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The Assisi Poems 2011

January 22, 2019:

Stars on an Assisi ceiling. By Katia Marsh

In 2011 Jay Ramsay wrote a thoughtful and challenging book of poems as a report and reflection about ARC's 2011 Assisi celebration to celebrate and inspire green pilgrimage.

They tell the stories of a pilgrimage that some delegates took to the hermitage of St Francis, high above the town, of a visit to the Basilica with delegates of all religions, and of the event itself, with its hope to help pilgrims and places of pilgrimage carve a new awareness of the importance of protecting sacred places, and walking mindful of the Earth.

Jay died on December 30, 2018. At ARC we've been thinking about these poems and with Jay's work with us over many years, as we celebrate his life and mourn him and miss him.

The Assisi Poems by Jay Ramsay

Video: The Canticle of the Creatures - A prayer by St Francis of Assisi

BACKGROUND to the Assisi Event

The 2011 Assisi event began on the evening of Monday October 31 2011 with a dazzling celebration in the 13th century Palazzo Monte Frumentario. Held in the presence of HRH Prince Michael of Kent, the ceremony brought together music, dance, ritual and teaching from many religions and cultures, illustrating their common sacred mission to care for the natural world with examples of projects worldwide.

Following this inspirational opening, some 90 delegates from around the world, representing all the major faiths, attended a two-day conference. This gathering launched the Green Pilgrimage Network, addressing the environmental impact of millions of pilgrims annually making their way to sacred sites, as well as review the achievements of the religion and conservation movement over the past 25 years. Finally the delegates looked at the way forward for religion and environmentalism in the light of their long-term plans and the challenges they face.

Download background on the Road to Assisi

About ARC

ARC was founded by Prince Philip in 1995 to help the world’s major faiths develop environmental programmes based on their own teachings, beliefs and practices, and has been working with the environmental side of sacred sites and pilgrimage routes for many years. In 2006 WWF-International and ARC published a ground-breaking document titled Beyond Belief which explored the role that faith can play in the protection of sacred forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, seas and deserts.


The ancient and beautiful city of Assisi is highly suitable as a venue to launch the Green Pilgrimage Network. It is the birthplace of the Catholic Saint of Ecology, St Francis (1181-1226) and has been a pilgrimage centre for almost 800 years. It will become one of the founding cities of the Green Pilgrimage Network.

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How ARC was formed
From its beginnings in Assisi in 1986, and later as a separate charity in 1995, how ARC grew into a worldwide network
December 6, 2007:
THEY MUST HAVE FAITH: poem about the faiths & forests conference
"They have come here to help their trees,/Who could not attend the meeting./ The forests may provide material for conference tables/ But they never get to sit around them... They must have faith." An incisive poem by Swedish artist Bosse Carlgren about the Faith and Forests meeting in Gotland.
Green Pilgrimage Network Launch & Celebration, Assisi, October 31 to November 3, 2011
ARC will formally launch the Green Pilgrimage Network, in Assisi, Italy, on October 31-November 4, in the presence of our founder HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. At the same time, we will celebrate 25 years of faith action on the environment and the growing recognition of religions as playing a pivotal role in protecting the natural world.