On the 4th of October we celebrate the St Francis of Assisi Memorial – only 1 day after his date of birth. This feast commemorates the life of St Francis, the Patron Saint of animals and the environment.
He saw God’s love in everything and loved everything that he created. He is seen as one of the most venerated figures in Christianity and is known for his love of the Eucharist. He was known to have set up the first ever Nativity scene, in 1223.
When Francis was praying in a Church, he heard “Francis, repair my church.” He took this quite literal and used his father’s money to repair the church. It wasn’t until after he realised it wasn’t the Church as the building that needed repairing, but rather the Church as God’s people. From here, he began preaching about God and caring for all those around him including the poor and lepers and lived a revered life.
He was canonised a Saint by Pope Gregory IX in 1226. Pope Gregory also laid the foundation for the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi, Italy, which is now listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Symbols often associated with St Francis include birds and animals, a winged crucifix, crown of thorns and a fiery chariot. As he was the Patron Saint of animals, some Churches offer a service of blessing you pets! Another celebration for this day, in the town of Assisi, citizens light oil lamps, with an oil that has been blessed by a Priest.