What Is St Francis Of Assisi The Patron Saint Of

Saint Francis of Assisi

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is St. Francis of Assisi?

St. Francis of Assisi, ItalianSan Francesco d’Assisi, baptized Giovanni, renamed Francesco, in fullFrancesco di Pietro di Bernardone, (born 1181/82, Assisi, duchy of Spoleto—died October 3, 1226, Assisi; canonized July 16, 1228; feast day October 4) was the founder of the Franciscanorders of the Friars Minor (Ordo Frat In addition, he was a leader in the evangelicalpoverty movement that began in the early 13th century.

A large number of people were attracted to him by his evangelistic zeal, dedication to poverty, generosity, and personal appeal.

Italian patron saints St.

Early life and career

Frenchman Francis was the son of Pietro di Bernardone, a textile merchant, and the lady Pica, who may have been a Frenchwoman who had settled in Italy. Francis’s father was gone on a business trip to France at the time of his birth, and his mother had him christened as Giovanni instead. However, upon his return, Pietro changed the infant’s name to Francesco, possibly because of his interest in France or because of his wife’s family heritage. Francis learnt to read and write Latin in the school near the church of San Giorgio, and he also gained some knowledge of the French language and literature.

  • He enjoyed speaking French (though he was never able to do it flawlessly) and even attempted to sing in the language on occasion.
  • A battle between Assisi and Perugia took place in 1202, during which he was imprisoned for over a year before succumbing to acute illness after his release.
  • During his voyage, however, he had a vision or dream that foretold that he would be summoned back to Assisi to await the call to a different form of chivalry.
  • Several other events contributed to Francis’ conversion to the apostolic life, including a vision of Christ while praying in a grotto near Assisi; an encounter with poverty while on a pilgrimage to Rome, where he mingled with beggars outside St.
  • In one event, he not only gave alms to an aleper (who he had always regarded with a strong dislike), but he also kissed his hand (he had previously regarded lepers with deep dislike).
  • Francis was told to go and rebuild his house, which, as you can see, was in shambles by the crucifix above the altar.
  • After that, he attempted to offer the money to the priest at San Damiano, but was refused, prompting Francis to toss the money out of a second story window.

When Francis declined to appear before the bishop of Assisi, his father summoned him before the court of appeals.

Nevertheless, from now on, I may really say: “Our Father who art in heaven.” The bishop, who had been taken aback, handed him a cloak, and Francis departed for the woods of Mount Subasio, which towered above the city.

As part of his restoration work, he renovated the church of San Damiano, rehabilitated a chapel dedicated to St.

Mary of the Angels (Santa Maria degli Angeli), which is located in a plain below Assisi.

Matthias, on February 24, 1208, he sat in the audience and listened attentively to the story of Christ’s mission to the Apostles from the Gospel of Matthew.

And whichever town or villa you enter, find out who is deserving of your attention and stay with him till you go.” Francis exclaimed, “This is what I desire; this is what I am seeking,” according to Thomas of Celano, and this was the turning point in his life.

From the depths of my heart, this is what I want to do.” He then took off his shoes, threw away his staff, put on a shabby garment, and began preaching repentance to the congregation.

Why is Francis of Assisi the patron saint of ecology?

Welcoming you to Burning Questions, an EarthBeat series that tackles the burning questions that have been brewing in your mind about climate change and religion – from the fundamentals to the more complicated, and all in between. Do you have a burning question of your own to share? Please let us know. For Catholics, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi is celebrated on October 4, which is commonly acknowledged as such. Francis of Assisi is one of the most well-known and adored of the saints, and his name has become linked in religious pop culture with brown habits, birdbaths, and the blessing of animals on the feast of St.

  1. However, Francis is also renowned as the patron saint of the environment, which goes beyond pets.
  2. Who was it that made that decision?
  3. It’s the subject of our most recent Burning Question here at EarthBeat, which you can read about here.
  4. So, who was Francis of Assisi, and what was his story?
  5. Francis was born in the Italian town of Assisi somewhere between 1181 and 1182, according to historians who disagree on the year.
  6. Francis got ill when he was captured during a fight with a nearby town in 1201, and his condition deteriorated rapidly.
  7. Later, as he prepared to embark on a new military mission, he had a dream in which God spoke to him, and he decided to return to Assisi in order to provide care for the sick and the sickly.

