Saint Francis of Assisi is a popular medieval saint associated with animals, nature, and vowed poverty. He is the patron saint against fire, of animals, those dying alone, ecology, families, fire, lacemakers, merchants, peace, zoos, Italy, and Assisi, in particular.
There are not any specific foods associated with St. Francis or traditionally served on his feast day, but since he was from Italy, perhaps an Italian feast might be appropriate! I did come across a reference to a trial by fire that St. Francis endured, so perhaps a flaming dessert of some sort might be a fun adventure!
Assisi is located in the Umbria area of Italy. Perhaps you would enjoy learning a bit more about this part of Italy? The Basilica of St. Francis has wonderful architecture and frescoes.
Have a Blessing of the Animals for your pets.
Many Catholic and Anglican churches (and perhaps other denominations as well) offer a "Blessing of the Animals" on St. Francis' Feast Day. Here is a simple service you can do with your family and friends if your church doesn't have an official Blessing.
Provide your pets with some special treats.
If you don't have pets, or even if you do, consider taking treats or supplies to an animal shelter.
Consider a trip to the zoo.
Get up close and personal with animals from all over the world!
Care for wild animals in your yard and neighborhood.
Make a bird feeder, or buy one, and hang where you can watch your winged visitors. Put out special treats for other critters, too!
Color a picture or icon.
An Icon, from Waltzing Mathilda (a blog with lots of resources and particularly coloring pages for the liturgical year!). A coloring page with a prayer by St. Francis.
Read a story to your children.
A list of books for young children with links to lists for older children, as well. Here are two stories you can read online: God's Troubadour, a story for older children; and another by Amy Steedman that is a bit shorter and for younger children.
Give a lesson.
This is a nice lesson plan for a larger group of children or classroom setting focused on teaching kindness to animals.
Read the Bible.
The Anglican readings for St. Francis' feast day.
Learn more about St. Francis' legacy.
The Rule of St. Francis - I find it particularly interesting that he specifically addresses brothers who will be ministering to Muslims. It makes me want to read more on his writings about Christian witnessing and outreach to Muslims. GK Chesterton's treatis on St. Francis - This may be something you'll want to print out as it is a bit long to read on a computer screen, at least for me.
A Collect for St. Francis' Feast Day:
Father, you helped Saint Francis to reflect the image of Christ through a life of poverty and humility. May we follow your Son by walking in the footsteps of Francis of Assisi, and by imitating his joyful love. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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