St Francis Healing Oil (Patron for Animals)
St Francis Healing Oil (Patron for Animals) from A Blessed Call To Love, Ireland.
Francis was born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone in Assisi, Umbria, a region in central Italy, around 1181. Father, Pietro di Bernardone, was a wealthy cloth merchant, and his mother was a French noblewoman. His father was traveling when he was born, and his mother had the baby christened Giovanni, the Italian name for John the Baptist. His father wanted a man of business, not of God, and renamed his son Francesco, or Francis, reflecting his love of France.
He was expected to follow his father into the textile business, but the thought of that life bored him. He dreamed of a future as a knight—in effect, a medieval action hero. So by 1202, he had joined a militia to fight for Assisi in its war with the Italian province Perugia. The Assisi forces lost and Francis was captured.
By his dress and equipment, his captors knew Francis was from a wealthy family and was worth a ransom, so they let him live. A year later his ransom paid; in the interim, as he later reported, he began receiving visions from God.
After returning home, he came across a leper in the country. Instead of ignoring him, Francis, changed by his experience as a captive, embraced and kissed the man and filled with sensations of sweetness and joy.
Francis became convinced that God wanted him to help poor people, so he abandoned his possessions. At a Mass in 1208, Francis heard a gospel in which Jesus Christ tells his disciples to minister to people: “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts—no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff.” Those words confirmed his calling to live a simple life, preach the Gospel to those in need, and rebuild the Christian Church.
Despite his vow of poverty, Francis needed money to rebuild the church, so he sold some of his father’s cloth and a horse. His father took him before the local bishop, who told Francis to return his father’s money. Francis stripped off his clothes and gave them and the money to his father, saying God was now his father. This event credited as Francis’ final conversion.
The bishop gave Francis a rough tunic and, dressed in these humble clothes, he began his work. Francis inspired other young men to abandon their possessions and join him, working with their hands. Sleeping in caves or huts, talking about God’s love and forgiveness, praying, and ministering to the poor, including lepers.