St. Francis of Assisi lived in Italy in the 12th century. Francis grew up in a wealthy family, but as a young man, he renounced his wealth and worldly possessions and lived very simply.

When Francis spoke, everyone listened, including the animals. He told the animals that Jesus loved them too. There was a wolf who lived in the town of Gubbio. The wolf came into the town each evening, frightening the inhabitants or eating them. Francis went to speak to “Brother Wolf” and discovered that the wolf was hungry. Francis explained that being hungry was not reason enough to eat people and their pets. The wolf became very gentle, the people fed him and he gave the children in the town rides on his back.

In the town of Gubbio, Francis built a small outdoor stable and put people in the stable to portray Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the angels. Then he added the animals - cow, donkey, sheep, etc. When asked, Francis said, “Surely the animals praised the new Messiah just as the shepherds and angels did.” And so today, we have Christmas creches with people and animals praising the newborn Messiah.

In honor of this blessed saint of the church we gather today with our animals and all God’s creatures and give thanks for what they do for us and for what they mean to us.  

To learn more about Anglican Saints please see here