In recent years, the youths in Trinidad and Tobago have expressed their creativity in taking climate action through the Season of Creation Challenge in the Caribbean islands.

In 2018, The Franciscan Institute for Personal and Family Development, a ministry of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother promoted the Season of Creation by inviting persons in Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada and Saint Lucia to participate in a special event called the “Season of Creation Challenge.”

When creating the name as Franciscans, the word “competition” was rephrased to “challenge” to create a more collaborative relationship among the participants. This challenge quickly captured the youth’s attention in schools and parishes as they shared their art pieces, spoken word, poems and videos based on the Season of Creation theme.

In turn, the Franciscan Institute tangibly recognized each participant through a special award ceremony called “The St. Francis Canticle Creation Award Ceremony”.

As a registered international partner with the Season of Creation and Laudato Si’ Movement since 2018, the Franciscan Institute remains committed to build on its pastoral care with the grassroot communities.

To date, the Institute continues to promote the Season of Creation through its Fourth Annual Season of Creation Challenge in the three islands they serve.

In keeping with the 2021 Season of Creation theme “A Home for all? Renewing the Oikos of God”, participants can choose from five categories to design their creative pieces while relating it to the theme. The categories are: 1) Pollinators, 2) Marine Life, 3) Building a Home, 4) Vegetation and 5) Family Tree.

In addition to this, forging local partnerships has been a crucial step in educating the grassroot communities about the Season of Creation. This year, the Archdiocesan Catholic Youth Commission and Laudato Si’ Movement Trinidad and Tobago Chapter has partnered with the Franciscan Institute in promoting the Season of Creation.

Regionally, the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother Congregation has been actively engaging others to participate in the Season of Creation.

Why we feel the need to take action and how we’ve built on past years’ activities…

The Franciscan Institute for Personal and Family Development is a ministry of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother Congregation. The Congregation is over 150 years old and they started to celebrate the Franciscan Fiesta in 1983.

The Franciscan Fiesta is a special way the Congregation celebrates the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. When the Institute was opened in 2000, in Trinidad and Tobago, the sisters would celebrate creation through talk, prayer, care, and fun! It was an event for all ages and activities included the following:

  • enriching the environment by planting trees and flowers
  • renewing yourself by attending a variety of talks
  • taking care of yourself by getting your blood pressure taken
  • treating your body well through reflexology, massage & yoga
  • treasure hunt for children
  • face painting
  • feeding the rabbits and chickens
  • an Exhibition of Sr. Julie Marie Peters, SSM, beautiful nature photography!

In 2018, Sr. Julie Marie Peters, SSM, introduced the Institute to Sowing Hope for the Planet Campaign through the International Union Superior General (UISG). During that year, the UISG invited congregations to celebrate the Season of Creation month through either prayer, reflection or action.

The Institute accepted this invitation to participate in the Sowing Hope for the Planet Campaign. The institute created the Season of Creation Challenge as a way to encourage school children to share their creative art, poems and spoken word on the Season of Creation theme. In an effort to give prizes to the participants, the Institute formed the St. Francis Canticle Creation Award Ceremony in October 2018 to formally recognize all participants.

That year, the Institute also had its first Climate March with St. Dominic’s Children Home. The archbishop joined the children and it was a wonderful way to build public awareness on caring for creation. As a result, through the Institute’s participation for the Sowing Hope for the Planet Campaign we signed up to become members of the Laudato Si’ Movement.

To date, the Season of Creation Challenge and the St. Francis Canticle Creation Award Ceremony have now grown in the three islands the Franciscan Institute serves. The Institute’s schedule of activities shows the growth of our partnership with other local organizations and the creative ways we hope to engage others to pray, reflect and care for creation during this special month.

Our vision and mission declare a commitment to creation. Therefore, as Franciscans, we are motivated to work together with the global family to be part of a renewed care and concern for creation led by the Holy Father, Pope Francis with his 2015 encyclical entitled “Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home.

Why we focus on education…

Education is a crucial step to building public awareness, especially with the grassroot communities. Through teaching the Gospel values, and Catholic Social Teaching on care of creation as Franciscans, we hope to help others to improve the quality of their life of relating to self, others and creation in nonviolent ways.

This can help with their personal ecological conversion and inspire a response to join others in taking action to better care for our common home.

More about the 2021 Season of Creation