the most famous story of St. Francis is when he tamed the wolf
that was terrorizing the people of Gubbio. While Francis was
staying in that town he learned of a wolf so ravenous that it
was not only killing and eating animals, but people, too. The
people took up arms and went after it, but those who
encountered the wolf perished at its sharp teeth. Villagers
became afraid to leave the city walls.
had pity on the people and decided to go out and meet the
wolf. He was desperately warned by the people, but he insisted
that God would take care of him. A brave friar and several
peasants accompanied Francis outside the city gate. But soon
the peasants lost heart and said they would go no farther.
and his companion began to walk on. Suddenly the wolf, jaws
agape, charged out of the woods at the couple. Francis made
the Sign of the Cross toward it. The power of God caused the
wolf to slow down and to close its mouth.
Francis called out to the creature: “Come to me, Brother
Wolf. In the name of Christ, I order you not to hurt
anyone.” At that moment the wolf lowered its head and lay
down at St. Francis’ feet, meek as a lamb.
Francis explained to the wolf that he had been terrorizing the
people, killing not only animals, but humans who are made in
the image of God. “Brother Wolf,” said Francis, “I want
to make peace between you and the people of Gubbio. They will
harm you no more and you must no longer harm them. All past
crimes are to be forgiven.”
showed its assent by moving its body and nodding its head.
Then to the absolute surprise of the gathering crowd, Francis
asked the wolf to make a pledge. As St. Francis extended his
hand to receive the pledge, so the wolf extended its front paw
and placed it into the saint’s hand. Then Francis commanded
the wolf to follow him into town to make a peace pact with the
townspeople. The wolf meekly followed St. Francis.
time they got to the town square, everyone was there to
witness the miracle. With the wolf at his side, Francis gave
the town a sermon on the wondrous and fearful love of God,
calling them to repent from all their sins. Then he offered
the townspeople peace, on behalf of the wolf. The townspeople
promised in a loud voice to feed the wolf. Then Francis asked
the wolf if he would live in peace under those terms. He bowed
his head and twisted his body in a way that convinced everyone
he accepted the pact. Then once again the wolf placed its paw
in Francis’ hand as a sign of the pact.
that day on the people kept the pact they had made. The wolf
lived for two years among the townspeople, going from door to
door for food. It hurt no one and no one hurt it. Even the
dogs did not bark at it. When the wolf finally died of old
age, the people of Gubbio were sad. The wolf’s peaceful ways
had been a living reminder to them of the wonders, patience,
virtues and holiness of St. Francis. It had been a living
symbol of the power and providence of the living God.
NOT TO HURT OUR HUMBLE BRETHREN
IS OUR FIRST DUTY TO THEM... BUT TO STOP THERE IS NOT
ENOUGH... WE HAVE A HIGHER MISSION... TO BE OF SERVICE TO THEM
WHENEVER THEY REQUIRE IT... ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI