– Text provided by Sr. Jean Moore –
This 13th century Umbrian poem, The Canticle of the Creatures, was composed in 1125 by Francis of Assisi shortly before his death on October 4, 1226. Cited as the first poetic work of Italian (Umbrian) Literature, the poem sings of his praise for all of God’s Creation, and the familial relationship humans have with the natural world.
Depicted here in the manuscript style of the Middle Ages, the poem shows the connection Francis had with all of God’s Creation. Recognizing these elements of nature as Brother and Sister, Francis highlights the common parentage – God, the Creator of all – of the natural and human world. Because of this relationship, we are called to live in harmony, love, respect and gratitude with God’s gift of Creation. In particular, Francis prays that all may life in gratitude and in service with humility, which implies that we serve each other and all of nature as equals and without domination.
This artwork was chosen in recognition of the Core Values of Viterbo University. In particular, we focus on the Value of Stewardship – “practicing responsible use of all resources in our trust” – and the Value of Contemplation – “reflecting upon the presence of God in our lives and work”.
In light of the new residence hall, The Canticle House, it is fitting that we take time to contemplate these images of teh Love of God manifested in God’s Created Works as inspiration for our efforts to use responsibly all that is gift from God.
The artwork is depicted on two types of medium: vellum and parchment; the former being a more authentic representation of the medium used by artists of the 13th century, and the latter a contemporary adaptation of the vellum.