Saints We Encounter Outdoors

"Farming and Homesteading with the Saints" by Andie Andrews Eisenberg - book and author pictured

In my book, 8 Steps to Energize Your Faith, I include “Delight in Nature and All of Creation” as one of the steps and explain that nature is a “vehicle for conversion, and because spirituality is ultimately about conversion—a deepening of our relationship with the Divine—we can experience conversion and grow in resemblance to our Creator by encountering nature and creation.” In short, the natural world serves as a significant portal to a deeper spirituality.

This is no secret to farmers! Or to anyone, in fact, who works with the soil, whether on a prairie, the outskirts of a small town, in a city garden, or in backyards. And none of this is lost on the Catholic Tradition, which celebrates many saints who are connected with agriculture, animals, rural life, and the natural world. In fact—and I did not know this until recently—the Church identifies saints who are patron saints of creatures, critters, flying things, horses, sheep, cats, dogs, beekeepers, gardeners, field hands, and shepherds. Where did I learn this? From a wonderful new book, Farming and Homesteading with the Saints, by Andie Andrews Eisenberg.

Catholics have long recognized that stories of the saints are a great way to connect faith to everyday living. As a catechist or parent of young people, you can help them not only delight in nature, but also to recognize the natural world as a spiritual portal—a place where we even encounter saints!

Don’t forget to download the Patron Saints Matching activity, featuring saints highlighted in Farming and Homesteading with the Saints.

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

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