Many people are familiar with St. Francis of Assisi and his relationship with wild animals. There is, of course, the well-known story about how he tamed the wolf which had been terrorizing the villagers of Gubbio. And, Francis was a great friend to birds. Often, he would purchase birds that had been captured in order to free them with a warning to the birds that they needed to be more careful in order to not be caught. However, Francis was not the only saint who was on good terms with animals.
Another saint who lived before Francis named St. Godric (1069 - 1170) was also a friend to animals. However, he did not start out that way. In fact, he really did not resemble a saint very much for many years. His name is St. Godric and here is a little bit of the story of this lesser-known saint and friend of animals.
The Sailor's Life for Me
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The Life of a Hermit
After his pilgrimages, he returned to England and lived with an older hermit named Aelric for about two years. After the death of Aelric, Godric went on one final pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In the Holy Land, Godric resolved to never wear shoes throughout the year, lived as a hermit, and served at a hospital in Jerusalem.
After being a hard-bitten and rough sailor, Godric's character must have softened. He not only gained a reputation as a holy hermit, it was also recorded that he was a friend to God's creatures. Here are three examples of his friendship with animals.
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St. Godric and the Cow
The nephew served Godric for eleven years. As an old man he was fond of telling this account about his uncle and the cow.
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St. Godric and the Rabbit
St. Godric and the Deer
Image: St. Godric of Finchale
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