Whether you are religious or not, it’s fair to say that the Catholic church does not have a great track record, when it comes to animal welfare. The Vatican currently rents out a building to McDonald’s (which has huge issues for both animal welfare and rainforest destruction) for $30,000 a month. But Catholic saints adored animals. The Ark is a magazine by Catholic Concern for Animals which is free to costs just £25 a year which you can consider a charity donation to an organisation doing wonderful work worldwide. Read more on how religion can help animal welfare.
Light of Assisi is the story of St Clare, a close friend of St Francis of Assisi. For centuries she has been overlooked, yet their lives were very intertwined, and she made an extraordinary contribution to the Franciscan world, following Francis’ death. This book is her story, from birth until her death in 1253.
One of the most remarkable and influential saints from medieval Christian history, it wasn’t until the last 50 years that the English-speaking world became familiar with her, due to tireless work by experts in early Franciscan history. Translations, poetry, art, music and theatre now paint a more accurate picture, and enrich the story of this fascinating and influential woman.
Saint Francis of Assis: A Life of Joy is a beautifully illustrated biography of one of our favourite saints, patron saint of animal, ecology and simple living. Although written for children, it’s a lovely book for anyone to read of the former Italian party boy, who turned away from his life of wealth to live with lepers. An advocate of animal welfare and environmentalism (at a time when human life even had little value), Francis found joy in owning nothing, and his message bears importance for today’s consumerism society. The book is written by Presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy JR, a devout Roman Catholic and environmental lawyer, well-known for his crusade for clean air and water.
Saint Kevin and the Blackbird is a beautiful children’s story of a little-known saint. The early Celtic Christians placed great emphasis on the importance of care for God’s creation, something that seems to be lost in many traditions these days. Caring for all creatures was not just the dominion of Saint Francis of Assisi!
One early morning, Kevin the monk goes to the rocky shore near his Glendalough monastery to pray, as he always does. There he appreciates all of God’s creation, opening his hands to thank the Creator for playful otters and singing larks. Then as he crouched in prayer, according to legend, a blackbird landed in his cupped hands. He welcomed her and held still, only to see she was nesting there, and soon had laid eggs in his hands.
Kind-hearted Kevin was determented to allow her nesting to take its course. The story goes that (supported by the other monks), he then remained motionless (like a tree) until the fledglings had been safely hatched and left the nest (this takes about two weeks). A tender story to inspire kind actions and love for all of God’s beings.