Patron Saint of Animals, Birds, Environmentalists, Promoter of Peace, Simplicity, and Harmony
The symbolic imagery: PAX POTIOR BELLO (Peace is more powerful than war) entwines a dove bearing an olive branch. Francis is sitting at a meal with the Sultan.
Two African women are holding birds: a parrot symbolizing communication and an owl for wisdom. A church, pyramid, and castle, desert, sea, trees and flowers symbolize Francis’ world. Camels, dolphins, a wolf and numerous other animals have come together in a “Peaceable Kingdom,” with “Brother Sun” and "Sister Moon" shining from a turbulent sky.
I had not intended to create an anachron of St. Francis - there is already a wealth of beautiful artwork depicting him. But then, in 2012, our country decided to wage another war in Iraq. Francis personally tried to stop wars between Christianity and Islam and that was my inspiration. Now, a dozen years later, we're still fighting. But we have a new Pope, named Francis, to give us some hope. -pb
“In my book, "The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace" (Doubleday, 2009), I suggest that the enduring image of the encounter between Francis and the sultan ought to be the meal I believe they shared before Francis left the sultan's camp. I've never actually seen it in art until I came upon your card on the Web - and it's done so well! Beautiful.Peace,”- Paul