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Benedictine network | Benedictine Handbook | Benedictine Handbook: Preface

Benedictine network

The Benedictine Abbey of Saint Andrew near Brugge, where ARC discussed environmental projects with the heads of congregations in 2004

In 2007 ARC helped the Benedictine sisters of Glinodo Earth Centre at Lake Erie publish an accessible, simple-to-use environmental handbook for low-income rural and urban Benedictine communities in Latin America. Listening to the Earth (known as Ouvindo o Planeta Terra and Escuchar a la Tierra in Portuguese and Spanish respectively) was produced with the editorial assistance and guidance of ARC, and the financial assistance of the World Bank.

It is expected to be a valuable resource for many Benedictine and other communities around the world. For example, in October 2007 ARC received this email from a Benedictine prior in Kenya:

"Just yesterday we received the Book LISTENING TO THE EARTH. It gave me a slipless night for I started reading it after compline and only realised that it was nearly three o'clock when I went to sleep. The part on energy/ electricity is of particular interest for me. Many thanks for the book. We will go through it "pole pole" slowly with the community. Thanks again yours in Christ. Fr. Florian OSB"

Link here to read the preface in English and here to go to the project page about the handbook, and learn how it was written and how it is being used.

Other ARC projects with Benedictines include:

Benedictine community at Mora Camp, Lower Mazaruni River, Guyana

Benedictines and their sister orders have a keen interest in caring for God's creation
This Benedictine community works closely with the surrounding lay community in an area adjacent to the arboretum of the Forestry Commission. The community also own an island in the nearby river that they have left as a bird sanctuary.

ARC is supporting their work to create a buffer zone between the agricultural land and the rainforest – there is a good relationship between the Forestry Department and the community – and to develop nature trails and forest related education activities. The community also hope to employ environmental principles in the structure and running of their lands and buildings.

Mora camp was one of the communities trialing the new environmental handbook and audit.

Benedictine community at Rio Branco, Brazil

A detailed plan has been drawn up by an agricultural engineer for the community to restore the forest area on and around its lands using a variety of native species.

The structure of the planting will also enable the community to organically grow their own fruit, vegetables and a range of medicinal plants.

The Rio Branco community also trialed the new environmental handbook and audit.

Benedictine Communities around the World

There are some 122 monasteries in Latin America, 93 in Africa, 87 in Asia and 11 in Oceania, with the size of the communities varying considerably from around 5 to over 300. Around each of those monasteries is a sizeable lay community of people outside, with whom they work.

Link here for an account in English of the work of Alliance for International Monasticism, which links many of these communities.

Read more about Earth Force

Link here to contact the sisters at the Lake Erie-Allegheny Earth Force.

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Related information

Projects overview
A complete listing of all current ARC projects
Projects overview
A complete listing of all current ARC projects
December 3, 2010:
Nigerian religious leaders unite in London to address environmental crisis
Four senior Christian and Muslim leaders from Nigeria will come to the UK next week for a high profile meeting with senior British Bishops, other faith leaders and politicians to discuss the key faith role in the environment in Africa.