UIW Celebrates Feast of St. Francis of Assisi with Blessing of the Animals

St. Francis of Assisi (c.1182-1220) 1642 (oil on canvas)Each October, the University of the Incarnate Word community comes together to observe the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi in October. This year, we are observing the feast at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 3. The day will consist of a blessing of the animals at the entrance to the Headwaters Sanctuary (located behind Sullivan Field).

Born in the early 1180s, St. Francis of Assisi spent his early years as a soldier but later devoted his life to God. It was during this period that he dedicated his time to helping the poor as well as teaching humility, obedience, patience and compassion. Around 1209, Pope Innocent III granted St. Francis and his followers the right to a new religious order. The order would be known as the Franciscan Order (Order of Friars Minor).

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Many centuries later, in 1979, Pope John Paul II formally declared St. Francis of Assisi the patron saint of ecology. Pope John Paul II said, “…he, in a special way, deeply sensed the universal works of the Creator and, filled with a certain divine spirit, sang that very beautiful ‘Canticle of the Creatures’.” Since this time, St. Francis’s feast day has normally included a moment to bless animals of all types. So, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, we welcome you to the entrance of the Headwaters Sanctuary at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 3, to have your animal blessed by Sr. Martha Ann Kirk, CCVI. The event is co-sponsored by the UIW Liturgical Outreach and the Headwaters Coalition, a ministry of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word.

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