In this icon the seraphic friar, St. Francis, is lovingly surrounded by the animals described in accounts of his life.
On one occasion, St. Francis was attracted by a flock of birds. Walking into their midst, the birds did not fly off but rather gathered around him. Filled with awe and surprise, St. Francis was inspired to preach to them and give them his blessing, after which they flew off.
One day a rabbit that had been caught in a trap was brought to St. Francis. The friar advised the rabbit to be more alert in the future and set it down to go its way. But the rabbit hopped up onto his lap, desiring to be close to him. So the friar took the rabbit a few steps into the woods and set it down. But it followed St. Francis back to his seat and hopped up on his lap again!
Once a wolf was terrorizing people in the town of Gubbio. St. Francis went to encounter the wolf, which rushed toward him but stopped as the friar made the Sign of the Cross. St. Francis asked the wolf to make peace with the people, promising forgiveness and freedom from harm in return. The wolf meekly followed St. Francis to the town and lived peaceably among the people thereafter.
(This narrative is printed on the back of Note Cards. A copy is included with each plaque.)
A Blessing of the Animals
Blessed are you, Lord God, maker of all living creatures. On the fifth and sixth days of creation, you called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air and animals on the land. You inspired St. Francis to call all of them his brothers and sisters. We ask you to bless the animals and all living creatures. By the power of your love, enable them to live according to your plan. May we always praise you for all your beauty in creation. Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures! Amen
(This prayer is printed on the back of Prayer Cards only.)
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