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St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and the environment, founded the Franciscan Order. Find a unique Franciscan pet blessing and send e-cards that celebrate his October 4 feast day.

Seasonal Features
St. Francis of Assisi
Send a St. Francis e-Greeting!

Life of St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and ecology, was a Roman Catholic saint who took the gospel literally by following all Jesus said and did.
Who Was St. Francis?
Who Wrote the Peace Prayer of St. Francis?
The Challenge of the San Damiano Cross
Send a St. Francis e-Greeting!

Pet Blessings 
Christians everywhere celebrate the feast of St. Francis of Assisi on October 4 by having their pets blessed in the spirit of this patron saint of animals and ecology. 
Pet Blessings Around the U.S.
Do Our Pets Go to Heaven?
Why We Bless Animals
‘Do-It-Yourself’ Animal Blessing
How Is Your Pet a Sign of God's Love?  Share your story with us!
St. Francis and the Birds
Stories of St. Francis and the Animals
Send a Pet Blessing e-Greeting!

Why Catholics Care for Creation

In the October 2008 issue of Catholic Update, Joan Brown, O.S.F., looks at how the Church has understood creation through the centuries. While exploring such issues as global warming, she also explains how the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy can serve a guide for the care of creation.

St. Anthony Messenger Press book Care for Creation: A Franciscan Spirituality of the Earth

Was Jesus a Tree Hugger?
The April 2008 issue of Every Day Catholic focuses on how we can cultivate and care for the earth. Easy words in theory and wholly holy, but being good stewards of creation isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Francis, Faith and Ecology

Franciscan Green
Why do Franciscans care about the environment? Father Joe Rozansky lays out the facts in this article from St. Anthony Messenger.

The October 2007 issue of St. Anthony Messenger is a special issue exploring the many connections between Franciscan spirituality and our stewardship of the earth.

St. Francis of Assisi: Why He's the Patron of Ecology

Other St. Anthony Messenger articles on species preservation, the Our Father as environmental teacher, going green and the tragedy of mountaintop removal.

Justice
Through his example, St. Francis reminds us that we are called to bring about justice and peace in our world, to end violence and war, poverty and oppression and to protect our fragile planet.
Meet Our Franciscans!
Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation
Get Informed
Take Action
Send a Peace e-Greeting!

Peace
Convinced that violence and war were wrong, St. Francis believed in peaceful dialogue with all our brothers and sisters. He calls us to be instruments of peace and healing by turning from weapons of violence to acts of love. "Happy are those who endure in peace."
St. Francis' Style of Prayer
St. Francis, Peace and the Muslims
Peace Prayer of St. Francis
Make a Peace Pledge
How to Be an Instrument of Peace
Send a Peace Prayer e-Greeting!

Franciscan Resources
FRANCIS AND HIS BROTHERS: A Popular History of the Franciscan Friars
Dominic V. Monti, O.F.M., Ph.D.

THE SIMPLE WAY: Meditations on the Words of St. Francis
Murray Bodo, O.F.M.

FRANCISCAN PRAYER
Ilia Delio, O.S.F.

ASSISI PILGRIMAGE: Walking in Faith with Francis and Clare
Greg Friedman, O.F.M.

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FRANCIS AND CLARE
Roch Niemier, O.F.M.



