It was widely reported over the weekend how a Brazilian grandma had been accidentally praying to Elrond, Lord of Rivendell from Lord of the Rings rather than Saint Anthony.
Who was Saint Anthony? Born Fernando in Portugal he took the name Anthony when he joined the new Franciscan Order. He was good friends with the slightly more famous Saint Francis of Assisi. Francis is known for his love of nature. He felt that all God’s creations were part of his brotherhood. The sparrow was as much his brother as the pope.
In one famous story, Francis preached to hundreds of birds about being thankful to God for their wonderful clothes, for their independence, and for God’s care. The story tells us the birds stood still as he walked among him, only flying off when he said they could leave.
Another famous story involves a wolf that had been eating human beings. Francis intervened when the town wanted to kill the wolf and talked the wolf into never killing again. The wolf became a pet of the townspeople who made sure that he always had plenty to eat. Student doing the legacy GCSE Religious Studies this summer might refer to Saint Francis of Assisi when discussing Christian attitudes to animals in the Religion and Life paper.