Francis loved all creatures, and creation readily sensed it. He liked preaching to birds, who flocked to him unafraid. At Gubbio, a prowling she-wolf was devouring the farm animals and terrifying the townsfolk, so Francis went into the forest to talk with her. After their conversation the wolf abandoned Gubbio’s environs to hunt elsewhere, leaving the people of the area in peace. Once a child at St Gregory’s asked rector Rick Fabian why the animals have no halos, like the human saints. Rick explained: “Animals are perfect, just as they are; they don’t need halos.”
Francis and three other saints portrayed with animals— Seraphim, Lady Godiva, and Sadi—remind us that God’s work of creation extends to all creatures, and that some have known God in companionship with animals or through imaginative and compassionate reflection on the stories of animals.