CARFLEO Retreat Resources

Resources supporting the CARFLEO Retreat on April 6, 7 and 8, 2021: Praying in, with and for Creation:  A spiritual integration of Laudato Si

Pope Francis at his installation mass proclaimed, “”Let us be ‘protectors’ of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment. Let us not allow omens of destruction and death to accompany the advance of this world!” This statement follows the footsteps of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI who called for ecological conversion. Even further back we see Pope Francis emulation his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi who was the patron of ecology as was St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

Autumn Peltier is the teen fighting to protect Canada’s water — meet 13-year-old Canadian Autumn Peltier. She speaks bravely, confidently and passionately, and as a so-called water walker, Peltier pleaded with Justin Trudeau to protect Canada’s water.
Autumn Peltier spoke at the United Nations for World Water Day, 2018.


Sister Mary Rowell is a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada.  Mary is a member of the Team at Villa St. Joseph Ecology and Retreat Centre in Cobourg, Ontario.  She is also a part-time faculty member at the University of Toronto where Mary teaches, Moral Theology and Catholic Social Teaching at St. Michael’s and Regis Colleges.  Additionally, Mary provides workshop and retreat facilitation with various Catholic School Boards which she always finds enjoyable and inspirational.

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Villa St Joseph Ecology and Spirituality Centre is owned and staffed by the Sisters of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada.  This historic building on the shores of Lake Ontario has a long and varied history. We value holistic spirituality inclusive of all peoples and all the earth.  We approach ministry and programs from an ecological, inter-faith and justice-oriented stance. Our centre offers a quiet, relaxing environment in which to rest, pray, reflect and be renewed in body and spirit.Les Miller is former member of the York Catholic District School Board where he served as Religious Education, Family Life Education and Equity Coordinator until he retired in 2010.

Les Miller is a founding member of CARFLEO and has worked tirelessly to maintain the website and our social media presence.  Les is an author and a teacher.  He loves to hike and to take photos of the beauty of creation.  In an interview about his book, Les writes: “Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’ energized my conviction that ecological conversion to a deeper and healthier relationship with the creation would lead to planetary healing. Northern Light celebrates our part within creation by seeing Canada through sacramental eyes.”

Ecology Links

Anam Duan Ecology Centre  The Anam Earth Center for Sustainability and Culture in New York State gets its name from the Irish Anam meaning “Life” or “Spirit” and Duan meaning “Song” or “Poem.” Pronounced AN’ um DOO’ an, it means the lifesong that binds together people, communities, cultures, the natural environment, and all life.

Arborvitae  Arborvitaea company based in Toronto, creates deeply reflective opportunities for peopleto nurture their spirituality through nature and realize the benefit ofconnecting with earth, air, light and water for their physical, mental,emotional and spiritual selves.

The British Carmelite Friars’ “Justice, Peace and theIntegrity of Creation,”  Integralto the Carmelite charism is a commitment to building peace, upholding justice,and maintaining the integrity of God’s Creation (sometimes abbreviated toJPIC). The Carmelite Family in Britain and across the world seeks to preachChrist’s Good News and build up God’s kingdom on earth by living in solidaritywith the planet and its people.

The Catholic Climate Covenant seeks to show respect for God’s creation by focusing on the link between creation and poverty embodied in the life and ministry of St. Francis and the words of the Psalmist: “The earth is the Lord’s and all it holds.” (Ps 24:1)

The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, whose participantsinclude a dozen national Catholic organizations including the U.S. Conferenceof Catholic Bishops, launched The Catholic Climate Covenant: The St. FrancisPledge to Care for Creation and the Poor to encourage greater personal andshared engagement by the Catholic community to respond to the impacts ofclimate change.

The Catholic Church in the European Union: Ecology and Sustainability In the Treaties the European Union professes the principles of sustainability, the protection of the environment and the fight against the causes and effects of climate change. Regularly these ambitions are in conflict with other aims of the EU like economic growth, agriculture and industrial policy.

Since 2008 COMECE has been engaged with the topic of climatechange and regularly stressed the necessity of an ecological conversion and adifferent and more sober style of life. In his encyclical «Laudato si» PopeFrancis has flagged up this idea with his concept of an «integrate ecology»that underscores the link between the protection of the environment andclimate, the fight against poverty, social justice, economy and politics.

Catholic Earthcare Australia  Asan agency of the Catholic Bishops Commission for Justice and Service, CatholicEarthcare Australia’s mission is to help promote understanding among peoplethat Creation is sacred and endangered, and must be protected and sustained forpresent and future generations yet unborn.

Catholic Social Teaching: Carefor Creation

Christian Ecology Link Catholic Page  Includesecological statements by Pope John Paul II.

