- Birth: 1181
- Location: Assisi, Italy
- Death: October 3, 1226
- Beatification: July 16, 1228 by Pope Gregory I
- Canonized: July 16, 1228 by Pope Gregory I
- Feast Day: October 4th
- Patron Saint of: the environment and animals
Born around 1182, St. Francis of Assisi grew up with the liberty to do as he pleased. He enjoyed fine clothing, elaborate banquets, and singing in the streets. He loved attention and desired fame.
His life changed when, according to tradition, he encountered a leper while returning home from a military battle. In spite of fear, Francis was moved to kiss and help the leper. Moments later, the leper disappeared, and Francis realized the leper was Christ.
Founding of Franciscan Order
After this, Francis famously renounced the luxury of his youth and adopted a life of radical poverty and penance. Francis channeled his passion into rebuilding the Church and renewing disciples who had grown lukewarm in their faith. Out of this mission came the founding of the Franciscans.
St. Francis of Assisi is famous for his love of animals of all kinds. He once blessed a group of birds, and from that day on, often preached to the animals he encountered.
He made friends with all sorts of animals, and even famously befriended a wolf who was threatening a town.
The wolf turned out to be an old, hungry wolf, so Francis “rebuked him for his reign of terror but acknowledged this was due to hunger.” He then reached an agreement with the wolf and the villagers, in which the wolf would stop hunting livestock in exchange for the villagers regularly feeding him.
Artwork often depicts St. Francis of Assisi surrounded by animals.
As an homage to St. Francis and his great love of animals and nature, on his feast day, some parishes will offer a “Blessing of the Animals” in which parishioners can bring their pets to church to receive a blessing.
In 1224, Francis became the first person to receive the stigmata and bear the wounds of Jesus in his body. He died in 1226, on the floor of the church where he first received his calling from Christ.
St. Francis of Assisi Prayers
St. Francis of Assisi’s example continues to inspire people all over the world to live lives of simplicity, compassion, and love. To inspire more peace in your life, feel free to follow this prayer by St. Francis of Assisi.
You are holy, Lord, the only God,
and Your deeds are wonderful.
You are strong.
You are great.
You are the Most High.
You are Almighty.
You, Holy Father, are King of heaven and earth.
You are Three and One, Lord God, all Good.
You are Good, all Good, supreme Good,
Lord God, living and true.
You are love. You are wisdom.
You are humility. You are endurance.
You are rest. You are peace.
You are joy and gladness.
You are justice and moderation.
You are all our riches, and You suffice for us.
You are beauty.
You are gentleness.
You are our protector.
You are our guardian and defender.
You are our courage. You are our haven and our hope.
You are our faith, our great consolation.
You are our eternal life, Great and Wonderful Lord,
God Almighty, Merciful Savior.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
Prayer/Blessing for Animals:
Blessed are you, Lord God, maker of all living creatures.
You called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air, and animals on the land.
You inspired St. Francis to call all of them his brothers and sisters.
We ask you to bless this pet.
By the power of your love, enable it to live according to your plan.
May we always praise you for all your beauty in creation.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures!
St. Francis of Assisi Quotes
- “The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today.”
- “The only thing ever achieved in life without effort is failure.”
- “Do few things but do them well, simple joys are holy.”
- “A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.”
- Parroquia San Francisco de Asis – Chicago, Ill.
- Secular Franciscan Order – USA
- National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi – San Francisco, Calif.