Jesuit Father Joseph Feeney, a professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University, spoke of Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins as “an environmentalist poet” at a recent Gerard Manley Hopkins Conference at Regis University.
“He celebrated nature, he grieved for the destruction of nature, and he urged the preservation of nature,” said Fr. Feeney.
Hopkins (1844-1889) was born in England to Anglican parents, and he was received into the Catholic Church by another prominent convert, Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman in 1866. Hopkins joined the Society of Jesus the next year.
Jesuit Father Peter Milward, a professor emeritus of English at Sophia University in Tokyo, also attended the conference and said Hopkins and Newman both represent the “second spring” of Catholicism in England.
Both men were “revolutionaries in terms of their time,” Fr. Milward said, and Hopkins’ poetry is comparable to “the greatest language of William Shakespeare.”
For more on the Hopkins conference, visit Catholic News Agency.