By Morrison Colomb ‘17
In popular imagination, St. Francis is depicted as talking to animals or as a statue in a birdbath. St. Francis had such a great love for animals, that even today many churches bless peoples’ pets around his feast day on October 4th. There are so many stories about St. Francis and creation and animals that Pope St. John Paul II declared him the patron saint of the environment!
There are two stories about St. Francis and animals that I really liked. The first story was about St. Francis preaching to the birds! As Francis and the friars walked on a road, they came across a group of many different varieties of birds. He ran to the birds and proclaimed "Worship the Creator and always love him! He has given you wings to fly and food to eat." Next, he walked amidst them and they flew off praising God. Another story that is told about St. Francis is about how he tamed a wolf that terrorized the town of Gubbio. The wolf had been attacking people and livestock. When St. Francis heard about this he had pity on the town and went to help. He confronted the wolf. At first, the wolf attacked with jaws open, but St. Francis made the sign of the cross and the wolf slowed down and closed its mouth. St. Francis admonished the wolf and said, "This town of Gubbio is scared of you. Please stop terrorizing them." The wolf followed St. Francis back into the town. In the town square, St. Francis preached of peace and forgiveness to all the people in the town. The wolf lived in the town of Gubbio for two years and the people fed and supported the wolf which never terrorized the town again!
St. Francis loved animal and all things in creation because first and foremost he loved God and everything that was created by God. Francis knew he was in relationship with everything made by God. Francis related to everything in creation as his brother or sister. He would talk about Brother Wolf, Sister Water or even Sister Death.
I really like how St. Francis lived his values and principles well. He knew and loved all things that were made by God and he was able to experience God in nature and even in animals. I know that I love to go out in nature and I always find it a peaceful experience and because of what St. Francis taught me it has become even more important.