Francis initially interpreted this message as a directive to restore the Church of San Damiano, located outside of Assisi, but eventually realized that it was referring to the entire church, and some have even suggested that it was referring to creation itself.

He went on to form the Order of Friars Minor (generally known today as the Franciscans), as well as co-founding the Order of St.

He was well-known for his devotion to all of creation (we’ll get into that more later), but he was also well-known for his dedication to the poor, peace, and interreligious communication, as seen by his meeting with the Sultan of Egypt during the Fifth Crusade.

He was recognized as a saint less than two years after his death.

As it turns out, that wasn’t all that long ago.

29, 1979, Pope John Paul II issued a papal bull in which he named St.


The “Canticle of the Creatures,” Francis’ renowned prayer hymn that is considered to be one of the pillars of Franciscan spirituality, was also referenced by Pope John Paul II.

And it was Pope Francis who was the first to use the saint of Assisi as the inspiration for his papal name.) In the late 1970s, Francis of Assisi was designated as the patron saint of ecology, capping a decade that saw the emergence of a contemporary environmental movement that culminated in the inaugural Earth Day celebration, which took place in the United States.

  1. Take a step back for a moment.
  2. Traditionally, a patron saint is someone who is considered to have the capacity to intercede with God on behalf of others’ prayers, according to Catholic tradition.
  3. From the early days of the Catholic Church, the practice of identifying patron saints may be traced back centuries.
  4. Yes, there are saints who serve as patrons for particular churches.
  5. A patron saint exists for practically every career and condition, as well as for almost every religious denomination.
  6. Isidore is known as the “Farmer’s Patron Saint.” St.
  7. St.


Some saints are patron saints of a variety of causes.

So, why was Francis of Assisi designated as the patron saint of the environment?

“Sister Moon and Stars,” “Brother Wind,” and “Sister Water” are some of the many names Francis gives to the many elements of creation in his letter.

All praise is due to you, my Lord, via our Sister, Mother Earth, who supports us and instructs us by bringing out all types of fruits, flowers, and herbs in all shades of color and variety.

“For Francis, everything of creation became a theophany, a demonstration of the kindness of God,” says Franciscan Sr.

“As the Canticle reveals, Francis praises God ‘through’ (per) the elements of creation, because nature is viewed as a sacramental manifestation of God’s abundant love, which is shown in the Canticle.

Theologian Michael Delio believes that Francis’ knowledge of God’s presence “was not an immediate experience,” but rather built over time as he matured in his friendship with Christ and learned to see the Incarnation as sanctifying all of creation.

She goes on to say that for Francis, respect for creation did not stem from a sense of duty, but rather from a sense of love, because he regarded it as “intimately connected” with God.

Indeed, Francis’ life is filled with anecdotes about animals, many of which are told in his books.

He then persuaded the monster to vow his allegiance to the inhabitants of Gubbio, and the story ends there.

Additionally, he instructed his companions not to cut down the tree in its entirety when gathering firewood, and to set aside a portion of the garden for wildflowers to blossom.

Some, however, believe that limiting the saint’s ministry and message to “Francis, friend of the animals” risks diluting his message and ministry.

Daniel Horan, refers to those instances in which the saint is “reduced to a medieval petting-zoo mascot or states simply that he “loved animals” without regard for the radical truth about God and creation that he intended.

Francis called all creatures — including nonhuman animals that we classify as sentient, but also rocks and trees — his sisters and brothers “because, in a real sense, they are,” he said, adding that the consequences of humanity’s hubris, which places us above creation, are visible in pollution of the environment, extinction of species, and climate change.

All of those characteristics can be found in the way humans interact with the environment in which they live.

Francis’ teachings on creation?

