St. Francis of Assisi and CRS: Celebrating Animals Around the World

Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS

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Cute. Hearty. Cuddly. Livelihood. Sustenance. Friend.

These words all can describe animals. For some, animals are pets. In other circumstances, animals help bring money to a household or put food on a table. In all cases, animals are God’s creatures. No saint is more closely associated with animals than St. Francis of Assisi. He rejoiced in the value and beauty animals bring to creation.

Pope Francis not only shares a name with St. Francis, but also the belief that all of us are called to be protectors.


It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. — Homily of Pope Francis, March 2013

At Catholic Relief Services, we are blessed every day to experience the beauty of God’s creatures. In honor of St. Francis of Assisi’s feast day on October 4, we are delighted to share some of our best photography of animals around the world paired with Bible verses and other impactful quotes.



tending llamas in Bolivia

Pope Francis Homily, March 2013  To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope; it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds; it is to bring the warmth of hope!
Location: Bolivia | Photo by Philip Laubner/CRS


tending sheep in the West Bank

Ezekiel 34:11 For thus says the Lord GOD: Look! I myself will search for my sheep and examine them.
Location: West Bank | Photo by Karen Kasmauski for CRS


child holding lamb in Ethiopia

Isaiah 40:11 Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, Carrying them in his bosom, leading the ewes with care.
Location: Ethiopia | Photo by Ric Francis for CRS


elephants in Zimbabwe

Job 35:10-11 No one says, “Where is God, my Maker, who gives songs in the night, Teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens?”
Location: Zimbabwe | Photo by Elie Gardner for CRS


goats in Zimbabwe

Proverbs 27:27 And there will be ample goat's milk for your food, food for your house, sustenance for your maidens.
Location: Zimbabwe | Photo by Elie Gardner for CRS

woman holding young goat

Leviticus 3:12 If a person's offering is a goat, the individual shall bring it before the Lord.
Location: Chad | Photo by Michael Stulman/CRS


goats in Mexico

Matthew 25:32 All the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
Location: Mexico | Photo by Karen Kasmauski for CRS


birds take flight in Bolivia

Genesis 1:20 Then God said: Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures, and on the earth let birds fly beneath the dome of the sky.
Location: Bolivia | Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS

boy with bird in Laos

Psalms 84:4 As the sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest to settle her young, My home is by your altars, Lord of hosts, my king and my God!
Location: Laos | Photo by Laura Sheahan/CRS

woman with chicken in Tanzania

Luke 13:34 Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were unwilling!
Location: Tanzania | Photo by Sara Fajardo/CRS

feeding ducks in Vietnam

Psalms 50:11 I know every bird in the heights; whatever moves in the wild is mine.
Location: Vietnam | Photo by Lisa Murray for CRS


beekeeping in Nicaragua

Numbers 14:8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us in to this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey.
Location: Nicaragua | Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS


camels in Ethiopia

Genesis 24:31 He said: “Come, blessed of the Lord! Why are you standing outside when I have made the house ready, as well as a place for the camels?”
Location: Ethiopia | Photo by David Snyder for CRS



fishermen in Chad

Matthew 13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.
Location: Chad | Photo by Michael Stulman/CRS



rabbits in a basket in Rwanda

Genesis 1:22 God blessed them, saying: Be fertile, multiply, and fill the water of the seas; and let the birds multiply on the earth.
Location: Rwanda | Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl for CRS



cow in Zimbabwe

Job 12:7 But now ask the beasts to teach you, the birds of the air to tell you.
Location: Zimbabwe | Photo by Elie Gardner for CRS


tending to a cow in Vietnam

Zechariah 10:8 I will whistle for them and gather them in; for I will redeem them and they will be as numerous as before.
Location: Vietnam | Photo by Lisa Murray for CRS

Guinea Pigs

guinea pigs in Colombia

Psalms 104:24 How varied are your works, Lord! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
Location: Colombia | Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS


worm from rich soil in Nicaragua

Genesis 1:24 Then God said: Let the earth bring forth every kind of living creature: tame animals, crawling things, and every kind of wild animal. And so it happened.
Location: Nicaragua | Photo by Morgan Arnold for CRS


boy pets cat in the Philippines

St. Francis of Assisi Prayer Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
Location: Philippines | Photo by Jennifer Hardy/CRS


horse pulls cart in Gaza

Judges 5:22  Then the hoofs of the horses hammered, the galloping, galloping of steeds.
Location: Gaza | Photo by Karen Kasmauski for CRS

man and child with horse in Nicaragua

Psalms 150:6 Let everything that has breath give praise to the Lord! Hallelujah!
Location: Nicaragua | Photo by Karen Kasmauski for CRS


litter of pigs in Guatemala

Genesis 8:1 God remembered Noah and all the animals, wild and tame, that were with him in the ark. So God made a wind sweep over the earth, and the waters began to subside.
Location: Guatemala | Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS


girls swims with dog in El Salvador

Pope Francis Homily, March 2013 Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!
Location: El Salvador | Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS



tending to a donkey in Zimbabwe

Pope Francis Homily, October 2013 Saint Francis of Assisi bears witness to the need to respect all that God has created and as he created it, without manipulating and destroying creation; rather to help it grow, to become more beautiful and more like what God created it to be.
Location: Zimbabwe | Photo by Elie Gardner for CRS