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The story of the Benedictines and ARC

Lambeth 2005:

Presented by Joanne Robinson

ARC has been working with the Benedictine Order since 1999 and I wanted to find a way to describe how their lives are fully intertwined with the realities of the world around them, with issues of poverty, peace and environmental stewardship. But running through all this and around all this is the idea of creation being penetrated by God. As St. Benedict, the 6th century founder of the Order said, everything is enveloped in a ray of light.

I have been talking with Father David who said that that this idea is reflected in the following words of a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins:

The world is charged with the grandeur of God
It will flame out like shining from shook foil
It gathers to a greatness like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then not reck his rod….

And for all this nature is never spent
There lives the dearest freshness deep down in things
And though the last lights off the black West went
Morning at the brown brink eastward springs
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and bright wings

"And for all this nature is never spent
There lives the dearest freshness deep down in things"
Like many of the stories we have heard today, the Benedictine commitment to environmental issues falls naturally within their spiritual tradition.

We work directly with monasteries in Brazil and Guyana on forest and river restoration, on organic agriculture and the cultivation of medicinal plants. But the work of the monastery is very much at one with the needs of the community outside.

We have also been working with the Benedictines on a detailed environmental handbook and audit kit that is being produced in Spanish, Portuguese and English to give it the widest possible use in Latin America and parts of Africa.

Although the book has been produced from within the Benedictine tradition, following their idea of everything being enveloped in the same light, we hope that this can be widely and practically used by all faith traditions.

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