Perhaps 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.

Francis 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.

Francis 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.

Then 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.

St. 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.”

The wolf 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.

By the 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.

From 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.

Source : Bible Retold by Sharaon Callahan

Responses to "St. Francis and the Wolf - Myths & Legends"

  1. Anonymous says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing this story....having learnt about St Francis of Assisi from my best friend only recently in my adult life, i am delighted to hear this story. Every time i meet a dog when walking i always invoke the Divine Presence of Grace and St Francis of Assisi to bless the dog for its highest good with what it needs and in divine timing. When the blessing is shared, the dog almost always brings its paw up to my lap and looks at me intently in the eyes. I also have a strong sense that the dog suddenly feels to me like it is human (almost as if this being is a human in a dog suit!) After a little i then notice that the dog resumes its dog mode behaviour. The dog can sometimes roll on the ground with its legs outstretched or huddle and sit next to me quietly. So sweet! I feel honoured to be able to offer and share blessings to animals with the Presence of the Divine and St Francis of Assisi . I thank my friend every day for telling me about St Francis of Assisi, as i meet a dog or any other animal, cat or bird i am aware that they are ascending also and need love and support also. Thank you God! xxxx

  2. Anonymous says:

    St Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of all animals, and my personal favorite.

    Facebook, Thunder Lightning

  3. Anonymous says:

    I had gone to the kennel one day to make a food donation and saw dogs on "death row". I blessed them with Holy Water, recited St. Francis prayer and gave them all treats...even the most vicious of dogs in there were calm and listening to me. That night I prayed to St. Francis for us humans and how we exterminate pets for no reason at all...due to human stupidity for not spaying & neutering. As I prayed to St. Francis for those dogs, I heard, "It is okay, they are in God's hands now". What a divine message. I just hope that people get the Spay/Neuter Message, too, I pray for that every NIGHT, along with world peace & understanding! Glory be to GOD and Thank YOU St. Francis for animal understanding!

  4. Anonymous says:

    if the world would model st.francis, there would be love, respect and peace....

  5. Anonymous says:

    I was trying to make a power point presentation to be confirmed under St.Francis. After hearing your story about the dogs in the kennel It only reassures me that I have made the right choice in my faith, and in my saint. Praise be to god!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I lived for about one pivotal year of my life with the Franciscan monks...I lived on the monastery property in a cottage taking care of the grounds, shrubs and flowers. I was a young, idealistic and inspired architecture student. Through my associations with the monks I found the gift of oneness within me and with all sentinel was a joyous, peaceful and transformative year of my life when I created marvelous building designs in that oneness...the gift of compassion and oneness serves me well to this day and gives me the strength and courage to encounter the 'wolves'in my life.

  7. lonna421 says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this story. I had heard it before but couldn't remember all the details. I hope many more people will see the virtue and wisdom of this story and let the wolves live in peace and quit killing them just for the sake of killing.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Wow amazing story! This is the first time I heard of it.Thank you.

  9. Anonymous says:

    It so humbles me that i am not the only person that feels the way that you do.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Peace to all two legged and four legged feathered and fins!

  11. Anonymous says:

    If only ALL people were like Saint Francis - and all could live in harmony with the beautiful animals of this Earth.

  12. Anonymous says:

    When men are afraid of an animal that animal gets afraid too of men,the animals know that their life is in danger and if it is possible they will attack men before men can do it. Fear is the trigger. I lived in the open Himalyan jungle for few years, I was sleeping in a hut of 2mx1,50m without door. One beautiful night I decided to walk through the jungle, my attention was directed to the sky, the stars were so near I thought I could touch them with my hands when I felt a presence at my side, I looked at it and I saw a black panther Om shanti Om I said to her and I thanked the Great Energy for this incredible meeting, I kept on walking through the night till I found my self on a small hill, the panther was still walking at my side, I sat down on the top of that hill i closed my ayes and i got into meditation. Few hours later I opened my ayes, I looked for the panther but she was gone. As child I Always loved the story of Francis and the wolf and now the story went on me and the panther. Do not be afraid of death because death is the mother of all fears, juist surrender and be honest with your self. Llike Francis I am too a vegetarian.

  13. Anonymous says:

    If you want to live in harmony with the animals STOP KILLING THEM

  14. Anonymous says:

    Never heard this story before even though I knew of st Francis of Assisi. Thank you.

  15. Unknown says:

    Beautiful story about being in accord with Nature...instead of adversarial particularly where animals are concerned....

  16. Unknown says:

    What a crock!

  17. Unknown says:

    What a load of manure!

  18. Anonymous says:

    I have known about St.Francis forever but had never heard this particular story with the wolf. I spent a weekend every year on retreat with the Franciscan Monks in Cochrane Alberta and every year wanted to keep that peace throughout the whole year till returning the next year. I wish everyone could feel the peace and love of just being in the Spirit of St. Francis, the gentle soul would just have smiled at the comment above, being content with being in the Spirit and allowing others to share the way they feel, even if it's opposite of a believer. Every person is on a different journey and we cross paths for a reason, I wish you all the gift of peace, love, and most of all - understanding.

  19. johnna white says:

    Such a wonderful story and such a blessing to all. Thank-you .

  20. Robert Rademeyer says:

    What a beautiful story and reminder to us that we have a God given responsibility to take care of animals!

  21. Anonymous says:

    My 18 year old Siamese cat started going into kidney failure in 2002. She had 30% function. My husband and I laid hands on her praying in Jesus name, pleading the blood of Jesus. Later the next test she had, showed 100% kidney function. She lived another 4 years, with good health.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Thank You

  23. Anonymous says:

    People who mistreat creation, don't respect their Creator.
    People who love the creation, love their Creator and are blessed by Him.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Adults actually believe this hooee! Amazing.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Yes, I too have heard stories of St. Francis. I have never heard this one with the wolf and I love it. It touches me in a deep unexplainable way. Like my soul has been enriched by truth and love. Thank you for sharing this story!

  26. Anonymous says:

    WOW!...I loved the story. I haven't heard this story. St.Francis is amazing person of God.

  27. Anonymous says:

    yes, they are our brothers, my Native heratage always said that and it's always in our selves remember even in the KJV it's stated God created all the animals first also rememb. dog spelled backwards is God.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I love this.I am fascinated with wovles.

  29. Anonymous says:

    A story told to me by my late mother when I was young and she asked me to keep to the path St Francis preached and be kind to animals as our brethren. He was well ahead of his time, a light being and miracle worker. If we follow him, we can do no wring to our animal friends or our fellow humans.

  30. Unknown says:

    Awesome story. <3

  31. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the beautiful story..

  32. Unknown says:

    James Vey,perhaps you would be the murderer of the majestic creature

  33. Johanna says:

    I loved reading that story. Thank you so much

  34. Nikki says:

    Wonderful story! We read through that in our Secular Franciscan fraternity last year! I had a connection once with a ten-month-old wolf rescued by a wildlife sanctuary. He was brought over at our Scout conference and I crouched down and he kissed me on the nose! I've loved wolves ever since!

  35. Anonymous says:

    whenever you have trouble getting your pet to cooperate, pray to St. Francis of Assisi. I have had the pleasure of doing so, along with a Hail Mary preceding this, and have resolved the issue in question very successfully. Divine Order in God's natural kingdom is aided by our fine saints who love and honor creation under heaven, and are sympathetic to assist us move forward through the trials and crisis. Blessed be the Name of Our Lord, and his natural world under God's Divine Mercy!

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