KEY RING – ST FRANCIS
A patron saint is a guiding or protecting saint of a place or person. St. Francis is one of two patron saints of Italy, alongside Catherine of Sienna. St. Francis of Assisi is well-known for his many miracles involving animals and birds and his compassion for healing critically ill and injured people. St. Francis is also the patron saint of ecology, including animals, their lives and welfare.
After Francis’ death, Pope Gregory IX officially canonized him as the patron saint of Italy. Because of his well-known devotion to spreading God’s word, the pope significantly expedited the canonization process to quickly make St. Francis an official saint.
St Francis is also the patron saint of ecology, he did not receive this title for centuries after his death. Pope John Paul II officially declared St. Francis as the patron saint of ecology and those who promote environmentalism on Nov. 29, 1979, via papal bull. In the bull, Pope John Paul II discussed the sense of the Creator at work in the world and reminded us how St. Francis revered nature as God’s gift.