- Garden Design
St. Francis of Assisi Garden Statues - A Spiritual Reminder of Our Place in Creation
St, Francis, Patron Saint of the Ecology Movement
A statue of Saint Francis of Assisi is a popular figure included in a garden to remind us of the importance of gardens and nature in the Christian religion and philosophy.
According to Western tradition, the birthplace of humanity was a garden. Upon creation, Adam and Eve did not have to toil or work. They knew no suffering. Perhaps that is why people use garden space to help seek tranquility and peace.
Saint Francis, patron saint of animals and the ecology movement stands as a reminder that God entrusted the earth to us in the form of a garden (Eden) and left us as stewards of the earth.
Saint Francis was a great believer in leading a simple life. He taught that a love of God's creation (nature) could lead us down a spiritual path of peace and love for the plants, animals, and people. The inclusion of a St. Francis statue indicates that a garden is a place of peace and spirituality.
A statue of St. Francis would make an excellent Christmas, birthday, or housewarming gift for someone who loves to garden.
St. Francis of Assisi
St. Francis - A Short Biography
Saint Francis of Assisi was born in Umbria, Italy in 1181 or 1182 to a wealthy family of textile merchants. A playboy in his youth, Francis lived a hedonistic life of debauchery.
He enlisted in the army and became engaged in several military expeditions, spending a year imprisoned at Collestrada. On his return to Assisi, he renewed his wild ways until he sickened and suffered a long and serious illness. Francis later went to Puglia to enlist again in the military but shortly returned home to Assisi. After much prayer and meditation and a pilgrimage to Rome, he experienced a mystical vision.
In his vision, the Lord appeared to Francis at the Church of San Damiano outside of Assisi and said, "Francis, go and repair My house which has fallen into ruin."
Taking the vision literally, Francis decided to physically repair the ancient, neglected Church of San Damiano. He removed costly fabrics from his father's shops and sold them to earn money for repairs. But his angry father reported Francis to the authorities and accused his son of being a thief. In a dramatic episode, Francis cast off his costly garments and stormed out of town to begin the life of an ascetic in the countryside.
St. Francis Traveled to Egypt
During the 5th Crusade, Francis traveled to Egypt where he was taken prisoner, beaten and chained. The Sultan al - Malik al Kamel met with Francis and was charmed. The two spent a great deal of time together, discussing religion and philosophy. Both came to an understanding of and respect for one another's beliefs.
Some claim that St. Francis of Assisi was a catalyst for the Italian Renaissance and that his philosophy and approach to religion inspired Italian artists to incorporate nature into their work.
Saint Francis Called for a Life of Simplicity
Saint Francis has become one of the most beloved saints of the Catholic Church and admired by people who are not of that faith. He wrote a beautiful prayer which begins, "Lord make me an instrument of Thy peace," that begs God to allow us to serve His most loving nature.
He called for a simplicity of life and lived a life of poverty and humility. He helped the poor and loved the lowest and most reviled of humanity, pausing on the roadside to kiss the hand of a leper. For Saint Francis, all of creation was a precious gift to be treated with love and respect.
Saint Francis was known to preach to the birds:"God made you noble among His creatures and He gave you a home in the purity of the air; though you neither sow nor reap, He protects and governs you without solicitude on your part." The birds reportedly responded and gave Francis their full attention.
In his praise of all of God's creation, Francis referred to the sun and moon as "Brother Son and Sister Moon." Walking the well traveled roads of the area, he would pick a worm up out of the road and place it on the soil out of harms way. When a wolf ravaged a town, Francis decided that the fierce creature was merely hungry. He fed the beast and wolf became his companion and town pet.
Saint Francis Statue in the Garden
A Saint Francis statue is a graceful adornment for any garden. His representation in stone, woods, resin, or cement reminds us of our better selves. Francis reminds us of God's love for us as evidenced by His creation and invites an appreciation for all creation into our own back yard.
Even the smallest back yard can be a sanctuary for the harshness of modern life. By creating a peaceful, natural space, we introduce a feeling of peace and tranquility into our lives and homes.
Saint Francis Canticle of the Sun (in part):
" All praise be yours, my Lord, through all you have made
And first, my Lord, Brother Sun
who brings the day and the light you give to us