Saint Francis of Assisi
Patron Saint of Animal Lovers and “Birders”
Feast Day: October 4
Francis of Assisi’s story took place long ago. Francis was born into a rich family. His father was a wealthy merchant who spoiled Francis as a boy. When war ensued, Francis became a soldier but was captured and imprisoned. Upon release, Francis helped the poor and sick. Once, while riding through town, he saw a leper whose face was so disfigured he had to turn away. After thinking about it, Francis decided to comfort the man so he returned to him, gave him money and then passionately kissed his disfigured face. Later, Francis worked repairing a dilapidated church. He stole clothes from his father’s mill to get supplies. His dad then imprisoned him and sent him to the Bishop. Francis stripped himself naked and cloaked himself in harsh wool with a rope at the waist. His garb came to be known as Franciscan wear. Francis took a vow of poverty and described poverty poetically as his “Lady Mistress.” He formed the “Franciscan Friars” who stressed poverty, brotherly love and freedom. While praying, Francis received the Stigmata, the 5 scars of the wounds of Jesus. Francis, then began wearing shoes and sleeves to hide the scars. Francis taught the Beauty of Forgiveness and the Joy of Living. He was a lover of nature, speaking of Brother Sun and Sister Moon. Our medal shows Saint Francis petting a wolf. The wolf had been causing trouble in Assisi but after Francis talked to the wolf and became the wolf’s friend, the wolf protected the town! Francis loved all animals, nature and the notion of kindness and humanity for all.