Cornwall Declaration on EnvironmentalStewardship   Followed bycommentary by Bill Jacobs, Catholic Conservation Centre, UK.

Curriculum Support for Catholic Schools 2.0  ThisCD resource, published by ICE and the EOCCC contains a wealth of informationrelated to Catholic Education Week’s theme: And God Saw that it was Good. Lookunder the Catholic Theme: Stewardship for Creation to find resources fromScripture, Tradition, websites, quotes and much more.

Developmentof Catholic Social Teaching on Environmental Justice and Care of CreationArchdiocese of Hartford

Earthday Canada  EarthDay, which occurs each April 22, began in 1970 to promote constructive andsustainable environmental values, actions and solutions. Earth Day Canada (EDC)is a national environmental communications organization and a registeredcharity, which coordinates Earth Day/Earth Month events. The web site includesthe “Ecokids” link that is set up for student learning; information on theToyota Scholarship fund; and a page about EcoAction Teams. EcoAction Teams is asimple, practical program that Canadians can implement in their own homes. Theprogram provides the tools and resources to reduce your household’s impact onthe environment, while saving money at the same time. An extensive list ofschool speakers can be found on the EcoKids web site. School Earth Day eventscan be registered on-line and there are programs to assist in event planning. –MaryLouise Colantonio

Environmental Education Ontario (EEON)  Environmental Education Ontario is a coalition of professionals working to raise awareness ofthe importance of environmental and sustainability education across sectors of society in our province. EEON has taken the lead by facilitating the development and implementation of a public strategic plan for the growth of environmental learning. This web site includes the above mentioned plan and gives ways to promote environmental literacy across the curriculum from preschool to grade 12.

Envirolink The on-line environmentalcommunity   Envirolink website provides news, resources and links for a variety of ecological as well as animal rights issues. It has a wealth of resources as well as actions you can take. For teachers they have links to Educational Resources by topic. Thewebsite is maintained by volunteers. “EnviroLink is a non-profit organization…a grassroots online community that unites hundreds of organizations and volunteers around the world with millions of people in more than 150 countries. EnviroLink is dedicated to providing comprehensive, up-to-date environmental information and news.”–David Eamor

Government of Canada: Climate Change  This Government of Canada website explains climate change, the greenhouse effect and ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There are links to resources for teachers and students. Teachers can order a climate change teaching kit or find out what Canada is doing to combat climate change. The site is very simply written so students could use it to research climate change. In the resources for teachers there are also education projects, sources for school project funding and classroom information such as fact sheets and solar car kits available for purchase.–Mary Louise Colantonio

Integrity for Creation Resources of the Order of FriarsMinor  St. Francis had a profound respect for all of life.He experienced true solidarity with the poor and marginalized. As he embraced Lady Poverty, Francis was freed to live very simply, making peace in every encounter. It is these values that inspire our JPIC efforts. We work to bring about justice and peace in our world, to end violence and war, poverty and oppression and the destruction of our planet. Our efforts are often directed at the systems that cause this oppression and destruction. We work in collaboration with Franciscans and others around the world. We believe that these common efforts are gradually transforming our world.

In the Fullness of Creation:An Eastern Orthodox look at Creation by Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew

Laudato Si andStudy Resources

The National Ecology Commission of the NationalFraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order  The Ecology Commission of the National Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order in the United States of America has as its mission to witness prophetically that all creation, animate and inanimate, is of God and redeemed by Christ, and that the earth is sacred because it is the Lord’s.

Papal Statements on ecology

Renewing the Earth   An Invitation to Reflection and Action on Environment in Light of Catholic Social Teaching A Pastoral Statement of the United States Catholic Conference November14, 1991

St. Kateri Tekakwitha ConservationCenter     This is a very simple website that has a collection of writings on ecology and the environment from a variety of Catholic sources with a catholic slant. It is one page where everything is laid out for you. The website states that “Long before the current ecological movement developed, saints taught respect for all of God’s Creation. The mission of the Catholic Conservation Center is to promote ecology, environmental justice, and the stewardship of Creation in light of sacred Scripture and living Tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. The center is faithful to the Magisterium of the Church.”

Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA)  Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA) is a non-governmental organization that provides an activist voice for local Toronto concerns. TEA focuses on five environmental campaigns: smog and climate change, waste, water, toxics, and transit. TEA not only actively lobbies local governments about environmental policy, but also conducts research and educates the public. Teachers can find useful information about local environmental issues under the campaigns link. — Sarah Schmidt

United Nations Environment Network  This informative website is an excellent source for researching specific environmental themes such as freshwater, climate change, etc., or environmental issues associated with certain geographical regions.  The site includes recent announcements on environmental issues, current international initiatives, and resources that vary from maps and graphics, to State of the Environment reports. — Sarah Schmidt

Web of Creation  Web of Creation is an organization dedicated to inspire individuals as well as communities to build a just and sustainable world. One can find numerous ideas regarding humans’ responsibility to become stewards of creation in sections such as Religious education, Personal lifestyle, Worship, Congregational lifestyle and public ministry and advocacy. It is a great site to challenge our current lifestyle as well as wasteful use of resources. It also allows us to see the link between our actions and the degradation of the natural environment. Overall, it is a good site, however I would question and challenge some of their assumptions and views especially the ones dealing with setting up sustainability levels and the notion of overpopulation. — J. Koprianiuk

World Wildlife Fund   The World Wild Life Fund website contains information on one of the world’s most influential groups. This site provides information on how members of the WWF are promoting issues to help reduce factors that contribute to global pollution, destruction of our ecosystem, and degradation of the planet’s natural resources. Students and teachers can become politically and socially active by donating to WWF, adopting an endangered species, and discussing the importance of preserving and protection our world. These activities can be implemented in geography, business and religion courses. — Filomena Ferraro

Thanks to Tony Cosentino (Retired-Renfrew CDSB) and teachers from York CDSB AQ courses.

Water Links

March22 is World Water Day

UN site for World WaterDay  |  Resources

This year’s theme – Valuing Water – explores how we can use nature to overcome the water challenges of the 21st century.

Environmental damage, together with climate change, is driving the water-related crises wesee around the world. Floods, drought and water pollution are all made worse by degraded vegetation, soil, rivers and lakes.

When we neglect our ecosystems, we make it harder to provide everyone with the water we need to survive and thrive.

Nature-based solutions have the potential to solve many of our water challenges. We need todo so much more with ‘green’ infrastructure and harmonize it with ‘grey’ infrastructure wherever possible. Planting new forests, reconnecting rivers to floodplains, and restoring wetlands will rebalance the water cycle and improve human health and livelihoods. -from the World Water Day site.

More UNWater resources

Water, An Essential Element of Life (Vatican statement)

The management of water and sanitation must address the needs of all, and particularly of persons living in poverty. Inadequate access to safe drinking water affects the well being of over one billion persons and more than twice that number have no adequate sanitation. This all too often is the cause of disease, unnecessary suffering, conflicts, poverty and even death. This situation is characterized by countless unacceptable injustices.

World Water Day: Contribution of Pope Francis and the Holy See(Vatican News)

Pope Francis has already made it clear that the availability and care of the world’s water sources must be a global priority. In his encyclical Laudato Si’ (On Care for Our Common Home), the word“water” appears 47 times—22 occurrences within articles 27-30 which treat thesubject of water specifically. more

In 2017, the Vatican hosted an International Conference on Water: Watershed


ROME – Too much, too little, too dirty, undervalued. When water supplies are out of sync with human and environmental needs, life suffers. Adequate water for all means adapting decades-old management practices to fast-changing ecological conditions while expanding the circle of participants in decision making: from a narrow technical-managerial focus to an embrace of ethical, moral, and cultural perspectives from all ages and social classes. This broad perspective should be strengthened by scientific and satellite data that reveal water’s deep connection to food and energy systems,and animated by narratives that unite the sacred and the mundane.  Read More


Development and Peace/Caritas Canada has numerous resources related to water.

Education for Justice WaterResources (See your Board CARFLEO contacts for login information)

Justice and Peace Office (Australia) has World Water Day resources.

UN Water There is no single UN entity dedicated exclusively to water issues. Over 30 UN organizations carry out water and sanitation programmes, reflecting the fact that water issues run through all of the UN’s main focus areas. UN-Water’s role is to coordinate so that the UN family ‘delivers as one’ in response to water related challenges.

Catholic Relief Service: Every Day is World Water Day

Council of Canadians: Water Resources

The Council of Canadians is a leader in fights to protect Canada’s fresh water sources. Our campaign work focuses on recognizing water as part of a shared commons. Water is a human right and as such, must be protected from privatization, pollution and bulk exports. We are campaigning to protect the Great Lakes from pollution, misuse and government neglect. We are working to stop fracking, a natural gas extraction process that uses and pollutes massive volumes of water. We encourage community empowerment and involvement through our “Blue Communities Project.” In Canada, there is no national strategy to address urgent water issues and federal leadership to conserve and protect our water has been missing. We are campaigning for a National Water Policy that will safeguard communities’ water. Water is vital to people’s health and livelihoods. Join us in taking action to protect water!



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