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Laudato Si’ Dialogues Newsletter Thirteenth Issue, August 2022

 The Story – Pope Francis in Canada:
A conversation with Métis Elder Jo Anne Young


First and foremost, Pope Francis’ visit to Canada was to ask for forgiveness for the harms done to Indigenous children in the Indian Residential Schools. Métis elder Jo Anne Young echoes the words of Métis National Council President, Cassidy Caron; “There is so much work ahead of us to seek out truth, justice and healing …Learning to love again after everything our people have gone through is tougher than learning to walk.  … These teachings of respect and of love must continue to guide us as we move forward …This week, and beyond, is about Survivors and supporting what they need to find peace in their lives.” 1

Jo Anne was impressed with the sincerity of Pope Francis. His words in Spanish, she said, signified more remorse than the English translations indicated. Many people, including Métis peers, agreed that they heard his sincerity. “We understand that he recognizes the abuse and assimilation that happened at Indian Residential Schools, and on his trip home to Rome, he agreed that genocide is the correct word to describe what happened.”


She reflects that before you can have reconciliation, you need to understand the truth, and in her mind, Pope Francis spoke the truth throughout his visit to Canada. In his first address at Maskwacis he acknowledged, expressed sorrow and asked for forgiveness for … “the ways members of the Church and of religious communities cooperated, not least through their indifference, in projects of cultural destruction and forced assimilation promoted by the governments of that time.” 2

Jo Anne appreciated Pope Francis’s suggestions for going forward: “An important part of this process will be to conduct a serious investigation into the facts of what took place in the past and to assist the survivors of the residential schools to experience healing from the traumas they suffered. I trust and pray that Christians and civil society in this land may grow in the ability to accept and respect the identity and the experience of the indigenous peoples … so that all may learn to walk together. For my part, I will continue to encourage the efforts of all Catholics to support the Indigenous Peoples.” 3

When asked if there was a connection to Laudato Si’ in the Papal apology, Jo Anne recalls she heard Pope Francis say “These are lands that speak to us; they enable us to remember. …You have lived on these lands for thousands of years, following ways of life that respect the earth which you received as a legacy from past generations and are keeping for those yet to come. You have treated it as a gift of the Creator to be shared with others and to be cherished in harmony with all that exists, in profound fellowship with all living beings…A treasury of sound customs and teachings.”4

At Lac Ste. Anne she also heard Pope Francis say “Here, immersed in creation, we can also sense another beating: the maternal heartbeat of the earth. Just as the hearts of babies in the womb beat in harmony with those of their mothers, so in order to grow as people, we need to harmonize our own rhythms of life with those of creation, which gives us life.” 5

This recalls the Pope’s address to the Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon, “Your lives cry out … You are living memory of the mission that God has entrusted to us all: the protection of our common home”. 6

When asked what Catholics can do, Jo Anne answered “The task of Catholics now is  to learn the true history of Turtle Island and Canada, of the Indigenous Peoples who were here for centuries before colonization. Learn about our laws, trade, governance, ties to the land, our spirituality. And press for our spiritual leaders to also acquire knowledge of First Nations, Métis and Inuit culture.

MLSM Canada suggests taking Jo Anne’s response a step further and recall what Pope Francis said of the Amazon region. All of us who make up the Catholic Church should commit ourselves to be allies of Indigenous Peoples “… in denouncing attacks on the life of the Indigenous communities, the projects that affect the environment, as well as the economic model of predatory and ecocidal development. The presence of the Church among Indigenous and traditional communities necessarily entails awareness that the defence of the land has no other purpose than the defence of life.” 7

Jo Anne Young is Secretary-Treasurer for the Métis Nation of Ontario, and a member of the MLSM Canada Advocacy Circle.

God Bless each of you and the wonderful work you do and enjoy your summer


Coordinator, MLSM Canada

Please consider making a donation to MLSM Canada through the Faith & the Common Good Canada Helps page. Choose the third fund option in the drop-down menu. Thank you.

To enhance your understanding of Indigenous Peoples, and the Catholic response in Canada, you are invited to view these resources:


Indigenous Canada is an excellent 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta, that explores the different histories and contemporary perspectives of Indigenous peoples living in Canada. Free or for credit. 

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council and others respond to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and reflect on the concepts of the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius. 

