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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Queen of the Sun

By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: AmericanCatholic.org

This beautiful documentary is a tale of tragedy and hope. “Colony collapse disorder” is happening all over the world, and especially in the United States or wherever “monoculture” exists. Monoculture is when only one crop is grown for miles and miles. In the U.S. colony collapse disorder is prevalent where only corn and soy beans are grown, for example. “Bees are the legs of plants,” one expert says. With monoculture, nature is thwarted.

Experts in the film love honey bees and consider them to be like the canaries in coal mines; when a canary died, it was a sign that gasses were building up for an explosion and miners had a chance to flee. Where honey bee colonies collapse, it is a sign that the food system is in crisis. Why? Because bees need to cross-pollinate, and with only one crop, this is not possible and other plants cannot grow. Pesticides kill insects in the food chain, starving the system. The genetic manipulation of seed that does not reproduce seeds, called “terminator” seeds, also contributes to colony collapse disorder.

There is an effort to breed queen bees that in the wild can live for four to five years. Bred queens barely last for a year, so even bee activity becomes artificial. They are artificially inseminated and fed antibiotics and high fructose corn syrup, again damaging the food chain. The process short circuits the cycle of life.

We still do not know the long-term effects of this manipulation of honey bees will have on nature and our food supply.

The film is not only science: it is poetry and reverence for God’s creation. One bee keeper says that “Pollen is marginalized light.”

There is now a need for honey bee sanctuaries and there was a “Pollinator Week” in New York City to legalize bee keeping that some are already doing on roof tops.

“Queen of the Sun: what are the bees telling us?” is an inspiring film about and by poet-scientists that can motivate us to respect nature and remind us that God’s way in nature is the best way.




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Monica: The circumstances of St. Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety, but always respected her. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his baptism. 
<p>Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine (August 28) , is the most famous. At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy (all flesh is evil)  and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on, she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted. </p><p>When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine’s trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan. </p><p>In Milan, Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St. Ambrose, who also became Monica’s spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her (see Quote, below). Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste. </p><p>She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.” She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death. </p><p>Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of St. Augustine, especially his <i>Confessions</i>.</p> American Catholic Blog The Church really is my mother, too. She isn’t a vague maternal force for a generic collection of anonymous people. This Mother truly nurtures us—each one of us. And for those of us who are baptized Christians, the Church has actually given birth to us on a spiritual level.

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St. Monica
The tears of this fourth-century mother contributed to her son's conversion to Christ.

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