The Spirituality of Bees

The Vatican Newspaper “L’Osservatore Romano” has recently published an article “Sentinels of Creation” on the Pope’s farm in Castel Gandolfo and the new addition to their stewardship projects: half a million bees. The bees are a gift from Coldiretti, the largest farming group, and the words of the President stress the stewardship aspect for which he seeks to honor the Pope. The Vatican farm is a model farm with hens, cows, cockerels and ancient olive groves, see more here. 

“Our gift”, Sergio Marini, President of Coldiretti, toldL’Osservatore Romano, “is first and foremost a sign of Coldiretti’s gratitude to the Pope for his constant encouragement of the daily work of those who cultivate the earth, in which it is easy to recognize the respect and love of one who knows that the preservation of creation is the best investment for the future”  and at the same time also wishes to be a proper recognition of the examplarity “of the Vatican farm at Castel Gandolfo”, deemed “the most satisfactory natural environment to give a strong sign of how, together with the modern technologies, the characteristic of rusticity and purity proper to the genuine countryside may be preserved intact”.

Bees have for a long time been an important symbol and reality for the spiritual life, especially in the Christian tradition. Monasteries are credited for spreading bees throughout Europe, perhaps leading to much of their agricultural success. Many monks are famous beekeepers, as was Augustinian friar Gregor Mendel who is the father of genetics. St. Francis de Sales in his classic spiritual book, “Introduction to the Devout Life”, speaks of bees as a metaphor for spiritual matters, numerous times. And there’s me… not famous or successful, but I have kept bees for 3 years now in the high Colorado Rockies. More on that later…

3 thoughts on “The Spirituality of Bees

  1. Pingback: The Solidarity of Bees « Faith & Environment

  2. Pingback: Easter, Bee’s and Honey « Faith & Environment

  3. Pingback: Bees and Liturgy « Faith & Environment

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