Videos of each of the Pope’s events in Canada on the CCCB website 

Transcripts of each of the Pope’s public addresses on the Vatican website 

Statement from CCCB at conclusion of the Pope’s visit to Canada on the Walking Together website, July 29, 2022

Salt and Light Media short film on Indigenous visit to Rome, spring 2022 

Events & Opportunities 

1. Star of the North Retreat Centre, St. Albert, Alberta, is pleased to partner with Mouvement Laudato Si’ Movement Canada to bring you a special evening of celebration and ritual welcoming in the Season of Creation. Make plans now to join us on September 1st! The event will be both in-person and virtual. For more information and to register visit Star of the North Season of Creation Celebration.

2.Register for the next Laudato Si’ Animator training
Laudato Si' Animators, in addition to joining a worldwide movement dedicated to caring for God's creation, lead their community in prayer and action for our common home. Spiritual reflection on God's creation and prayer are the foundations of the animator's work. The next Laudato Si’ Animator training begins August 24th and runs throughout the Season of Creation. Please share this information and registration link with family, friends and colleagues. This pdf brochure can also be printed and shared.

3. The Season of Creation begins September 1st. This year’s theme is listening to the Cry of the Earth. Don’t forget to register your events during the Season of Creation, September 1 to October 4, on the global events page. Help us show that Canadians are committed to participating in all kinds of actions to care for our common home.

4. Canadian Laudato Si’ Animator, Marian Langhus, launches a website
Check out New Climate Guides: Providing Leadership as We face Climate Crises. Marian, and her husband Bruce, are both retired Ph.D. geologists. They believe that a lifestyle based on science, spirituality, and aesthetics is needed to face the uncertain future in a threatening climate. Together they share blog posts and resources.

5. Livable Future Investing Workshop October 1 - 21
Invest with the Economy of Francesco Collaborative will host a workshop on Livable Future / Laudato Si' investing October 1 -21.  It will introduce and apply frameworks rooted in Catholic Social Teaching (CST), with a strong focus on Laudato Si’, to how we invest as faith-based institutions. Expert trainers will look at a range of investment opportunities - from public equities to alternatives - taking the conversation about how to invest beyond negative screening and divestment. Here is a link to apply to join this round of participants. Faith Invest also shares the Living Laudato Si Investor Resource Hub, a valuable tool for those working on the Ecological Economy goal of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform.

6. Need financial support for your faith building's green retrofit? Looking for investment opportunities that support energy conversion retrofits?

Laidlaw Memorial United Church, Hamilton, ON

The Sustainable Capacity Foundation (SCF), in partnership with Greening Sacred Spaces Ottawa and Tapestry Capital, have created the Faithfully Green fund to help finance faith building green retrofit projects. When a faith community in the Ottawa area has a feasible project that's ready to be rolled out but requires more immediate funding, funds from investors will be loaned out to the faith community to complete the project. Once the retrofits are complete, organizations will be in a more sustainable position and will typically save money due to efficiency. The savings in energy costs can be then used to pay back the loans with interest, completing the cycle. Anyone can buy into the bond.Find out if your green project is eligible by contacting us at 902-240-7819 or [email protected].

7. Deeptime Leadership & Personal Empowerment Program 2022-2023
“There is nothing more critical than leadership for our moment of transition to a flourishing future.  This course is indispensable for such a transition – thoughtful, comprehensive, and engaging.” - Mary Evelyn Tucker, co-author and executive producer, Journey of the Universe; and director, Forum on Religion & Ecology. Drawing together four wisdom traditions — indigenous, classical religious, modern science, and women — this program draws on insights from leading thinkers, practitioners and visionaries such as Teilhard de Chardin, Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme, Maria Montessori, Duane Elgin, Mary Evelyn Tucker, John Grim, David Christian, Matthew Fox, Barbara Holmes, Vanaessa Machado Oliveira, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Fritjof Capra, Eric Chaisson, Ursula Goodenough, Jeremy Lent, Herman Greene, and others. Visit the website for more information and to register. Full 9 Month Program Starts Sept. 21, 2022. Complete with or without Certificate.

8. Fridays For Future Climate Strike, September 23
Watch the @MSLMCanada facebook page for updates on joining a faith contingent at the Toronto strike with @devpeace-caritascanada and @faithcommongood. Find other strikes across Canada to join on this event map.


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