Over the next seven weeks, we will reflect on Aguchita in light of Pope Francis' encyclical letter Laudato si': On Care for our Common Home. Through the weeks, we will be enlightened, challenged, and inspired through Francis' words and Aguchita's life. In this first week, as world leaders gather at COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, we continue our journey with Aguchita by reflecting on the introduction to Pope Francis' encyclical.
In the introduction, Francis lays out his vision of global environmental deterioration and spirituality of care. The introduction begins with the words "Laudato si', mi' Signore" – "Praise be to you, my Lord." These are the words of the beautiful canticle written by St. Francis of Assisi that remind us that our common home is "like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us."
The vision of the earth as both sister and mother can be understood to be integral to Aguchita's spirituality. Like Francis of Assisi, Aguchita lived her life in constant relationship with God and all Creation. She gave praise to God for our common home. When living with the contemplative community in Salamanca, Aguchita would go to the gardens of the convent with one of the rheumatic sisters, telling her that it would do her body and soul good. As Sr. Mercedes Acevedo recalled, Aguchita believed that the earth was capable of "taking hold of the disease."
Aguchita understood the interconnectedness of everything. Do you feel united to nature in a similar way that honors and cares for the interconnectedness of all things? Like Francis of Assisi and Aguchita, can you move from "seeing ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will" to a vision, spirituality and understanding of the earth in which you see her as your sister and your mother, who wants to embrace you, take hold of you and care for you?