St Francis of Assisi by Blair Barlow
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 founder of the charity Compassion in World Farming famously lost a case against an order of Catholic monks in England, when they were veal farming? However the furore actually led to the practice being banned in the UK. But even today, many Catholics hunt (one top scholar even eats alligator meat?) And 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 don’t despair! If you believe that the truth is of a Catholic religion that is kind to animals and all beings, you’re not alone! In fact, many of our favourite saints in history adored animals and many were vegetarian (many Franciscan monks and nuns are so today). Read more saints who loved animals.
a Catholic animal welfare magazine
The Ark is a magazine by Catholic Concern for Animals (although The Vatican takes $30,000 a year from McDonald’s in rent, most Catholics are more inspired by saints like Francis of Assisi, who had fish leap out of the sea to hear him preach). Saint Kevin of Glendalough once had a blackbird build a nest in the palm of his hand – legend was that he stood still for 2 weeks, until the chicks had fledged.
This magazine includes practical advice, recipes, poems and prayers. A sample issue contains a statement on Ukraine and profiles two political campaigners for animal welfare. It’s free to members (you don’t have to be Catholic) and costs just £25 a year (or life membership for £500) which you can consider a charity donation to an organisation doing wonderful work worldwide. And as a bonus, you get £50 discount if you attend their annual Animal Welfare Retreat, where like-minded people come together for talks, prayer and friendship. The location differs (the last one was in Worcestershire, which included a visit to a local farm animal sanctuary).
an overview of the Franciscan faith
Franciscan Field Guide offers a complete overview of what the Franciscan faith is all about. Catholicism has many orders (Benedictine, Jesuits, Carmelite, Ignatian). The Franciscan order is of course influenced by St Francis of Assisi, an Italian former party boy who gave away his riches to follow a life of simplicity, ecology and kindness to animals (his close friend was St Clare of Assisi).
Many Catholic orders (The Vatican even rents out a McDonald’s branch for $30,000 a month) use goods like leather and even hunt and vote for Trump?! The Franciscan order is more gentle. If you moved away from the Catholic faith due to being dismayed at the attitude towards animals and the planet, you may find your natural home here!
Get read to discover Franciscan flora and fauna! This handy reference book offers a complete overview of the history, major figures and locations, and most influential texts. From Pica Bernardone to the ‘Prayer of the Trinity’, Sister Rosemary has compiled an at-your-fingertips guide to the people, places, practices and prayers that comprise the Franciscana tradition. Includes sections on:
- Religious orders & congregations
- Franciscan gospel values
- Places, symbols & topics
- People whose lives shaped the story
- Selected writings & sources
- Franciscan prayers
Catholic Concern for Animals is a worldwide nonprofit with its own magazine (The Ark) that preaches kindness to every being on earth. It has an animal rescue fund (grants) and campaigns to change the law on many animal welfare issues.
Catholic saints who adored animals!
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.