Blessing the Animals

Image: Even the Sparrow (detail) © Jan L. Richardson

With the Feast of Saint Francis coming up on October 4, many churches are planning a Blessing of the Animals service in proximity to the day. In honor of the occasion, and in gratitude for the animals who have graced my life, here’s a new blessing for you.

Blessing the Animals

You who created them
and called them good:
bless again these creatures
who come to us
as a blessing
fashioned of fur
or feather
or fin,
formed of flesh
that breathes with
your own breath,
that you have made
from sheer delight,
that you have given
in dazzling variety.

Bless them
who curl themselves
around our hearts,
who twine themselves
through our days,
who companion us
in our labor,
who call us
to come and play.

Bless them
who will never be
entirely tamed
and so remind us
that you love
what is wild,
that you rejoice
in what lives close
to the earth,
that your heart beats
in the heart of these creatures
you have entrusted
to our care.

—Jan Richardson

In memory of Zeke, who always won our battles over who had ownership of my drafting table.


For a previous reflection on the Feast of Saint Francis, click the image or title below.

Saint Francis
Feast of St. Francis

Using Jan’s artwork…
To use the image “Even the Sparrow (detail)” please visit this page at Your use of helps make the ministry of The Painted Prayerbook possible. Thank you!

Using Jan’s words…
For worship services and related settings, you are welcome to use Jan’s blessings or other words from this blog without requesting permission. All that’s needed is to acknowledge the source. If you’re using them in a worship bulletin, please include this info in a credit line:
© Jan L. Richardson.

7 Responses to “Blessing the Animals”

  1. Treabele Says:

    Jan, thank you so much for the blessing of the animals. I have many that have wrapped themselves around my heart tame and those that could not be tamed. Love it and read it outloud to my zoo this evening! BTW…cats always win the battle!!

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Treabele, thanks so much! I love the image of you reading the blessing to your zoo! Grateful for the gift of your words. Many blessings to you. (And you’re right about cats always winning!)

  2. Susan M Says:

    I shared this on Facebook. I love your memory of Zeke.

  3. Mike Bone Says:

    Thank you, Jan. That was just perfect. Or should I say, purr-fect?

  4. Leslie Says:

    I’ve missed your writings. Holy holy holy! Thank you!

  5. Shelly Says:

    We are celebrating our Pet Blessing service this year only one week after having to say good-bye to a beloved 4-legged companion. It’s going to be hard, but we are including a time of memorials as well – and this blessings is so beautiful to capture what they mean to us – even when they are gone.
    thanks so much Jan.

  6. Bobbie Smith Says:

    Thank you for this lovely tribute to our furry friends that bring much joy, companionship and fun into our lives!

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