Celebrating Francis with Faith, Fern & Compass

Happy St. Francis Day!

Today, October 4, is the feast day for Il Poverello. And I have a confession to make: lately when I’ve been talking about St. Francis, it’s usually been to compare him to St. Hildegard of Bingen, who (this coming Sunday) will be declared a Doctor of the Church, an honor that Francis does not share (although his follower, St. Bonaventure, is a member of the Doctor club). When I’ve compared Francis and Hildegard, the question I’ve pondered is this: “Which one is more deserving of the title ‘Patron Saint of the Environment’?”

Traditionally, that role has belonged to Francis. But Hildegard could supplant him — or at least, grab equal billing. But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve decided that the saints from Assisi and Bingen bring differing gifts to their respective love for God’s good creation.

I spell this out in a post I’ve submitted to the Faith, Fern & Compass blog, called Poverty, Nobility, and the Patron Saint of the Environment. Follow the link to check it out.

Faith Fern & Compass: Podcast and Blog

FF&C belongs to my friends Ali and Jeff Lilly, who are exploring “Nature Spirituality in the Digital Age” in their work — a podcast as well as a blog. Jeff and Ali are Druids with a strong interfaith sensibility: Catholic social teaching and Buddhist ethics are part of their spiritual story as well. So when they approached me earlier this year about writing for their blog on the subject of nature spirituality from a Christian contemplative perspective, I thought it was a worthy conversation to explore. So I will be showing up on their site from time to time (and will try to remember to post links here when I do).

So my piece and Francis and Hildegard is actually the third posting I’ve written for FF&C. The first post introduced the idea of exploring nature spirituality from a Christian contemplative perspective, while the second talked about Hildegard. Here are links to all three:

Happy reading. And happy St. Francis’s Day!

Sanctity and Struggle, or, Why Saints Have Chaotic Inner Lives (Hint: It's Because We All Do)
Pentecost and Ecstasy
Mysticism and the Divine Feminine: An Interview with Mirabai Starr
In Memoriam: Kenneth Leech
About Carl McColman

Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.

  • Ed

    On St. Francis Day, I would like to point to the recent biography on St. Francis. It is more realistic than most (attempting to avoid or normalize the abundant hagiography and legend surrounding Francis) to present a flawed, and called human being. It is by Augustine Thompson, a Dominican. I am still reading it, but very impressed so far.


    • Carl McColman

      Can we trust the Dominicans to write a balanced biography of Francis? :-)

      For anyone who’s interested, here’s a link to the book Ed mentions: Francis of Assisi: A New Biography by Augustine Thompson.