My friend loved animals, especially horses and dogs, and as she aged, she surrounded herself with pictures of them. On October 4, we celebrated Francis of Assisi, still a popular saint today, who is often pictured with birds and animals—often with a wolf. Francis considered all nature a mirror of God, calling all creatures his “brothers” and “sisters.” Legend has it that a wolf would often attack the townspeople and livestock of Gubbio, Italy. So Francis made an agreement with the wolf that if the townspeople fed him, he should refrain from attacking. This agreement brought peace to the village. Today we see the natural habitat of many species, large and small, being confiscated by humans without consideration of the needs of the creatures. Pope Francis has encouraged leaders of every nation, and every person, to conscious care for our common home, the earth and our “brothers and sisters” of the animal kingdom.
by Josue Behnen, OSB