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‘Laudato Si’ Garden Shrine to St Francis

On 1st October we welcomed 20 adults and 9 children to our garden shrine to our patron saint, St Francis, for a Blessing by Fr Tom. Here is how I welcomed everyone by saying:

“It all started a year ago with my pledge in our ‘Live Simply’ campaign -prompted by Pope Francis’ encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ On Care for our Common Home.

Laudato Si’ – these are the first words of St Francis Canticle of the Creatures in praise of God and in gratitude for the wonders of our natural world to which he felt such kinship. He talks of Brother Sun and Sister Moon, Brother Fire and Sister Water. He is wedded to Lady Poverty. It was written in 1224 when he was sick at San Damiano. The final section in praise of Sister Death was written shortly before his death at Portiuncula in 1226.

Pope Francis writes: In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you my Lord, through our sister, Mother Earth, who sustains us and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs. This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her...”

Pope Francis calls for a global ecological conversion... To repent of the ways we have harmed the planet. He quotes Patriarch Bartholomew who calls on us:

“to accept the world as a sacrament of communion, as a way of sharing with God and our neighbours on a global scale. It is our conviction that the divine and the human meet in the slightest detail in the seamless garment of God’s creation, in the last speck of dust of our planet”.

Pope Francis reminds us of St Francis who, “faithful to Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness”.

This shrine is dedicated to raising my awareness, our awareness, of these truths; to inspire me, and you, to greater efforts; and to help bring about the ecological conversion of heart, the Pope is calling for - not looking for our own salvation alone – but our global salvation through love of others and through dedicating ourselves to the Care of our Common Home.

You will notice that the dedication stone appears broken. It was done by Alex Holmes, a stone engraver from the North of Scotland, who gave us a retreat last year. It was quite beautiful when he sent us photos of it. He then arranged carriage of it down here.

But on the way it was broken, comprehensively broken. It seemed like the end!

But then I thought: this is a symbol of the situation we are in.

The planet is damaged and broken in so many ways – and we must work to repair it...

So this is my dedication to the repair of the planet, delighting in the beauty of the natural world; and to the repair of myself to inspire and lead me to an ecological conversion”.

Then Fr Tom gave the Blessing. All together we said A Prayer for our Earth.

Then we all sang the Taize chant ‘Laudato Si’ O Mi Signore’.

Morag and Serge and children Saskia, Rosa and Esme accompanied us on guitars or violins.

You can listen to the recording, click on the speaker icon to the right:

The words are faint but if you would like to sing this prayer chant (with your family?) the words are set out here. Laudato Si o mi Signore  (Praise be to thee, O Lord) are the first words of St Francis’ canticle of the creatures, and also the first words of Pope Francis’ encyclical pleading for the world, for us, to change our ways and to take care of God’s creation, our common home.

You would be very welcome if you would like to visit our shrine and say a prayer there. Please call me.
Shelagh Layet

Chorus :    Laudato Si O Mi Signore

Yes be praised in all your creatures

Sun our brother, moon our sister

In the stars and in the breezes

Air and fire and living water


Thank you for the earth our mother

She who feeds us and sustains us

For her fruits, her grass, her flowers

For the mountains and the oceans


Life is but a song of worship

And the reason for our singing

Is to praise you for the music

Join the dance of all creation