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Soil and Peace


Gardening is much more than trimming trees, planting bulbs, thinning perennials, weeding beds, and sculpting shrubs, though it can involve all of these things. A garden is a wonderful metaphor for our journey toward holiness. Time began in a garden. Jesus prayed in a garden before he was crucified and died. Jesus, after his resurrection, revealed himself to Mary Magdalene in a garden.

We here at RENEW International are transforming our backyard into a place of beauty, thanks to the generous donation of money and some pro-bono work from Cappio Landscaping Inc. This garden will celebrate not only our continuous spiritual journey but our earthly technological journey as well. We have started by placing knockout roses, juniper, spirea, viburnum, and other perennials. We are planting a flowering Kousa dogwood tree in honor of moving our server “to the cloud.” A peace pole with memorial pavers will be placed among these beautiful new plantings.

Gardening can be a deeply spiritual experience. The soil, like our spirits, needs attention and nurturing. At times pruning is needed of overgrowth and of less than wholesome behaviors. Periodically our gardens and our lives need to be evaluated, straightened out, and planned anew. Like all spiritual practice, gardening is ultimately about connections. As I garden, I am always more in touch with myself, God, and creation. The birds, insects, and worms all make their presence known and offer images of growth. It is all about balance and harmony, about memory and hope, about healing and acceptance, and even, in this increasingly paved-over world, it is about revolution and change.

Are there any areas of your spiritual life that need attention and nurturing?

Sister Honora is the Director of Pastoral Services at RENEW and a Dominican Sister of Amityville, NY.

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