Theologian Delio, in her 2003 book on the subject, A Franciscan View of Creation: Learning to Live in a Sacramental World, asks the following question to help explain her point of view on the subject: When it comes to nature, what is our most fundamental relationship?

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According to the key premise, “The essential link between Incarnation and creation compels us to believe that each and every component of creation have unquestionable dignity since everything is formed precisely and uniquely via the Word of God.” In accordance with the Franciscan tradition, all of creation is regarded as “a free gift from God, given equally to all.” It adheres to a reverent attitude toward nature, and it bases its ecological commitment on a reverent attitude toward all that comes from the Creator.

Delio goes on to say that this Franciscan view of creation requires people to recognize their interconnectedness with the natural world, as well as how sinful acts have contributed to current ecological crises and how future actions can either contribute to God’s vision for the world or sabotage it.

  1. In fact, three years after Francis of Assisi was designated as the patron saint of ecology, Franciscans and representatives from Italian environmental organizations convened at the Terra Mater International Seminar to discuss environmental issues.
  2. Where can I find out more information?
  3. At Franciscantradition.org, you can read the writings of Francis and Clare of Assisi, as well as early biographies, and learn more about their lives.
  4. For the 35th anniversary of Francis of Assisi being named the patron saint of ecology in 1984, the global Franciscan family created a website, Francis35.org, to commemorate the occasion.
  5. There are also a plethora of articles and books written about Francis and Franciscan ecology, which can be found online.

Several of the authors, includingDelio and Horan, are frequent contributors to NCR and Global Sisters Report, and they have written for both publications. The following are some recommended readings on Franciscan ecotheology:

  • Horan’s upcoming 2018 A Theology of Creation
  • All God’s Creatures: A Theology of Creation
  • The book was published in 2012. • Ecological Footprints: An Essential Franciscan Guide for Faith and Sustainable Living, written by Franciscan Sr. Dawn Nothwehr, an ethicist at Catholic Theological Union, is available for purchase. Pamela Wood’s book, Care for Creation: A Franciscan Spirituality of the Earth, was published in 2008 and was authored by Delio, Franciscan Br. Keith Warner, and others.

St. Francis of Assisi – Saints & Angels

He was born in Assisi, Umbria, in 1181 and is considered the founder of the Franciscan Order. When Pietro Bernardone returned from a journey to France in 1182, he was surprised to discover that his wife had given birth to a son. Pietro was unhappy with his wife because she had named their infant kid Giovanni after John the Baptist, rather than being happy or regretful about his absence. It was the last thing Pietro wanted in his son: a man of God. Instead, he desired a man of business, someone who would follow in his father’s footsteps as a textile trader, and someone who would share his passion for France.

  1. Francis was adored by everybody – and I mean all – from the beginning of his life.
  2. If he was choosy, people were willing to overlook it.
  3. If he was such a big dreamer that he did poorly in school, no one seemed to worry.
  4. No one attempted to exert control over him or teach him anything.
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“In other respects an exquisite youth, he attracted to himself a huge entourage of young people addicted to evil and habituated to vice,” said Thomas of Celano, his biographer who had a close relationship with him.

He adored the melodies of France, the romance of France, and, above all, the free-spirited, adventurous troubadours of France who strolled the streets of cities all across Europe.

Francis, on the other hand, desired something more.

Francis aspired to be a noble, a knight, and he succeeded.

Assiside declared war on their long-time adversary, the neighbouring town of Perugia, and he was given his first opportunity.

Only those who were affluent enough to expect to be ransomed were captured and held captive.

Being imprisoned in a hard, dark dungeon is not an option.

After a year in the prison, he was finally freed and returned to his family.

He threw himself into the partying with the same zeal and abandon that he had shown prior to the conflict.

Finally, a call for knights for the Fourth Crusade provided him with the opportunity to realize his goal.

And not just any set of armor would do, but one that was lavishly embellished with gold and accompanied by a gorgeous cloak.

Francis, on the other hand, never made it more than a day’s ride from Assisi.

He did, in fact, come home.

What must it have been like to return without ever making it to battle?

