Marybeth Lorbiecki, M.A. is the director of the Interfaith Ocean Ethics Campaign — a joint program of the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) and the National Religious Coalition on Creation Care (NRCCC), along with their international parent organizations, Franciscans International and the World Stewardship Institute. She has been consulted by the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace because this collection of Saint John Paul II’s writings on ecology is the most complete one in the world, according to Vatican knowledge.
You can read one of her articles “Conservation and the Catholic Imagination,” which first appeared in the online magazine of the Center for Humans and Nature, Minding Nature.
She is also author of the biography on the international conservation scientist and land ethicist Aldo Leopold — A Fierce Green Fire: Aldo Leopold’s Life and Legacy (Oxford, Fall 2014 — a new edition of an award-winning book) and the picture book Sister Anne’s Hands, among many other children’s books. In 2008, she was named Wisconsin Children’s Book Author of the Year. Her books tend to focus on the relationships of people to each other and to the earth as well as on spiritual topics. She is also author of the yet-to-be published works A Walk in Yahweh’s Garden: Meditations on the Scripture Call to Care for the Earth and Each Other and Our Beautiful Endangered World: Spiritual Lessons from St. John Paul II for Young Adults and the Hopeful of Heart.
Lorbiecki grew up in the very Catholic community, St. Cloud, Minnesota, attending Catholic schools, where there were Catholic Churches in every neighborhood. Her family spent their vacations camping and canoeing, and later at a simple, uninsulated lake place where they could go to sleep to the call of loons and the laughter of family.
She attended Cathedral High School where some of her most memorable classes were in theology, including Modern Day Prophets. At the College of St. Catherine (now St. Catherine University), she studied English and theology, with classes both at St. Kate’s and the nearby St. Thomas where her father, uncles, siblings, and cousins attended (now University of St. Thomas), both in St. Paul, Minnesota.
She spent time as a volunteer in Appalachia at a mission run by Father Wllliam Poole and after college, for a year as a Volunteer in Diocesan Action (VIDA) in the Hispanic southern Colorado — at the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Antonito.
She also taught theology — Scripture, World Religions, and Contemporary Issues — at Marycrest High School in Denver for a year, then returned to school for a Master’s Degree in English and writing. She was selected as an International Rotarian Scholar and spent a year studying philosophy at the University of Colchester, England.
She has been an adjunct professor of writing and of children’s literature, a freelance editor and writer, children’s book editor and author, among other jobs.
For over twelve years, she spent researching and writing this book on Pope John Paul II’s teachings on ecology, working with members of the Pontifical Office of Peace and Justice, Vatican library sources, the executive director of the National Religious Coalition on Creation Care (NRCCC), and others.
She is a confirmation teacher in her home parish, on the board of the Catholic medical mission organization for the Same region of Tanzania — Friends of Mater Dei, past member of the Sister Parish team for San Jose de Yalpemech in Guatemala, former board member of the Carpenter Nature Center, and former president of the Western Wisconsin Prairie Project. She is married with three children in high school and college, and loves wilderness canoe camping.