Today is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. Like most saints, the feast day is celebrated on the anniversary of the person's death. St. Francis died on this day in 1226 at the age of 45. I consider him to be my patron saint. Around the world on this day there are Blessing of the Beast ceremonies. The church of St. John the Divine in New York City has an especially elaborate procession. There are couple blessings taking place near me, but I won't be taking Little Frida. She gets overexcited when she sees other dogs when we take a walk. I'm pretty sure she'd disrupt the proceedings. I did find this do-it-yourself animal blessing which I will use. St. Francis is the patrons saint of animals, needleworkers, tapestry makers, peace, zoos and a variety of other causes.
One of the things I want to do is to travel to Assisi, Italy to see his birthplace. Here's a list of things I find interesting about my dear St. Francis:
- he created the first creche to help illustrate the Nativity
- he preached to the birds and animals
- he lived a life of poverty and humility
- he had the stigmata of Christ
- he authored the Canticle of the Sun
I particularly love the Prayer of St. Francis. Here's a rendition by Sara McLaughlin .