One of the most popular catholic garden statues is the St. Francis of Assisi garden statue. This isn’t too surprising for many reasons. St. Francis is remembered for writing many hymns regarding nature and God. He is also the patron of animals, ecology, birds, etc,. I have seen St. Francis represented with many animals and I began to wonder why he is represented with them. Here is some explanations as to why St. Francis is typically represented with certain animals in statues and art.
Many St. Francis Statues include images of St. Francis with birds. According to legend, St. Francis would preach to the birds and encourage them to be thankful to God for their beauty. Legend also has it that birds would be silent when he spoke and only left his side when dismissed by him.
St. Francis is also typically represented with a wolf. This struck me as a bit odd at first until I found this legend: It is believed that St. Francis came upon a village in his travels that was going to kill a wolf because it was attacking children. St. Francis convinced the village not to kill the wolf and instead he spoke with wolf. After the meeting the wolf never harmed the children and was instead taken in as a pet by the village.
St. Francis is also typically represented with deer, a skull, and a lamb. I was unable to find reliable information as to why St. Francis is commonly represented with those. Do you know why St. Francis of Assisi is represented with a deer, a lamb, and a skull? Do you have a St. Francis garden statue in your garden?