In the Hands of St. Francis


One year ago, our family had three cats.  Three cats were three too many for my husband, who thinks that the average person’s need for companionship should be satisfactorily met by a pet rock.  So, when my daughter Helen started hankering for yet another cat, I knew that no number of tears, pleas, or illustrated notes of petition to Daddy would get Mike to agree to take in a fourth feline.

Clearly, this was a job for St. Francis. Helen started praying, and she kept on praying. And it wasn’t long before St. Francis was sending all manner of creatures our way.  He gave the younger children a baby mourning dove to look after until the bird could fly on its own. He surprised us with a litter of baby rats born to a pair of pet rats whom we had thought were both female.  (We had noticed the one rat growing chubby, but figured she was just eating too much.)  St. Francis even moved me to take the feeder fish that were supposed to be my pet turtle’s dinner, and put them into a tank instead.  (Blaise, Caesar, Tigger, Majestica, and Comet are currently thriving in a blinged-out fish bowl on Helen’s nightstand.)

While we loved and appreciated all of these creatures, we couldn’t help but notice that none of them was a cat.

Helen in particular was perplexed.  What was wrong?  Could her prayer have been too vague? Maybe St. Francis hadn’t heard her clearly.  Maybe he was the sort who, like a couple of Helen’s own siblings, sometimes had trouble understanding things that were said to him.  Maybe…maybe he just wasn’t an auditory learner!  That must be it, Helen decided.  The logical solution, then, was to put the cat into St. Francis’ hands, where he could see it, feel it, and think C-A-T, cat.

So Helen tried a novel method of prayerful appeal.  She made a wee little drawing of a cat and taped it to a small statue of St. Francis.   What better way to place her request “in the hands of St. Francis”?

Sure enough, a few weeks later St. Francis delivered Sam to our family.  Well actually, he delivered him to my son Leo as a present for his 20th birthday.  Since then, Sam’s presence has been a constant reminder of the power of prayer, and especially of St. Francis’ intercession.  Sam himself is happy to be here.  He’s an affectionate creature who has love enough for all eleven family members – plus one kind-hearted saint!

“Thank you for my new home, St. Francis!
Lemme give you a hug….”

Copyright 2011 Celeste Behe


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