St. Francis of Assisi Said Not to Hurt Our Humble Brethren is Our First Duty to Them
“Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission -- to be of service to them wherever they require it.”
“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, then you have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”
Francis of Assisi was born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernadone in Assisi, Umbria, Italy, around 1181 into a wealthy family. When Francis was a young man he spent significant time seeking a closer relationship with God and discovering God’s purpose for his life. In 1208, during a mass, he listened to a priest reading the words of Christ who was giving instructions to his disciples, and Francis sensed his calling to live a simple lifestyle and preach the word of God. Soon his fellowship spread and expanded to include a much larger group of men who became an official part of the Catholic church called the Franciscan Order. The are still active today serving the poor throughout the world.
Francis saw animals as his brothers and sisters because they were God’s creatures, just like people. He prayed to God to work through him to help animals as well as people, and said of animals:
“Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission — to be of service to them wherever they require it.”
St. Francis died in 1226, and only two years later, Pope Gregory IX canonized Francis as a saint, based on the evidence of the miracles that had occurred during Francis’ ministry.
Here’s more about St. Francis of Assisi by the Humane Society of the United States.