Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Preaching to the donkeys

Happy World Animal Day!

Wikipedia says it "is celebrated each year on October 4. It started in Florence, Italy in 1931 at a convention of ecologists.
On this day, animal life in all its forms is celebrated, and special events are planned on locations all over the globe.
4 October was originally chosen for World Animal Day because it is the feast day of Francis of Assisi, a nature lover and patron saint of animals and the environment.
Numerous churches throughout the world observe the Sunday closest to 4 October with a Blessing for the Animals."

Of all the animals I love donkeys the most.

In 2005 I was lucky to work as a volunteer for one month at the Good Samaritan Donkey Sanctuary in NSW, Australia.
I got to know the 130 donkeys that the dedicated and hard-working Kokas family has rescued.

(Enlarge the photo to read the sign about donkeys.)

They let me live in a little caravan at the sanctuary, in the middle of rolling hills, with only donkeys and wild kangaroos and koalas and exotic birds for neighbors.

There was a washing machine, but the fence had to serve as my clothesline.

What a rare chance to be far from any human!

One evening, remembering how St. Francis is said to have preached to the birds, I stood on the picnic table and began preaching to the animals in the loudest voice I could produce.
"My brother and sister donkeys, brother and sister kangaroos and birds, sister moon . . . "

I can't remember the words of my sermon, but I did sing Taize songs to the animals.
And you know what? -- They stood still, out there in the pastures and in the bush, looking at me and listening.
God bless our animals, today and every day.

(See more posts about donkeys and one about the Aussie sanctuary.)
And for ABC Wednesday, L is for loving lovely donkeys.
UPDATE: Crystal at Perspective blog posted some really unusual footage of Donovan in the role of Francis (before he was a saint) from the 1972 Franco Zeffirelli film "Brother Sun, Sister Moon."


Scriptor Senex said...

I never realised it was World Animal Day. That's definitely worthy of being blogged about. Thank you.

Jane and Chris said...

My cats have been blessed at a pet blessing.
Thank you for your time caring for the donkeys. Do you think it was their first sermon!!
Jane x

photowannabe said...

Lovely story about your time with the donkeys and animals. God bless them all.

ρομπερτ said...

How nice to learn.

City over here could use a bit of that love, as still many dogs and cats have to life on the street. Please have a lovely Wednesday.

VP said...

I didn't know of this day, there are so many, and my love for animals is just... scarce! People too often forgot that they are just that and behave grotesquely talking of being mom and dad of a dog or a cat.
Donkeys are much better, I tried to 'drive' one once in Sardinia, but I was hopeless... He was so patient!

chubskulit said...

I think that donkeys are fascinating!

Lessons at Home is one of my entries.

crystal said...

How good of you to help the donkeys! I used to sing to my cats and they seemed to really like it too :) Must think up a St. Francis post myself.

Roger Owen Green said...

I love the services for the animals.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Cloudia said...

God Bless the dear animals always!

You will enjoy knowing that 'Kona nightingales' are donkeys brought to Kona to help the coffee farmers.

Recently, drought on the Big Island (Hawaii) has caused the feral donkeys down from the forested hills into human contact.

Many were recently rounded up and flown to a sanctuary in Calif where they will live out their days. . .

Warm Aloha from Waikiki;

Comfort Spiral

/ )

> < } } ( ° >

capturedalive said...

ok thats news to me too.. I misy remember this day from now on...Good post !

Pheno, ABCW Team

spacedlaw said...

I love donkeys too, they always look so sweet and patient.
I need to give my cats extra cuddles today (one has already claimed them as soon as 04:00, the little devil).

Hels said...

Happy World Animal Day to you too.

My gorgeous black labrador believes every day is special. He is treated like royalty!!

Rob and Mandy said...

We really should meet one day! So many things in common, even Taize. Roger Schutz, whom I knew quite well from way back in the 70es, would have loved your post, I'm sure! And so would have his sister, who owned a donkey!

Nicole said...

I´m not the biggest animal lover, but I like donkeys and i really like you talking behind your camping table.

ChrisJ said...

I am a great animal lover. I do also love donkeys. The fishermen in the village where I grew up used them to help carry their catch up the steep cliffs to the village. But they always had Sundays off as the fishermen wouldn't go to sea on Sundays. So we woke up to the church bells ringing accompanied by the donkeys braying!

ChrisJ said...

That was a quick comment on my comment! The donkeys carried the fish up the steep path in two large baskets placed over their backs -- one on either side. At one time there were thirty or more donkeys working for the fishermen. Those days are long gone now.

ChrisJ said...

Dina I have a couple of old photos of the donkeys carry fish up the cliffs. I will try to find them and post them on my blog. It may be a day or so as it's 1:40 a.m. and I need to go to bed!

Jo Bryant said...

what a great post - love all of it - so cool what that you are a friend for the donkeys

Winchester Daily Photos said...

I do love donkeys too!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I love this post. - I love donkeys - I'd like to be in Australia

one day I hope to have a miniature donkey... even if it's illegal