In the intervening twenty-five years, God had waited for him, and now it was Francis’ turn to wait.

He walked to a cave and sobbed his heart out for his crimes.

But life couldn’t suddenly come to a halt for God.

A leper came face to face with Francis one day while riding through the countryside.

Francis was repulsed by the look and stench of the leper, yet he nonetheless hopped down from his horse and kissed the leprosy’s hand.

As he rode away, he turned around to give the leper one more wave, only to discover that the leprosy had vanished.

As a result of his desire for conversion, he came to the old church of San Damiano.

He grabbed fabric from his father’s store and sold it to raise money to repair the church, which he did in his characteristically impulsive manner.

After dragging Francis before the bishop and in front of the entire town, Pietro demanded that Francis return the money and relinquish all rights as his heir.

Thebishopwas quite gracious to Francis; he instructed him to return the money and assured him that God would supply.

He not only returned the money, but he also took off all of his clothes – including the things his father had given him – until he was only wearing a hair shirt and nothing else.

From this point on, I will be able to say, “Our Father who art in heaven,” without reservation.” He ventured out into the frigid woods, clad only in discarded clothes, and sang his heart out.

Francis was left with nothing and everything from that point on.

It was only after begging for stones that he was able to rebuild the San Damiano church with his own hands, unaware that it was the Church with a capital C that God desired to have fixed.

Soon after, Francis began to preach.

Francis was not a reformer; rather, he lectured on the need of returning to God and obeying the Church.

When he was informed of a priest who was living openly with a woman and asked if this meant that the Mass had been defiled, Francis went to the priest, knelt before him, and kissed his hands – for those hands had had God in their grasp.

Francis realized that he needed some form of guidance in this life with the help of his buddies, so he opened the Bible in three places.

In a sentence that was both easy and seemed unattainable, Francis laid down the ground rules for the team.

Francis took these instructions so seriously that he ordered one of his brothers to go pursue the robber who had stolen his robe and offer him his garment!

He viewed what he was doing as an expression of God’s brotherhood, which he believed was beautiful.

Francis demonstrated real equality by treating everyone with honor, respect, and love, regardless of whether they were beggars or popes.

Francis’ love of nature has been well-documented, but his affinity with it went far deeper than that.

Francis, on the other hand, truly believed that nature, and all of God’s creatures, were a part of his brotherhood.

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For example, in one well-known narrative, Francis preached to a flock of birds, exhorting them to be thanks to God for their beautiful attire, their independence, and God’s protection.

Another well-known story is about a wolf who had been preying on humans for some time.

The wolf was adopted as a pet by the town’s residents, who made certain that he had plenty of food at all times.

It was understandable that the listeners were angry at first to these individuals dressed in rags who were attempting to teach about God’s love.

And they were absolutely correct.

They were rejoicing in life.

Those who had met them with dirt and rocks were soon greeted with bells and smiles by the rest of the community.

The sleeve of their uniform would be enthusiastically ripped off by his friars when they saw someone who was poorer than they were themselves.

Francis, on the other hand, would not allow them to receive any money.

When the bishop expressed his displeasure with the friars’ difficult existence, Francis responded by saying, “If we had any property, we should require guns and laws to safeguard them.” For Francis, having something in his possession meant the death of his love.

There are no ways to starve a fasting man, steal from a person who has no money, or harm the reputation of someone who despises prestige.

Francis was a man who got things done.

Francis would accept a simple solution, no matter how insurmountable the challenge appeared to be.

What did the Pope think when this beggar approached him?

You can only imagine his reaction. In reality, he ejected Francis from the building. Nevertheless, when Francis appeared in a dream, he promptly summoned him back and granted him permission to preach in the Lateran basilica, which was tilting at the time of the dream.

