Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Tuesday 28 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Wenceslaus
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Why St. Blaise is the patron of veterinarians


Wellcome Collection | CC BY 4.0

Philip Kosloski - published on 02/03/20

The legends of St. Blaise and his love of animals rival that of St. Francis of Assisi!

While St. Francis of Assisi is widely known for his love of animals, centuries before he was born there was already a saint who dearly loved God’s creatures.

That saint was Blaise, a 4th-century bishop of Sebaste (modern-day Turkey). There are many legends that surround his life, and one of them was his kindness to creatures and his ability to heal their wounds.

In The Book of Saints and Friendly Beasts (published in 1900), the story is told of how St. Blaise was most at peace in the forest.

Saint Blaise loved to go away into the woods and fields where he could learn about the untamed creatures and teach them to be his friends. The birds and beasts and fishes grew to love him because he never hurt them, but talked to them kindly and healed them when they were sick or wounded. The timid creatures were brave in his presence, and the fierce ones grew tame and gentle at the sound of his voice.

He fed them on a daily basis and they returned each morning to his forest home. They licked him in return for his kindness and would wait patiently for him when he was praying.

St. Blaise lived at a time of Christian persecution and one day a group of soldiers came to take him in. However, they knew they couldn’t put him in the arena with the wild beasts, for they would do nothing to him!

Instead the soldiers beat him and eventually beheaded him. His death caused grief in the forest, as the animals were sad without their master.

The beasts could not save him from the cruel men, but at least they would not do anything to hurt him. Those which were still left in the forest howled and moaned about his deserted cave, and went sniffing and searching for him everywhere, like stray dogs who have lost their master. It was a sad day for the wood-creatures when Saint Blaise was taken from them forever.

For these reasons St. Blaise is invoked as the patron of veterinarians, a holy man of God who treated each animal with great dignity, seeing in them a tiny reflection of their Creator.

blessing the animals

Read more:
Animals blessed at St. Peter’s for feast of St. Anthony Abbot


Read more:
5 Saints who received miraculous help from animals

Church HistorySaints
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
The Sinai Peninsula and the Dead Sea Rift
J-P Mauro
Experts now believe Sodom was destroyed by a meteor
J-P Mauro
Chicago architect models Vatican City from 67,000 LEGO bricks
Giovanna Binci
He’s autistic, she has Down syndrome, and they’re wonderfully hap...
Fr. Michael Rennier
The purpose of life according to J.R.R. Tolkien
Bret Thoman, OFS
Exclusive photos: Meet Padre Pio and the place he lived
crisis man
Marzena Devoud
Advice from 3 monks for overcoming acedia
Christ and the woman taken in adultery
Daniel Esparza
What Jesus wrote
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.