At several periods in my Jesuit life, I have tended to an outside garden. There are times where it’s acted as a stress-relieving pastime, others as a way of contributing to the life of the community. Or both! I can still return to our beautiful Jesuit land in Guelph, ON and see the maple and pine trees that I planted way back in the 1990s.

It’s certainly a good hobby that has taught me so much and helps me to comprehend what Jesus is so often saying in his parables. Plenty of spiritual truths are revealed in tending to a garden. I tended to prefer perennials to annuals.

I used to grow a variety of herbs, mainly for the community kitchen, but also for the simple enjoyment of the aromas that would be released when I rubbed the herb between my fingers. Basil and rosemary were my favourites. I remain envious when I pass by someone who has his or her uncovered hands in rich soil.

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