Just mention St. Francis and the Saint of animals, pets, creation, and ecology immediately come to mind. He is even referred to as the "bird bath Saint!" I grew up with a statue of Saint Francis smack dab in the middle of our garden bird bath. I thought it was a bit much.
I fell in love with this Saint after reading several biographies and making a pilgrimage to Assisi. Francis fell madly in love with Christ and his beloved "Lady Poverty". His prayer and love were so powerful, rooted, passionate, that the very marks of Christ's wounds appeared on his own hands, feet and side. The Stigmata!!!
Francis was no sentimental, meek and mild Saint. He viscerally embraced the harsh beauty of lepers and the poor; he begged in streets; he degraded his body which he referred to as "Brother Ass;" he died in his early 40's suffering from many bodily illnesses.
Francis evades being boxed in, domesticated, and he will not be manipulated by various factions and political causes to appease ideology.
Francis surrendered his life totally and absolutely to Christ, was passionately rooted in his Catholic faith, loved Mary and the Eucharist. And his neighbor was EVERYONE, no matter their faith or religion. Francis could never, can never and will never be contained. He is truly a man for all seasons.