My reverence for all creation fuels my belief that if all humanity truly fell in love with the creation that sustains us and blesses us constantly with its healing and beauty, no one could ever consider harming, let alone destroying, this gift.”

Mary-Ellen FrancoeurHiroshima Nagasaki Day Coalition

I was born with a longing for peace and non-violence burning in my soul. Always desiring harmony and understanding among people, I later felt this ambition expand to include all creation. Experiencing creation in many parts of Canada, I fell more and more in love with the beauty of land, lakes, rivers, rocks, and mountains. They are pure gift, and I have wanted to treat them with reverence.

As I lived and worked among Indigenous peoples, my longing for non-violence grew, and on moving to Ottawa, I combined my faith and non-violent peace by joining Religions for Peace Canada. There I met an inspiring mentor, the late Murray Thomson, and Senator Douglas Roche, who opened my eyes and heart to the immorality of nuclear weapons. The reality of these horrendous weapons of mass destruction—and the despicable number of them aimed at citizens of every major city in the world, including Toronto—aroused a passion in me to do all that I could to banish them from existence. I wanted to convert the hearts and minds of humans, to go from seeing any value in the existence of these weapons and their destructive potential to, first and foremost, using our immense intelligence, creativity, and compassion for life, healing, solidarity, and nonviolent transformation of conflict.

With the privilege of visiting Hiroshima and Nagasaki and standing on the sites of the bombings, my passion deepened. My reverence for all creation fuels my belief that if all humanity truly fell in 
love with the creation that sustains us and blesses us constantly with its healing and beauty, no one could ever consider harming, let alone destroying, this gift. I see the double threat to life on our planet—nuclear weapons and climate crisis—as interconnected and inspired by the same misguided mentality. Now a member of Pax Christi Toronto, I endeavor to help others grow in love and deep respect for all of creation.

—Mary-Ellen Francoeur

Sister Mary-Ellen Francoeur, a member of the religious community Sisters of Service, has training in clinical psychology and spiritual direction. Born in Montreal, Quebec, her ministry of healing and spirituality has taken her to different parts of Canada and the world. Her further involvement in the work of peace and justice as well as her immersion in the story of the Universe, have led her to grow in reverence for the universe, including the Earth and all beings who live on her. She now resides in Toronto.