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Pio of Pietrelcina: In one of the largest such ceremonies in history, Pope John Paul II canonized Padre Pio of Pietrelcina on June 16, 2002. It was the 45th canonization ceremony in Pope John Paul's pontificate. More than 300,000 people braved blistering heat as they filled St. Peter's Square and nearby streets. They heard the Holy Father praise the new saint for his prayer and charity. "This is the most concrete synthesis of Padre Pio's teaching," said the pope. He also stressed Padre Pio's witness to the power of suffering. If accepted with love, the Holy Father stressed, such suffering can lead to "a privileged path of sanctity." 
<p>Many people have turned to the Italian Capuchin Franciscan to intercede with God on their behalf; among them was the future Pope John Paul II. In 1962, when he was still an archbishop in Poland, he wrote to Padre Pio and asked him to pray for a Polish woman with throat cancer. Within two weeks, she had been cured of her life-threatening disease. </p><p>Born Francesco Forgione, Padre Pio grew up in a family of farmers in southern Italy. Twice (1898-1903 and 1910-17) his father worked in Jamaica, New York, to provide the family income. </p><p>At the age of 15, Francesco joined the Capuchins and took the name of Pio. He was ordained in 1910 and was drafted during World War I. After he was discovered to have tuberculosis, he was discharged. In 1917 he was assigned to the friary in San Giovanni Rotondo, 75 miles from the city of Bari on the Adriatic. </p><p>On September 20, 1918, as he was making his thanksgiving after Mass, Padre Pio had a vision of Jesus. When the vision ended, he had the stigmata in his hands, feet and side. </p><p>Life became more complicated after that. Medical doctors, Church authorities and curiosity seekers came to see Padre Pio. In 1924 and again in 1931, the authenticity of the stigmata was questioned; Padre Pio was not permitted to celebrate Mass publicly or to hear confessions. He did not complain of these decisions, which were soon reversed. However, he wrote no letters after 1924. His only other writing, a pamphlet on the agony of Jesus, was done before 1924. </p><p>Padre Pio rarely left the friary after he received the stigmata, but busloads of people soon began coming to see him. Each morning after a 5 a.m. Mass in a crowded church, he heard confessions until noon. He took a mid-morning break to bless the sick and all who came to see him. Every afternoon he also heard confessions. In time his confessional ministry would take 10 hours a day; penitents had to take a number so that the situation could be handled. Many of them have said that Padre Pio knew details of their lives that they had never mentioned. </p><p>Padre Pio saw Jesus in all the sick and suffering. At his urging, a fine hospital was built on nearby Mount Gargano. The idea arose in 1940; a committee began to collect money. Ground was broken in 1946. Building the hospital was a technical wonder because of the difficulty of getting water there and of hauling up the building supplies. This "House for the Alleviation of Suffering" has 350 beds. </p><p>A number of people have reported cures they believe were received through the intercession of Padre Pio. Those who assisted at his Masses came away edified; several curiosity seekers were deeply moved. Like St. Francis, Padre Pio sometimes had his habit torn or cut by souvenir hunters. </p><p>One of Padre Pio’s sufferings was that unscrupulous people several times circulated prophecies that they claimed originated from him. He never made prophecies about world events and never gave an opinion on matters that he felt belonged to Church authorities to decide. He died on September 23, 1968, and was beatified in 1999.</p> American Catholic Blog In times of intense loss and grief, we take our place with Mary as she embraces all our grief in her own as she is silently holding in her arms the stark presence of our suffering God in the lifeless body of her Son.

 
PICKS OF THE WEEK
Adventures in Assisi
“I highly recommend this charming book for every Christian family, school, and faith formation library.” – Donna Marie Cooper O’Boyle, EWTN host
Padre Pio
New from Servant! “It is always a joy to read about Padre Pio, and one always comes away a better person.” —Frank M. Rega, OFS
Zealous
Follow Jesus with the same kind of zeal that St. Paul had, guided by Mark Hart and Christopher Cuddy.
Fearless
Learn about the saints of America: missionaries, martyrs, bishops, heiresses, nuns, and natives who gave their lives to build our Church and our country.
New from Servant!
"Valuable and inspiring wisdom for everyone." —Ralph Martin, S.T.D., author, The Legacy of the New Evangelization

 
CATHOLIC GREETINGS
St. Pio of Pietrelcina
This 20th-century Capuchin friar is revered for his dedication to prayer. Do you know someone in need of your prayers?
Belated Birthday
Did you forget someone’s birthday? An e-card will reach them more quickly than the regular mail.
Catechetical Sunday
Catechists serve a vital role in the Church's mission of modeling and handing on the Good News of Jesus.
St. Francis
Promote peace among communities, nations and governments by promoting peace among individuals.
Catechetical Sunday
Send a Catholic Greetings e-card to the catechists who hand on the faith in your parish!



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