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  • Help Now Sometimes his direct approach resulted in mistakes, which he remedied with the same spontaneity with which he had produced them in the first place.
  • Upon realizing his mistake, Francis immediately went to town, stopped the brother in his tracks, stripped off his own garments and preached in his place of honor.
  • When he became sick and fatigued, his comrades loaned him a mule so that he could continue riding.
  • A further illustration of his direct approach was his decision to travel to Syria in order to convert the Moslems while the Fifth Crusade was still in progress.
  • His and his colleague were caught, and the only miracle that occurred was that they were not slain.
  • “I would convert to your faith, which is a great one,” he said to Francis, “but both of us would be assassinated if we did.” Francis did come across persecution and martyrdom of a sort, but not among the Moslems, but among his own Christian brothers and sisters.
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Outside pressure was applied to keep this massive movement under control and to force them to adhere to the norms of others.

‘Lord, didn’t I warn you that they wouldn’t put their confidence in you?’ Francis said.

He was now simply another brother, which was exactly what he’d always wanted.

As he prayed for the opportunity to share in Christ’s suffering, he had a vision and got the stigmata, the nail marks, and the lance wound that Christ had endured, in his own body.

In order to prevent him from becoming completely blind, the pope ordered that his eyes be operated on.

Francis had a conversation with “brother fire: “Brother Fire, the Most High has blessed you with great strength, beauty, and usefulness.

What was Francis’ response to being blinded and experiencing suffering?

Despite his efforts, Francis was unable to recover from his condition. He died on October 4, 1226, when he was 45 years old. In addition to being the founder of the Franciscan orders, Francis is also revered as the patron saint of ecologists and traders.

Saint Francis of Assisi

The Life and Times of Saint Francis of Assisi Pope Francis of Assisi was a poor little man who amazed and inspired the Church by taking the gospel literally—not in a narrow fundamentalist sense, but by actually following everything that Jesus said and did, joyfully, without limit, and without a sense of self-importance. He is the patron saint of Italy and the patron saint of all Christians. A serious sickness forced the young Francis to face the emptiness of his frolicking life as the head of Assisi’s youth, something he had previously ignored.

  • “Francis!” he exclaimed, symbolizing his entire submission to what he had heard in prayer: Unless you seek to know my will, it is your responsibility to dislike and reject everything you have ever loved and sought in the flesh.
  • “My house is on the verge of coming down,” Christ said.
  • He must have guessed that the phrase “build up my dwelling” had a deeper connotation.
  • He renounced everything of his assets, including his clothing, in front of his earthly father, who was seeking repayment for Francis’ “gifts” to the poor.
  • For a time, he was seen as a religious fanatic, begging from door to door when he was unable to earn enough money for his job, eliciting feelings of grief or contempt in the hearts of his former companions, as well as scorn from the undiscerning.
  • It wasn’t long before a few people realized that this man was truly attempting to be a Christian.
  • “Do not carry any gold, silver, or copper in your purses, and do not go with any luggage, sandals, or a staff” (Luke 9:1-3).

During a period when different reform groups threatened to undermine the Church’s unity, his commitment and allegiance to the Church were unequivocal and extremely exemplary.

His decision was in favor of the latter, yet he always sought isolation when he had the opportunity.

During the Fifth Crusade, he made an unsuccessful attempt to convert the sultan of Egypt.

Two years before his death, he was afflicted with the stigmata, which are the genuine and excruciating wounds of Christ that were inflicted on his hands, feet, and side.

At the conclusion of the song, he requested permission from his superior to have his garments removed when the hour of death arrived, so that he may die laying nude on the ground, in imitation of his Lord, as he had done before.

He perceived the beauty of God’s creation as yet another evidence of God’s beauty.

He performed immense penance, subsequently apologizing to “Brother Body,” so that he may be completely disciplined for the will of God, which he did later in life.

Nevertheless, all of this was, in a sense, a prelude to the core of his spirituality: living the gospel life, which is summed up in the kindness of Jesus and properly represented in the Eucharistic sacrifice.

It is Saint Francis of Assisi who is the patron saint of the following:Animals Archaeologists Ecology ItalyMerchants Messengers Workers in the Metal Industry

Click here for more on Saint Francis!

The legend has it that Saint Francis of Assisi left a life of luxury for a life dedicated to Christianity after he claimed to have heard the voice of God, who instructed him to rebuild the Christian church and live in abject poverty. He is revered as the patron saint of environmentalists.

