Here’s a description of  a five-week art and science project which fifth and sixth graders at a Catholic elementary school developed to commemorate the Oct. 4th Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.   As some of you may already know, the Feast of St. Francis  marks the conclusion of the annual “Season of Creation,”‘ an ecumenical observance which has become increasingly important in Roman Catholicism, in part because of the way that it harmonizes with the expansively compassionate vision and mission of Pope Francis’  “Laudato Si.'”

This particular project provided the young people with an opportunity to illustrate  their growing understanding of evolution and phylogeny.  It allowed them to share their appreciation of both contemporary scientific discoveries and Catholic (and Interspiritual) perspectives regarding the Earth Community and its deep history.  The event’s content was strongly influenced by The Universe Story of Thomas Berry, CP, and the perspectives of his many collaborators, including Professors Mary Evelyn Tucker, John Grimm, and Brian Swimme.

To accomplish their project, students staged a reading of an abbreviated and scientifically augmented version of St. Francis’s wonderful “Canticle of the Creatures.”  This was accompanied by a dramatic procession in which the children carried their own hand-crafted representations of some of the diverse and awe-inspiring beings whose interactions give rise to our Cosmos.

  • Used by people who call the work: Cosmic Evolution, Journey of the Universe
  • Applies a deep time evolutionary perspective to: Biology and Earth Systems Science
  • Learning Stages: Elementary 3 - 5, Elementary K - 2, Lifelong, Middle 6 - 8
  • Type: Article, Project
  • Keywords: evolution of life, elementary education, St. Francis, the visual arts, kinship, compassion, biodiversity, ecospirituality, ritual, care for creation, Laudato Si'
  • Why I love this Resource: When children create and perform this procession (celebrating the pageant of complexifying evolution, life, and St. Francis' beautiful prayer and exhortation), they can exercise and enhance all sorts of skills in many domains (including those of hands, head, and heart). At the same time, they are often acquiring energizing insights and dispositions centered around their place and potential role within this amazing Universe. They are also sharing their imaginative work and growing knowledge as a form of performance art that can be gifted to their families and their wider learning community.
  • Link to Resource: Click here
  • Posted By: Edith Pucci Couchman
  • Date Added: March 3, 2024