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.