I love gardening! I am sure that some of you share in this love of mine. When I plant a seed and then it bursts through the soil stretching its new leaves to the sun, it gives me great joy. Not because I did anything (other than stick it in the ground and keep it moist), but because of the anticipatory waiting and watching of new life literally burst on the scene! Laudato Si’- Praise Be to You, God!!
This spring, Sister Pat (with whom I live in community) and I re-landscaped our front yard with native plants and also decided to plant two raised beds with vegetables in the Lutheran Community garden across the street. One evening in early May, we were watering our early spring veggies when the Lutheran Church’s pastor stopped to talk with us. His dedicated garden volunteer was having surgery and would be in a rehab hospital for a while. Would we, Sister Pat and I, be willing to take care of the entire community garden? Of course, we said yes! Our two beds had just multiplied from 2 to 14! The Lutheran school children had planted four beds and a neighbor had a bed of strawberries already, so we needed plants for seven more beds!
The church reimbursed us for the plants, but we chose to start some plants from seed. This summer my new seed is jícama (first syllable is pronounced like first syllable in hiccup). I received these seeds as a gift from a San Antonio Seminarian last summer when I was attending MACC (Mexican American Catholic College) to work on my Spanish fluency. I was helping him in his Laudato Si’ community garden and he gave me jícama seeds in return. If you have never tried jícama, you must! It is part of the potato family and is eaten raw, with a juicy, crisp bite, like an apple, and a very mild nutty flavor. Excellent addition to fruit salads, or add some lime and chili powder and yum! I can say as of this writing that three seeds have germinated and popped their heads above ground!
Maybe I have gotten your curiosity up: what is this Laudato Si’ phrase that I keep mentioning?? It is the title of an encyclical written by Pope Francis about Caring for our Common Home- our earth. The encyclical recognizes the interdependence we have between the earth and our own well-being and health. Many parishes and religious communities are in a process of creating a Laudato Si’ plan that weaves care of earth and care of people together.
The community garden across our street is a neighborhood community spot, with picnic benches and a sign that reads, “Pick what you need and weed when you can.” This is a place open for anyone to harvest what they need and provides fresh food right here in our neighborhood. What a great example of caring for our earth and each other. Laudato Si’ – Praise Be to You, God!
Can't get enough info about care for creation, and Laudato Si'? Good news: we have some podcasts for you! Check out this Random Nun Clip about how the Dominicans of Mission San Jose are doing their part, and this question from an Ask Sister listener about our responsibility toward our shared home.