On Oct 4 much of the Christian world will pause to remember St. Francis of Assisi. In the United States, we tend to remember his love for animals. However, several years ago Steve and I celebrated St. Francis’ feast day in Assisi. Not a pet blessing in sight!
Don’t Italians know that this is the day you bring your pet to church?
The beautiful cobblestone streets of Assisi were filled with Franciscans, pilgrims, and officials from every district in Italy including the Prime Minister. They were there to celebrate an agreement St. Francis orchestrated between landowners and the poor. For hundreds of years, district officials have met on October 4th to sign an agreement to live in peace and honor the poor. Then they march from the ancient city hall to the Basilica of St. Francis and attend mass together.
St. Francis was an activist. And not so much for animals, though he did love them. He lived in poverty so that he could spend time helping others thrive. He rebuilt churches and homes. He took care of the sick. He negotiated peace where there was strife.
Enjoy the pet blessings if your church has one! St. Francis would have enjoyed them. But don’t forget that this saint was far more than an animal lover.
I have captured many of his life stories (including the ones about animals) in my book St Francis and the Christian Life. Now might be a great time to read it!