Who Was Saint Francis of Assisi?

Saint Francis of Assisi, who was born in Italy about 1181, was well-known for his penchant for drinking and partying throughout his adolescence. As a result of his participation in a war between Assisi and Perugia, Francis was taken and held captive for ransom. He was imprisoned for about a year while awaiting payment from his father, during which time, according to mythology, he began seeing visions from God. Following his release from jail, Francis was visited by the voice of Christ, who instructed him to reconstruct the Christian Church and live a life of frugality.

Thestigmata of Christ – markings that resemble the wounds Jesus Christ sustained while on the cross — were said to have been bestowed to Francis later in life, making him the first person to be endowed with such sanctifying wounds.

Over the course of his life, he also acquired a profound love for nature and animals, and he is today renowned as the patron saint of the environment and animals; his life and words have had a long-lasting impact on millions of followers around the world.

Early Life of Luxury

Saint Francis of Assisi was born about 1181 in Assisi, Duchy of Spoleto, Italy, and, despite his widespread veneration today, he began his life as a confessed sinner. His father was a wealthy textile trader who owned acreage in the area around Assisi, and his mother was a lovely Frenchwoman who lived in the same house as his father. While in his youth, Francis was not in want; rather, he was spoilt, indulging himself with high-quality cuisine, exquisite wine, and extravagant parties. By the age of 14, he had dropped out of school and gained a reputation as a troubled adolescent who regularly drank, partied, and violated the municipal curfew.

Francis of Assisi gained the talents of archery, wrestling, and riding while growing up in such a rich environment.

He stopped thinking about a future as a merchant and instead began daydreaming about his potential future as a knight; knights were Medieval action heroes, and if Francis had any desire, it was to be a war hero like them.

Not long after that, the opportunity for combat would present itself. When a battle broke out between Assisi and Perugia in 1202, Francis jumped at the chance to serve with the cavalry. He had no idea at the time how his involvement in the war would alter his life for the rest of his life.

War and Imprisonment

Even though he is currently honored as a saint, Saint Francis of Assisi began his life as a convicted sinner in the town of Assisi, in the Duchy of Spoleto, Italy, in 1181. Sandro’s father was a wealthy textile trader who owned acreage in the area around Assisi, and his mother was a lovely Frenchwoman who lived in the area. At the time of his birth, Francis had nothing to worry about. He had been spoilt by his parents, who lavished him with great food, exquisite wine, and extravagant festivities.

  • Apart from that, he was admired for his charisma and narcissism.
  • Despite the fact that he was expected to follow his father into the family textile business, he was uninterested in a career in the textile industry.
  • Instead of thinking about becoming a merchant, he began daydreaming about being a knight.
  • Francis joyfully joined the cavalry when a battle broke out between Assisi and Perugia in 1202, and he fought valiantly.

After the War

Francis’ ransom was accepted after a year of talks, and he was freed from jail in 1203. Francis, on the other hand, was a quite different person when he returned to Assisi. On his return, he was in grave risk of being mentally and physically ill. He had become a battle-fatigued war victim. Francis, according to tradition, came across a leper one day while riding his horse through the countryside near where he lived. Prior to the war, Francis would have fled away from the leper, but on this particular occasion, he acted in a far different manner than usual.

  1. He subsequently described the event as “a sensation of sweetness” in his mouth after kissing the leprosy.
  2. His previous way of life had lost all of its attractiveness to him.
  3. As opposed to working, he began to spend an increasing amount of time in a distant mountain retreat as well as in ancient, silent churches in the Assisi area praying, seeking answers, and assisting in the care of sick people.
  4. The Voice of Christ purportedly instructed Francis to restore the Christian Church and to live a life of severe poverty.
  5. He began preaching in the vicinity of Assisi and was quickly joined by a group of 12 devoted disciples.

In either case, Francis of Assisi swiftly gained notoriety across the Christian world, whether he was truly touched by God or was merely a man who misinterpreted hallucinations brought on by mental illness and/or bad health at the time.

