Today is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi who is known, among many other things, for preaching to the birds and other animals. A perfect way to honor St. Francis is to spend some time in prayer outdoors with the animals. You can visit one of the many pilgrimage sites listed below that have outdoor grottos, stations of the cross, rosary ways or other outdoor places for prayer and meditation. If you can’t make it to one of these, visit the outdoor areas of your local church or sit outside and spend some time in prayer. Watch the squirrels playing, notice the butterflies and dragonflies and birds and remember the holiness of St. Francis.
Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen
Ave Maria Grotto, Cullman AL – Outdoor grottos
Shrine of St. Therese, Juneau, AK – Outdoor stations of the cross, rosary & grotto trail, walking labyrinth similar to the one in Chartres, France
Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, St. Augustine, FL – Outdoor stations of the cross
Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Chicago, IL – 200 acre outdoor shrine is the largest in the country. It has several gardens, an outdoor stations of the cross, and rosary court
The Grotto of the Redemtion, West Bend IA – Largest grotto in the world
Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs, Auriesville, NY – Outdoor way of the cross leads to the top of the hill where Father Jogues and Brother Groupil prayed during their captivity
Marian Shrine (National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians), Westhaverstraw, NY – Outdoor rosary way includes 15 life sized marble statues
Sorrowful Mother Shrine, Bellevue, OH – Over 30 grottos
Holy Cross Immaculata Church, Cincinnati, OH – “Pray the steps” – famous 96 steps that pilgrims pray as they ascend each step leading to the top of the hill
National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Euclid, OH – Oldest known replica of the grotto at Lourdes
National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon, North Jackson, OH – Rosary stairs
Servants of Mary Center for Peace & Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Windsor, OH – 50 foot statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe overlooks a lake surrounded by a 15 decade illuminated rosary
House of Mary Shrine, Yankton, SD – Outdoor stations of the cross winds up Calvary Hill, a Rosary Pond, and a Rosary Way
Franciscan Monastery (Holy Land of the Americas), Washington, DC – Replicas of shrines and grottos of the Holy Land