His Way: Patron Saint Of The Environment And Animals
Reading a post this morning on Angie Mitchell’s visit to St. Francis of Assisi Monastery in Italy and walking His Way reminded me of all the times I had gone to the beautiful little Shrine dedicated to him near my childhood home at Skiff Lake, New Brunswick, Canada. There is a link to her story at the end.
Happy memories of family picnics and past excursions flooded my mind of when I visited the grounds and going into the quaint little church staring at the ancient alter in amazement at the crutches left there by a child healed on the site.
Statue of Saint Francis welcomes visitors to the Shrine grounds on the Skiff Lake Road.
Early Life Of Francis
Francis, born in Assisi, Italy, started life as the son of a wealthy cloth merchant. At first he led a life of wild partying but in his 20s abandoned this undisciplined lifestyle of luxury after dreams and other events lead him to live out his life in poverty.
He slept in the open, dressed in castoff rags and walked barefoot, carrying his staff. Francis followed the order of the apostles to take nothing on your journey and take up the cross daily.
Eventually others followed him. In 1209 he founded the Franciscan Order.
THe Shrine at Skiff Lake dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi
This little Catholic church on the Shrine grounds was built in 1865 by Irish settlers living in the surrounding Skiff Lake area and dedicated in 1923 to Saint Francis of Assisi, Patron Saint of Animals and the Environment.
This is now a provincial historic site.
The shrine is only open once a year on the second Sunday in August. That day is locally known as Shrine Sunday. The congregation of the nearby St. Thomas Church get the Shrine grounds and statues ready for the celebration.
People, of all religions, come from all over Canada and the U.S to this historic Shrine.
A lunch and refreshments can be purchased there. You will find booths set up where you can buy metals and other religious artifacts. Most people bring a picnic lunch and sit on the grass in a blanket to enjoy the beautiful nature that surrounds the Shrine.
Animals on leases and in cages can be seen on the grounds. Along with Healing Mass there is a blessing for animals included in the afternoon services.
The gravel road by the Shrine. I took this photo in autumn. it will give you an idea of the wonderful amazing nature setting of the Shrine and how it fits in with the message of simplicity, peace and love of nature send by Saint Francis.
The rolling hills on the way to the St. Francis of Assisi Shrine.
The Shrine is a poplar place for an outdoor wedding. My niece was married there in 2014.
Most of us have sung or listened to the words of this song or a variation. It is of unknown origin.
Prayer of Saint Frances of Assisi:
”Make me an channel of your peace; where there is hatred, let me bring you love; where here is injury, pardon, where is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; and where there is darkness, only light and where there’s sadness, ever joy.
Grant that I may never seek so much to be consoled, as to console. to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, As to love with all my heart. It is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is dying that we are born to eternal life....”
Location: Skiff Lake, New Brunswick, Canada.
All photos are mine taken from various visits to The Shrine.
I have written before of my different adventures at The Shrine, about the sweet grass ceremony by the Maliseet people, the parade by the Knights of Columbus, the music played by my sister and how stepping onto the grounds immediately starts a tingling down my spine.
Animated Banner Created By @zord189