If there is one saint I would love to meet in Heaven who was not one of the original Twelve Apostles, it would definitely be St. Francis of Assisi. (1181?-1226)He’s one of the most venerated figures in Catholicism. He’s the co-patron of Italy and animals.
Francis was one of seven children born to a silk merchant named Pietro di Bernardone. Despite his wealth, Francis felt unsatisfied. He felt called to a vow of poverty and left it all behind. His father, however, did not accept this choice and threatened him with beatings. He responded by renouncing his position in society. He even gave up his clothes. He gave it all up to found a new monastic order called the Franciscans, who still operate to this day.
Francis is probably best known for his patronage of animals. On his feast day, churches often perform blessings of pets. You can bring your pet to church to be blessed. He became bishop of Assisi after giving up his wealth. He is the creator of the prayer known as the Canticle of the Sun. (The famous prayer that begins “Make me a channel of your peace” may or may not be a creation of his as well.) There are many legends of him taming animals, the most famous being a wolf he dubbed Brother Wolf.
St. Francis also inspired our current pope to take his name upon office. Our current pope chose this name because he was concerned for the well-being of the poor. This concern has caused many to accuse him of socialist leanings. I want to make one thing clear: The Catholic Church has NEVER been a socialist institution. In fact, we have OPPOSED the tyrannical governments that often arise from socialism, as seen in Russian and currently in Venezuela. (I await your flames) I am tired of non-Catholics accusing the Catholic church of being socialist. You have apparently forgotten that Jesus himself was concerned with the poor.