Devotion to Christianity

In 1203, after a year of talks, Francis’ ransom was approved, and he was freed from jail. He was a very different person when he returned to Assisi, though. Once home, he was in grave risk of becoming mentally and physically ill, having succumbed to the effects of battle weariness. Francis, according to folklore, came across a leper one day while riding his horse through the countryside nearby. The leper would have run from Francis in the past, but on this particular occasion, Francis behaved in an entirely different manner than he would have otherwise.

  • He subsequently described the event as “a sweetness in my mouth.” Francis experienced an incredible sense of liberation as a result of this event.
  • Francis began to divert his attention away from himself and toward God while he was in his early twenties as a result of this.
  • At this time, while praying before an antique Byzantine crucifix at the church of San Damiano, Francis is said to have heard the voice of Christ, who instructed him to restore the Christian Church and live a life of severe poverty, according to tradition.
  • Assisi was his first stop on his preaching tour, and he was quickly joined by a group of twelve devoted disciples.
  • In either case, Francis of Assisi swiftly gained notoriety across the Christian world, whether he was truly touched by God or was merely a man who misinterpreted hallucinations brought on by mental disease and/or ill health.
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Why Is Saint Francis the Patron Saint of Animals?

Today, Saint Francis of Assisi is known as the patron saint of ecologists, a designation that honors his unwavering devotion to animals and the natural world.

Death and Legacy

As Francis neared death, many prophesied that he would be canonized and become a saint in the making. Francis returned to his hometown as his health began to deteriorate more rapidly. Knights from Assisi were dispatched to protect him and ensure that no one from the surrounding towns attempted to kidnap or steal him (the body of a saint was viewed, at the time, as an extremely valuable relic that would bring, among many things, glory to the town where it rested). Francis of Assisi died on October 3, 1226, in the Italian city of Assisi, at the age of 44.

On July 16, 1228, Pope Gregory IX, who had previously served as his protector, canonized him as a saint, less than two years after his death.

Following the death of Saint Francis in 2013, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio made the decision to commemorate him by adopting his name and becoming Pope Francis.

Biography of St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of Animals

St. Francis of Assisi (c. 1181–Oct. 3, 1226) is the patron saint of animals, commerce, and the environment, according to the Roman Catholic Church. He apparently left a life of luxury after hearing the voice of God, who instructed him to rebuild the Christian church and live in poverty, according to reports. St. Francis is known for the miracles that many claim God accomplished through him, as well as for his concern for the defenseless, particularly the poor, the ill, and the animals, among other things.

Fast Facts: St. Francis of Assisi

  • Popular for: Being the patron saint of animals
  • Also known as: Francesco (or Giovanni) di Pietro di Bernardone
  • Born in Assisi, Italy, about 1181
  • Died in Assisi, Italy, around 1190
  • Pietro di Bernardone and Pica de Bourlemont were his parents
  • He died on October 3, 1226, at Assisi, Italy. Quote to Remember: “Begin by doing what is required
  • Then do what is doable
  • And suddenly you are doing the unthinkable.”

Early Life

Francis was born about 1181 in Assisi, Umbria, a region in central Italy, to Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone and Francesca de’ Medici. It is said that his father, Pietro di Bernardone, was a wealthy textile trader who married a French noblewoman who raised him. His father was away on business at the time of his birth, and his mother named him Giovanni, which is the Italian word for John the Baptist, to honor him. His father desired a businessman rather than a man of God, and he christened his son Francesco, or Francis, in honor of his affection for France.

When asked about his time there, Francis allegedly said, “I lived in sin.”

Life-Changing Experience

He was supposed to follow in his father’s footsteps into the textile industry, but the prospect of such life made him nauseous. He fantasized about a future as a knight, or, in other words, as a medieval action hero. As a result, by 1202, he had joined a militia to fight for Assisi in the city’s conflict with the Italian province of Perugia, which had begun in 1201. Francis was seized when the Assisi army were defeated. Francis’ kidnappers realized he came from an affluent family and was worth a ransom because of his clothing and equipment, so they decided to let him live.

