week short-term mission service opportunities in solidarity with impoverished and marginalized communities across the globe.

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