St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and ecology, was born in Italy around 1181 or 1182. After a wild youth and a brief career as a soldier, Francis had a conversion experience that inspired him to renounce his family’s wealth and devote his life to God. He is well known for his love of animals, the environment, and his desire for peace.
According to www.humanesociety.org, in 1979, Pope John Paul II paid tribute to Francis’ love for creation by declaring him the patron saint of ecologists. In a subsequent speech, the Pope encouraged Catholics to follow the example of Saint Francis by embracing all creatures as members of a single family and by offering respect, dignity, and care to each family member.
That is a beautiful message for any of us.