After coming home, he stumbled upon a leper while walking through the woods.

Life of Service

Francis felt convinced that God intended him to aid the needy, and he sold all of his belongings to fulfill this desire. A gospel reading was read at a Mass in 1208, and it contained the following instructions from Jesus Christ to his followers about how to serve to people: “Do not take any gold, silver, or copper to put in your belts—no bag for the journey, no extra tunic, shoes, or a staff.” It was those remarks that solidified his decision to live a humble life, preach the Gospel to people in need, and help restore the Christian Church.

Francis needed money to construct the church, despite his vow of poverty, and so he sold part of his father’s fabric and a horse to get the funds.

Francis peeled off his clothing and handed them, along with the money, to his father, declaring that God had replaced his father as his father.

Francis was given a shabby tunic by the bishop, and he set out to do his task while clad in these shabby garments.

The example set by Francis prompted other young men to give up their things and join him in laboring with their hands, sleeping in caves or huts, preaching about God’s compassion and forgiveness, praying, and serving the destitute, including lepers.

Miracles for People

Francis hoped that God would work miracles through him and his followers. A tormentingdemonto left his spirit when he washed aleperand begged for it to leave him. As the guy recovered from his injuries, he expressed guilt and sought forgiveness from God. Another day, three bandits broke into Francis’ community and took food and water from him. He prayed for them and dispatched a friar to deliver bread and drink to them. The thieves were moved by Francis’ deeds, and they joined his order, dedicating their lives to giving rather than stealing from others.

Miracles for Animals

Francis considered animals to be his brothers and sisters, and he hoped that God would use him to bring about their well-being. Birds would occasionally congregate around Francis while he spoke and listened to him. Francis proceeded to preach to them, telling them of the many ways in which God had blessed them. When Francis was living in Gubbio, in the province of Perugia, a wolf began attacking people and other animals in the neighborhood. He went to the wolf to see if he might tame it. However, Francis prayed and stepped closer to the charging wolf instead of running away.

It was agreed upon by Francis and the town that the wolf would be fed on a regular basis if it vowed never to hurt another human or animal.


Animals were seen by Francis as brothers and sisters, and he hoped that God would use him to bring about their well-being. Francis chatted and listened to him as birds collected on occasion. Francis proceeded to speak to them, telling them of the many ways in which God had been gracious to them. An attacking wolf preyed on people and other animals when Francis was residing at Gubbio, in the province of Perugia. The wolf was brought to him so that he may attempt to tame him. After praying and moving closer to the wolf, Francis was attacked by it.

Francis pledged that the villagers would feed the wolf on a regular basis provided it agreed not to hurt any other human or animal in the meanwhile.


Francis viewed animals as his brothers and sisters, and he hoped that God would use him to bring about their well-being. Birds would occasionally congregate around Francis while he spoke and listened to him. Francis proceeded to preach to them, telling them of the many ways in which God had been gracious to them. Francis resided in Gubbio, in the province of Perugia, during the time of an assault by a wolf on humans and other animals. He went to see the wolf in order to try to tame it. However, Francis prayed and walked closer to the charging wolf.

The wolf complied with Francis’ orders, shutting his lips and laying down at his feet. When Francis vowed that the wolf would never hurt another human or animal, the locals agreed. The wolf was never seen causing harm to people or animals again.


  • Francis considered animals to be his brothers and sisters, and he hoped that God would use him to aid them. Birds would occasionally congregate while Francis spoke and listened to him. Francis began speaking to them about the many ways in which God had benefited them. When Francis was living in Gubbio, in the region of Perugia, a wolf started attacking humans and other animals. He went up to the wolf in an attempt to tame it. The wolf charged at Francis, but Francis prayed and stepped closer to the creature. The wolf complied with Francis’ directions, shutting his mouth and laying down at Francis’ feet. Francis agreed that the locals would feed the wolf on a daily basis provided it vowed never to hurt any human or animal. The wolf was never seen harming humans or animals again.

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