As countries around the world mark ‘Earth Day’ this week, we take a look at the legacy of St Francis of Assisi to the modern environmental movement…

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Bolton Morris was a remarkable Catholic artist who lived most of his life working in the Philadelphia area. This is one of a series of 20 or so painted panels, the above showing St Francis preaching to the birds, the series devoted to the lives of St Francis and St Clare. These were executed in acrylic paint on plywood panels for the refectory of the Monastery of St Clare in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. (boltonmorris.wordpress.com)

The Canticle of Brother Sun

by Saint Francis of Assisi

Most high, all-powerful, all good, Lord!
All praise is yours, all glory,
all honor and all blessing.

To you, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through all that you have made,
And first my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day;
and light you give to us through him.

How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Moon and Stars;
In the heavens you have made them,
bright and precious and fair.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
And fair and stormy, all the weather’s moods,
by which you cherish all you have made.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Water,
so useful, lowly, precious and pure.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
Through whom you brighten up the night.
How beautiful is he, how joyful!
Full of power and strength.

All praise be yours, my Lord,
through Sister Earth, our mother,
Who feeds us in her sovereignty and produces various fruits with
colored flowers and herbs.

All praise be yours, my Lord,
through those who grant pardon
For love of you; through those who endure sickness and trial.

Happy those who endure in peace,
By you, Most High, they will be crowned.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Death,
From whose embrace no mortal can escape.

Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those She finds doing your will!

The second death can do no harm to them.
Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks,
And serve him with great humility.